Friday, November 18, 2011

Review: Nero Kwik Media Photo Book

Recently, I had the opportunity to try Nero Kwik Media software and to create a photo book of my own.  In the past,  I have made other personalized, photo type projects like photo books, greeting cards and calenders.  I have really enjoyed putting these projects together and when this opportunity with Nero came up, I was excited to give it a try.

Something I found unique with the creation of this book was the Nero Kwik Media software.  Before you being your project, you must download this software.  Its is Windows based and was easy to install.  It automatically finds the photos stored on your computer and has them ready for you to choose from when you begin creating.  I had some photos still on my camera that had not been downloaded to my computer yet.  I realized this after I had installed the Nero software but adding in these additional photos was simple to do as well.  With other photo projects I have done, you are required to upload your photos to the web to add and edit them. 

You have the choice to make  photo  books, calendars, and greeting cards with Nero.  As I said before, I made a photo book.  You have several options for your photo books like choice of cover material and theme/layout.  I chose a black leather cover and the black page layout.  I did feel the choices of layouts were a bit limited when compared to what other companies do offer, however.

Once you get your book options chosen you can pick your photos you want to use.  Once you have made your decision, you arrange them in the order you want them to appear in your book and --boom--it automatically places them in your photo book.  While this ***might*** make the creation of the book quicker for some people it brought some big issues for me.  I intended to have certain photos placed on the same pages together.  While I had arranged these photos together in the order I wanted them place in my book in the earlier step,  pages within the book may have one photo space or two or three or four spaces for photos per page.  So although they load onto the pages in order, photos may not end up together on pages.  Therefore, after my book was created, I had lots of work to do to choose new page layouts and/or moving of my photos to do so that they were place together as I intended.  While this is completely possible using this software, it was pretty time consuming.  If I were to use this software again to create a book, I would keep this in mind and choose photos or a theme where I wouldn't mind what the final layout was.  For example, a wedding photo book or a book that highlighted the things we did over the summer etc.  I would not try to make a book where I would have various photos of one of my children individually on their own page.

Since my book was covered in the black leather and I had chosen the sleek black page layout, I thought it would be fabulous to have a book completely done in black and white photos.  So after spending a very long time getting my photos and pages arranged properly, I began the photo editing process.   The software has some great editing options, like the ability to add vignettes to your photos.  I really liked the way it showed a preview of your photo before you chose the particular editing application, too, so you could see what it would look like with that editing being done.  I did, however, find the editing and saving of the editing photo to go quite slowly.  More slowly that what I have experienced with web based photo programs.  I also had many occurrences where the software sort of locked up or something and kicked me back to the beginning pages where you choose what project you want to create.  It does save your work automatically along the way, so my project was not lost, but, it took a while to get back into my project.  It also would not save the current photo I had been editing so I had to go back and re edit it.  This became so frustrating and also time consuming that I gave up on making my whole book black and white and only made the first half that way and the rest natural color.  I also had an issue with a few of my photos after I edited them.  When they would load, edited, back onto my book pages, a black band would appear at the bottom of the photo cutting off that bottom portion of the photograph.  I could not figure out why it was happening and don't know if it was a software glitch or operator error or what.  Like I said, it was only occasional, and random, so I could never really make a connection there.  It was annoying because I would then either have to chose a new photo, if too much was cut off, or re size my photo and crop off that black band, or reload my photo to the project and re edit it so it would come out right.

When you are happy with your project and give it the final approval, Nero will automatically upload it so it can be bought and printed.  I did experience some issues with this process as well.  My uploading quit a couple times, I am not sure why, and also once the uploading begins you should be given a window where you do your actual purchasing of your book.  The window to purchase did not pop up for me and I was very confused as to how to purchase.  I had to go back and approve my book several times before this all worked out smoothly and the purchase window appeared.  

My book was printed and arrived in the mail very quickly.  I was sent an email when my book was printed and shipping which was nice.   Overall I was impressed by the final project and think it looks very nice.  The leather cover is very appealing and high quality looking.  I think it would look great displayed on a shelf or end table. 

Some photos of my book (pardon the photo glare I was getting tonight, we do not have good lighting in our house):

a black and white page of Jenson

another black and white page layout

And moving to my natural color pages, one of Miliana, Evan's seen adjoining

Another page

Disclosure: This post is part of a SocialMoms product evaluation, for which I’ve been selected. One free photo book was made available to me for review purposes. I’ve been compensated for my time with a $100 PayPal payment. The opinions expressed in this post are mine and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of SocialMoms or Nero.