group story
Group Story Photo Book Review

What is Group Story?
Group Story, co-founded by Geoff Hamrick and George Junginger, is an online photo service that is geared towards groups interested in creating a collaborative photo book.  Group Story is the answer to the problem most people have when attempting to design a photo book: getting enough photos and details from others to create a book that reflects every one’s experiences.  Group Story offers an online workspace where a group of people can exchange photos, their stories, and photo book pages designed by each member: something new in the photo service industry.

How does Group Story work?
Each member creates a Group Story account or an individual member can invite all other members using the “invite contributors” feature via email. Group members upload and tag photos to the group’s online album. Each member then selects photos from the album’s collection of group photos to create their own photo book pages. Members can select single or multi-photo layouts, change the background color and add text to their pages. Pages can be exchanged and shared with each member of the group. Group members then pick and choose from other members’ pages to assemble their own unique photo book.  This is a very appealing feature to have the ability to connect with members of your group to pool for photos and be able to exchange photo book pages with each other. It is important to note that Group Story is the first of its kind to offer this “page sharing” feature.  It’s THE social photo book!

My Experience
I’ve been designing my own photo books for years. I have made so many photo books I now have a large cabinet in my home to display them all. I think I have used enough online photo services to know what features are the most valuable and useful when making a photo book. Not only do I make photo books for myself, but I also share them and make copies for my family, friends and organizations I’m affiliated with. This is the most challenging when I want to exchange pages among each version of a similar photo book. I’ve always thought it’d be so much easier to make multiple copies and versions of a photo book if I could have the ability to swap out pages among each book. Group Story is the solution to my problem and goes further to offer me a place to invite others to submit their own photos and  to create their own pages for the photo book. The best part, is that Group Story’s online workspace is very user-friendly and easy to figure out. So even those people new to photo book design can easily create pages, share them, and choose other member’s pages for their photo book.  I’ve realized many people take tons of photos, but struggle to find time to put their photos to good use and get them printed or into photo books. What good is a photo that no one ever sees?  I can’t stand to see (or not see) photos not used and just stored. So, I’ve become the designated historian among my family and friends.  It’s something I enjoy doing, but sometimes I’ve wished there was an easy way to invite them to add their own photos and photo pages if they would like.  I’m very excited about using Group Story with my family and friends. I recently created my first Group Story photo book for this review and my experience was great. I created a group and invited friends from my playgroup to add photos and create pages for a photo book of our spring play-dates. Once they joined the group and added photos, I was able to put my copy of the photo book together quickly and easily. I ordered it and it arrived in a timely manner. I was very impressed with the quality of the cover and the pages. The hardcover, binding and pages look very professional and durable to last over the years. The pages are glossy and made of a sturdy card stock and fit tightly in the book’s cover. I’m confident of its durability so this book is kept out for my children to look through as whenever they’d like and as many times as they want to. They really enjoy seeing themselves in the book playing with their friends and recalling how much fun they had this past spring. That’s why I plan to make more play-date-themed photo books: they are so educational and valuable keepsakes.

Group Story’s teamwork approach to creating photo books is a great way to capture memories of everyone involved in your event or group. The possibilities are endless, you could use Group Story for weddings (a great way to get photos guests take of your big day!), class field trips, classroom yearbooks, graduation, family reunions, summer camp memory books, and recipe books. Yes, recipe books. I thought it would be a great idea to have members of my family compile their best recipes along with their favorite photos and we could create a family recipe book. This idea combines two of my favorites: food and family memories!

I received an 8”x8” hardcover copy of my photo book. Group Story also offers an 8”x8” softcover photo book. Softcover copies cost $17.99 and hardcover copies cost $27.99, plus additional shipping and handling fees. Books are 20 pages and additional pages can be added at 75 cents per page. These are great prices compared to other photo book publishing companies. Group Story continues to grow and offer more features for their photo books. Updates are posted on the Group Story Blog as well as their Facebook page, and on Twitter. For your next event, you’ve got to check out Group Story’s photo book services to make your next photo book.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.