Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Making it picture perfect

The photo book industry is still pretty new in the Malaysian market, and my research only turned up three companies which offer the service – Photobook (, Pixart ( and Ecaztudios (
These companies offer varying levels of service and size of books so you should take a look at our guide and decide which one is right for you.
Once you've decided on the one you want, you need to go to the company's website and download their free proprietary software to help you create the book.
The one exception is Ecazstudios, which does not have any software for you to download – instead the site requires that you use a program like iPhoto (if you're using a Mac) or Adobe InDesign to do the layout.
Once the layout is done, you just send in the file (either online or via snail mail) and make a payment for the book, and voila about a week later you get your book!
However, which photo book company is best? Well, it all depends on what you want.
Here's a quick look at the three companies we looked at.
As far as variety goes, has the most choices when it comes to book sizes – the company offers the small 5R (20 x 15cm) size, a 21 x 21cm book, A4 landscape, A4 portrait, 30 x 30cm large photo book and the impressive A3 (40 x 30cm) book for serious photo enthusiasts.
The company's Templatexpert Photostudio software is also the most advanced of the pre-packaged proprietary applications we've tried, allowing you to move pictures around, resize them and even spread a single picture out across two pages (if the resolution is high enough).
There are also a number of pre-made and downloadable templates to choose from and the software even allows you to add different types of borders to your photos.
he only hiccup we found was that by default, your images will be cropped to fit into the frames in the template.
However, this is easily remedied by going into the Options then the Settings screen and unchecking the "Cut pictures to size of image box automatic."
Once the layout is done, you can then click on the "Order" button to pay for the book and upload it to the manufacturer. has the distinction of being one of the first companies (if not the first) to offer photo books in Malaysia at pretty reasonable prices too.
Pixart offers only two sizes of photo books – either a Pocket Photo Book (6 x 8in) or an A4-size Coffee Table Photo Book.
The one advantage of the larger Coffee Table Photo Book is that it has a little cut-out on the front which shows the photo you have on your first page.
The books come in 10 or 12 sheets, which work out to 20 or 24 pages when printed on both sides.
Pixart offers two types of prints – either the more regular offset printing similar to magazine-type printing, or the slightly more expensive "photo imaging" prints which are supposed to be the same print quality as photos produced from photo labs.
You've probably seen examples of photo books from at some Apple stores in the Klang Valley and with good reason – this photo book company is probably the most hands-off when it comes to making your photo book.
For one thing, Ecazstudios requires you to be familiar with applications like Apple's iPhoto application or Adobe's InDesign.
Furthermore, the company currently does not accept uploading of your photo book, and you will instead have to rely on plain old snail mail.
Ecazstudios also offers two sizes of photo books – 6 x 8in version as well as the A4-size but the company is more flexible when it comes to creating your photo book you can opt to create a more unique photo book in whatever size and options that you want.

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