Kodak Photo Books with SMARTFIT Technology Review

Kodak Gallery is an online digital photo processing and developing service that has expanded to include the printing of personalized Photo Books.  Joining the site is simple and fast, only requiring your first name, email address, and a password.  You can even link a Facebook account directly to the Kodak Gallery.  Once signed in you can begin the project of creating a Photo Book.  Each step of the way, a project will be saved, so you can go at your own pace and resume work at any time.  A Photo Book can be created in an original do-it-yourself manner, or by using Kodak’s new SMARTFIT Technology.  SMARTFIT Technology takes the photos selected then arranges and organizes them according to the time they were taken and if they are in upright or portrait form, to create a Photo Book in seconds.

To begin a Photo Book project you need to upload photos and create an online photo album.  Go to the “My Photos” tab at the top of the page, and click “Upload Photos.”  You can browse through the photos on your computer or digital memory device and select the photos to add to an album.  Then, give the album a title and click “Upload.”  Kodak gallery quickly uploads the selected photos, and shows the progress of each photo in uploading.  Once finished, you are ready to begin a photo book. This process takes less than ten minutes, and is easy to complete.

After clicking on the “Photo Books” tab at the top of the page, the first option given is to create a book using SMARTFIT Technology, or create an original.  SMARTFIT works rapidly and is able to design a beautiful book while still giving the user creative options.  An original design is a slower, hands-on process for those who want to create a completely personalized design for each page.  The next option is the Photo Book Size.  The sizes are a small 5 x 7”, a medium 8.5 x 9.5” a medium 9 x 10.25”, or a large 12 x 14”. Next are the Photo Book styles including options such as printed hardcover, leather cover, printed paperback, and window hardcover.  Many of the covers come in a variety of colors or matted finishes.  Printed covers have optional text boxes in order to give an album a title.  Each of these titles is available in 9 different fonts and a variety of sizes.  SMARTFIT and Original photo books have the same amount of cover options and can be changed or modified at any time.

After deciding on your favorite book cover comes the fun part of adding photos to pages.  In a SMARTFIT Photo Book, a window will appear allowing you to select photos from the already uploaded album to be used in the book. Each photo you select will appear in a box on the right side of this window.  When you have chosen all of the desired photos, click “Continue.”  Just like that, SMARTFIT creates an album in seconds.   If you are creating a Photo Book with an original design, photos are selected in the same way, but instead of automatically being arranged in the album, they will appear in a dashboard above the album.  You may choose a different layout for each page, which includes the number of photos, how they are arranged, and optional text boxes.  Then drag each individual photo to the page you want.  The Kodak dashboard will automatically add a green check to the photos that have been used, or hide these completely so the same photo won’t accidentally be used twice.

Using SMARTFIT does not mean you have no options to customize or make changes to the pages.  Each page may be rearranged or moved to a different location and new pages may be added. The variety of modifications includes backgrounds, borders, margins, the number of photos per page, the layout, or moving a photo to a different page.  You may add captions to any photo and a title to any page.  You can also change the look of a photo with black and white or sepia tones, change the size of the photo, or zoom in for a close up.  There is however, no option to adjust the lighting or exposure of a photo on Kodak Gallery.  So before uploading photos that appear very dark, take a minute to make them brighter using any general photo editing program from your computer.  Photos in the finished edition of your photo book may be a shade darker than they appear on your computer screen.

The Finished product

Each photo book begins with a minimum of twenty pages.  Pages can be added at any time and any location in the book for a maximum of 104 for small books, and 80 pages for medium and large books.   Each additional page for a small or medium sized photo book is $0.99, and $1.49 for the large books.   The whole process of creating a Photo Book on Kodak Gallery is uncomplicated and a project can easily be started and finished within an hour.  The cover and glossy pages of the Photo Book are of very durable high-quality materials, making the pricing very reasonable.  Photo books created with SMARTFIT Technology also have a 25% discount.  After submitting and ordering a book, it usually takes one business day for a small book to be printed, and two or three business days for the medium and large to be completed and shipped.  Shipping is not included, but the 3-10 business day shipping is very reasonably priced.  Overall, Kodak provides a beautiful product, has a user-friendly website, fair pricing, and a wide variety of options for personalized designs.

The Good: SMARTFIT Tech is perfect for those who are lazy or in a rush, books have a beautiful finish, the service also offers – custom page design, durable covers, a user-friendly dashboard, high-quality photo paper, a pleasing variety of cover finishes and colors, and a good selection of layouts and borders.

The Bad: Some of the full page photos appear slightly pixilated (but this could be because some of the photos I used weren’t high res enough), photos are a shade darker in the book than they appear on the computer screen which is normal for print, and there is no option to adjust the lighting or exposure in the gallery

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