Saturday, January 8, 2011

Collaborative Photo Books and Albums

Sharing pictures and photo books seems to be getting easier all the time. We used to take the pictures, have them developed, and then let others go through them to share in our experience. Sometimes we put them in a book with some sayings around each picture and add a little flair to go along with a theme (scrapbooking, my sister calls it). Now, with the online software Mixbook, we can take the photos, create a book online, allow friends to help put it together, and share it for all to see or print it out as a picture book.

Mixbook is really easy to use. After joining the site for access, there are just three steps to create a book or photo album - Start with a title to create the book and invite your friends, upload your photos (friends can add some of their own), and Automix to add pages and make edits. Although friends collaborate and add their own personal touches, the creator controls the final product.

My granddaughter is here with me this month from Maine. We are building a book around her activities and sharing it with her dad. Since the cost of a hard cover album with 20 pages is only $12.99, we will probably get one printed for a keepsake. It will be exciting to watch the album develop as her dad and other grandparents contribute to the book.

Some other ways to share using Mixbook would be to create Memory books (Weddings, Guest Books, Baby's 1st Year, School Years or a Yearbook), Family Photos, Scrapbooking, and Digital Storytelling. Everything is online, no software to download. It comes with hundreds of layouts and the frames and text can be customized. Once you've picked a layout, just drag-and-drop your photos onto the page. Each page can have a different layout. A special feature I really like is the way it integrates with other photo storage sites such as Facebook, Picasa, and Flickr. No need to start from scratch each time. You can add an entire album to Mixbook with a couple of clicks. Then you can use them for any book.

Every day with a ten-year old brings new adventures that we can share online and it is exciting to see what has been added from the others. The final step will be to embed the Mixbook player on our blog so all the family and friends can also enjoy the events.

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