Monday, November 21, 2011

How to Make a Unique Old-Fashioned Holiday Gift - A Photo Book of Memories You Digitally Design Yourself


If you are looking for an inexpensive and memorable gift that is old-fashioned and modern at the same time, you've come to the right place. That's because for this post I had the opportunity to create a surprise present for my mother: A luxurious leather hardbound Nero Kwik Media photo book. I designed this myself online, starting with color slides that my father took of our family when I was a girl growing up and that my brother converted to CD for me. Having never created a digital photo book before, based on my own experience I think it's likely that you similarly -- with some basic computer skills -- can easily put together a book of your own that might be your the most unforgettable gift you give this holiday season.
My Daddy and me (age 2), 1958 Vintage family photo
This is the picture I chose for my photo book cover

Nero Kwik Media helps you organize all your photos, music, and videos in one place. From editing/enhancing photos and audio & visual material, to generating photo books, greeting cards, slide shows, and more using these different media sources a whole new world is now at your keyboard ready for you to tap into. There's no need to shy away from trying this product yourself because it really is simple to use once you get the hang of it.

Here's, step by step, how I made my book...

First, I set up an account on the Nero Kwik Media site by entering my email address using our family HP Laptop running Microsoft Windows 7

This is a free Windows-PC application with minimum system requirements that include
  • Windows® XP SP3 (32bit), Windows Vista® SP1 or later (32 and 64bit), Windows® 7 Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate (32 and 64bit)
  • 1 GB hard drive space for typical installation that includes templates, content and temporary disk space
  • Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer 7
  • A high speed Internet connection
  • For additional requirements and details, see site
The next step was downloading and installing the Nero Kwik Media application. The product's review guide that I received said it would take about 20 minutes to complete the process. However, I believe it ended up actually taking around an hour to complete this step because we have high speed cable Internet access which is not as fast as DSL. Depending on what kind of Internet service you have this task might take a more or less amount of time than what I experienced.

After the product's icon was on my desktop all I had to do was double click to launch the application. I found it fascinating that the first time you use this the software automatically scans all your user files looking for all photos wherever they may be on your computer and creating a library that you can access completely from within the Nero Kwik Media program. If you also have media on USBs, CDs or DVDs that you'd like to add that wasn't captured in the initial scan like I did, then it just involves a few more clicks to combine these with those that are already on your PC.

I continued through the Getting Started section. First I clicked on the Create Photo Product button, then selected Premium Cover and chose the Leather style in black from a drop-down menu. After that you can either design your own layouts or select a theme from a variety of pre-designed templates for your book. Being a beginner at this, I chose one of Kwik Media's two travel themed sets since I wanted my book to retell the story of how my journey in life began at birth and take my mom on a trip to revisit the first three years after I was born.

Once I figured out how the different functions worked, it took me a total of about 6 hours to go through approximately 60 photos, cropping and resizing each of them individually right in the application. Had I created a traditional scrap book manually with that much material, I'm guessing it would have taken me many more hours to finish.  I fine tuned the templates on each page adding minor details and changing things around just a little. Once the templates pages were laid out as I wanted them, all I had to do was drag and drop each picture into place and also type in text on some of the pages.

I put this book together at more than one sitting, so I really like the fact that my project was automatically saved each time I worked on it to the Nero Kwik Media library on my desktop. In fact, I highly recommend that if you use this, that you also take your time creating your heirloom book by putting it together over a few days time at the minimum to make sure everything is just right. When you're done, you just push the preview button and you can page through the entire book and see exactly how it will look like when its printed in real-life book form. It's smart to check everything carefully to make sure photos are centered inside the templates properly and also proofread any captions. After that, you push the order button. 

Note: I ordered my photo book last Thursday and haven't received it as yet. When it arrives I'll update this post and let you know how it all turned out as well as add some more pictures of some of the pages. In the meantime, I can't wait to see it.

FTC Disclosure: This post is part of a SocialMoms product evaluation, for which I've been selected. One free photo book was available to me for review purposes and I've been paid $100 compensating me for my time.  The opinions expressed in this post are mine and don't necessarily reflect the opinions of SocialMoms or Nero. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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