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Overcoming Shutterfly Photo Book limitations
April 22, 2019
10:33 pm
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Jim Gessaman
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Hello Chris and Jim,

Background to my questions below: I have done one Costco photo book, two Google photo books, and four Shutterfly photo books featuring my kids and grandkids in the past few years, and I am planning on doing a Shutterfly book of 80 to 100 pages (about 300 photos) for my family to celebrate my 80th Birthday in December this year.

In the past, I have assembled all the photos for a Shutterfly photo book as a Google Photos album, have then imported an album of up to 260 photos in small lots of 4 to 6 photos (only a small number of photos can be transferred per upload) into the Photo Tray of my photo album project in the Shutterfly online worksite. There are now two problems with this approach, one is a show stopper and the second is frustrating but I endured it during the first 4 photobooks .

  1. The first problem, I tried this download procedure (from Google Photos to Shutterfly) last week and a message appeared that Shutterfly is now unable to import from Google Photos until an agreement is reached between Google and Shutterfly. Do you know anything about the progress on solving this conundrum?
  2. The second problem I have discussed with Google Photos technical support and they did not have a solution, but stated they would discuss the problem in future technical support meetings. The following is a description of the problem: I prepared an album of 164 photos in Google Photos. Some of the photos that I imported into Google Photos had a date associated with the day I digitalized them (e.g., scanned from Kodachrome slides), not the date the photo was taken. Google Photos allows one to change the date associated with the photo, which I did for many photos. Then, in Google Photos I sorted them chronologically with the click of a button in their edit mode; this showed all photos arranged chronologically by the date they were taken (not the date scanned). When I was in the Shutterfly online program and imported that album from Google Photos, the chronological arrangement was disregarded and the photos were not in chronological order. This created a lot of extra work for me to select the 164 photos for chronological representation in the Photobook.

In spite of those problems, I much prefer Shutterfly books over Costco and Google Photo books, because of the greater variety of page backgrounds, frames for photos, text options, photo orientation, stacking, and sizing of photos on the page (done in Advanced Editing mode).  So I am trying to circumvent the two problems with Shutterfly described above.

More background. Since 2006, when I first got a digital camera, I have been downloading photos from several models of Panasonic and Canon cameras to Picasa. In June 2018, I bought a Sony RX10 IV camera and have been downloading those photos into PlayMemories, a program provided by Sony with the camera purchase. Within the last 3 months I purchased Photoshop Elements, which includes an Editor/Organizer program for photos. So I now can access the about 57,000 photos on my hard drive from Picasa, the Windows 7 browser (My Pictures), from PlayMemories and from Photoshop Elements Editor.

 A few years ago, I started using PhotoScan to digitalize prints that have all been automatically uploaded to Google Photos. My Google Photos is a collection of about 130 albums (the sum of albums I uploaded from Picasa 3 in 2016, plus 100 albums my friends and family have shared with me, plus the photos digitalized with PhotoScan).  So the photos I will be using in my 80th year photo book will come from several of my photo data bases.   

Here is a plan that I have dreamed up to deal with the limitations of Shutterfly in handling Google Photos albums. First, I would set up on my hard drive several download folders which catalog chronologically my 80 years, e.g. Pre-grade school years, Grade School, High School, Graduate School, Career, etc.  I would then download files (or albums) from Google Photos (or Picasa 3 or photos on CDs) into an appropriate download file. Then when working on the photo album in Shutterfly online, I’d upload, in chronological order, each download file into the Album Photo Tray. I would progressively add the photos from each download file to the appropriate pages in the photo album. This would make it easier to manage the chronological order of photos and it would solve the problem of Shutterfly not being able to upload from Google Photos.   I am asking for your critical review of my scheme and perhaps suggestions for improvements or an alternative scheme. Do you have a reference I can see/read on how to set up a series of download files that can be accessed by simply clicking download, e.g., in Google Photos?

Do you know of any better photo book options than Shutterfly?

I apologize for the lengthiness of this request. Thank you, in advance for you advice/help.

Jim G.

April 23, 2019
9:38 am
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MrsGeek
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Jim – the devil is in the details! I understand your issues and I think you’ve come up with a decent workaround “scheme.” I may have a couple suggestions to make it easier for you. But first, a couple of background comments myself:

  1. Google Photos maintains a rule that they don’t touch the original photo or metadata. That is the reasoning behind the date not ‘sticking.’ You can change the date that Google Photos uses for a photo, but it keeps that date in their separate database about the photos and does not write it to the photo itself. I discuss this on pages 46-7 in Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos. (Members get the book here) For what it’s worth (not much) I disagree with Google’s policy here – I really wish they would change the metadata of the photo when we change the date.
  2. If you’re willing to download your photos and change dates using Windows, it’s pretty easy. If you’re viewing the photos with Windows Explorer – files and folders, you can open the details pane and you’ll see the field for Date Taken and enter whatever you want there, then click Save. You can even select multiple photos, change the date, click Save and they all have the new date. If you’d like me to do a video of that, say the word.
  3. You might want to take another look at Google Photos book capability. It recently added the ability to add captions. See video: 528.GP-Printing Google Photos Book with Captions.  It’s still nowhere near as flexible as Shutterfly or Snapfish though. The reason to use Google Photos to print a book is for people like me who don’t want to spend more than 15 minutes working on it!
  4. Snapfish is a photo-printing site where the integration with Google Photos does work.

Now to your specific questions: 

  1. Shutterfly unable to import from Google: as I’m sure you know, Google’s ability to protect the privacy of your photos is always under scrutiny. When they give import capability to a 3d party it is a long, complicated legal and technical process. As mentioned above, Snapfish is the only one I know of that has successfully implemented Google photos import.
  2. Date change in Google Photos not “sticking” – Yes, this is a problem which requires some work on your part.

The plan

I like your idea of downloading into folders which catalog chronologically your 80 years. Then you could using the Windows date-changing capability to get them accurate on your computer’s copy. Actually, you wouldn’t even need to make folders then – if you just downloaded in small groups, re-dated the whole group, then download the next group and re-date, repeat. 

OR

If you use Snapfish, you could import groups there and create Snapfish albums by date group. (If you use Snapfish and the import from Google – you will at first just see your library with no albums. Once you delete the search criteria of .jpg you will see your Google Albums.)

I think the Snapfish option will be the easiest.

Let me know what you think.

April 23, 2019
11:30 pm
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Jim Gessaman
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Chris,

Thank you for your detailed response, I will digest your info and establish a work plan, then in the summer will report back on my measure of progress and success.

Thanks again, Jim

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