A couple weeks ago I mentioned placing an order from Poyomi which is a new self-publishing web service that allows you to take your photographs from either Flickr, Picasa or SmugMug and compose them into a magazine format. Based on the fairly decent quality photobook I received using iPhoto in the past, I didn’t know what to expect when I pulled out my magazine from the typical clear plastic they arrive with in the mailbox.
It may sound harsh but my record has shown that with services like this, it’s best to go in with low expectations so that you can hopefully be totally blown away and proven wrong when you see the final product in person. In terms of quality and detail of the photographs, it came out fantastic and I would assume that was based on the resolution of the photos themselves. All of mine were at their highest which is the norm when uploading to Flickr from Lightroom.
How Does The Service Work?
Unlike another service called MagCloud, the process of creating your magazine using Poyomi doesn’t involve working with any Photoshop, InDesign or QuarkXpress templates. The way MagCloud works is that you create your own magazine by using any of the templates they supply or you can get creative and design your own. Once you’re satisfied with your creation, it’s all a matter of you uploading that great PDF to MagCloud and they’ll handle the fabrication of it all.
With Poyomi there’s none of that. If MagCloud was the Pro version of self-publishing your photo magazines, consider Poyomi the Lite edition because the entire creating process literally takes place online and all you have to worry about is deciding which photographs you want to include or leave out.
I sincerely don’t bore you with a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own magazine with Poyomi and that’s because the time you’ll spend reading it could be used towards the 10-minutes it’ll take you to create your own. It’s very simple to do. Instead I’ll share some quick bullet-point thoughts and observations from using the service and from what I received in the mail.
- When importing your photographs, I like the option of removing or adding captions to any of them. I went without them.
- Once your photos have been automatically laid out, you have 4 themes to choose from to enhance the page background. With photo magazines, you really don’t want any distracting background to clash with what’s mostly important which are obvioulsy the photos so I went with the plain white theme.
- For production, you can choose between saddle stitched or perfectly bound. If there’s confusion as to which one to select, there’s recommendation on what would be best based on the amount of pages that are going to be in your magazine. Saddle stitch is best for magazines between 4-100 pages and perfectly bound for magazines between 20-384.
- Once you’ve completed your magazine, it’ll take a couple minutes for it to assemble. Its time is based on how many pages are involved.
- Included with the purchase of your magazine is a free digital version in PDF format which is nice to have. I dumped mine into Dropbox.
- Other than photo captions and the cover title, there’s no option to include any other type of text anywhere in the magazine. It would be nice if you could utilize the first page as a place to incorporate a brief introduction to your work.
Overall I was very satisfied with quality of the magazine and while this publication was more of a trial for me to catch a glimpse of the caliber of work from Poyomi, it opened up the possiblity of perhaps expanding from just selling prints and experimening with self-creations like this.