The danger of the digital-age is that all the incredible photos we take reside on our phones and cameras until the end of time.
Samsung knows this, which is why the Samsung GALAXY S4 has such a stunning, Full HD Super AMOLED display measuring 5-inches – absolutely perfect for showing off your snaps.
Some photos, however, deserve something special; something a little bit more polished than just a bunch of digital pictures. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a book of photos; one you can share digitally, or easily have printed.
Meet the Story Album app on the Samsung GALAXY S4
The first step to creating a stunning Story Album is to use striking images. The GALAXY S4 sets you up nicely, with its 13-megapixel sensor and an array of smart shooting modes.
Choose Drama shot for movement captured in a still, or HDR for a deep, atmospheric shot.
Pictures don’t need to have been taken on your GALAXY S4 to make it into a photo album.
In fact, if you’re lucky enough to own a pro-sumer camera like the Samsung EX2F, you can import photos taken on it to your Samsung GALAXY S4, either using a cloud service like Dropbox, by inserting your camera memory card into your GALAXY S4 or transferring the images using your PC.
This is a great way to infuse your Story Albums with blurred backgrounds and slow shutter speed shots you can only really achieve with high end, dedicated cameras.
The versatility of the Story Album app comes in the form of its themes. With six in total, odds are, you’ll find one that represents the pictures you’ve got.
Collage is a light, breezy theme which fades pictures into others; the Scene theme is a neat, gridded picture book while Scrapbook is fun, with a home made look and feel.
The Gridded theme is clean and slightly more formal; Puzzle places pictures in hexagons and positions them across the page for a novel look, while the last theme, Snap shot floats pictures in the centre of the page, giving high quality snaps the space they deserve.
Once you choose your theme, you can see a preview of your Story Album by tapping the front cover of your picture book preview. It’s worth noting, you’ll get to play with photo positions later, so don’t get too weighed down with misalignment here.
To edit your front page, tap the option titled ‘Cover image’. This lets you choose which image to use for the cover. Once you select your image, you’ll be given your first chance to reposition a picture.
Using simple finger dragging and pinch to zoom, you can frame your front cover to perfection. Given the fact Story Album uses white text when overlaying images, it’s worth picking a cover shot with a dark area to lay behind it.
Some pages will have text boxes displaying the date pictures were taken. These are acquired from the photo’s metadata, so may be wrong or, more to the point, may not be the best use of that space.
If you would rather insert your own caption, or the correct date just tap the text. This takes you through to a text entry field. Here, you can write whatever you want – though bear in mind, long entries may be cut short.
Once your album is captioned, you can align your pictures for viewing on the Samsung GALAXY S4 in portrait mode. If you’re creating a Story Album specifically to print, you might want to skip to the next step.
When viewing Story Album in portrait mode, single pages are displayed, taking advantage of the whole screen. When viewing the app in landscape mode, Story Album instead displays a two page spread, which is also the orientation used when printing your photobook.
To adjust a picture’s positioning, just long-press it. This will then let you frame it by dragging it around or zooming into it. To shift its position, drag it where another picture sits – this swaps the two pictures’ positions.
You can also tap on a picture to add a hidden caption. This won’t be visible when printing, but you can see it when thumbing through on the phone itself.
Editing for printing is a similar affair to that described above, with just a couple of caveats.
First of all, as with printing any bound book, there’s a portion in between the pages that is interrupted. The rule of thumb for a graphic designer is ‘never place a face or text across a spread’, and you should take heed. Heaven forbid, your Happy Birthday was missing a B or your aunt Sheila was missing an eye!
The second thing to note is that images that don’t have a border pack more punch. These images are what’s known as a ‘full bleed’ images, and should be chosen carefully to give your Story Album that bit more oomph.
Once you’ve edited your Story Album for your Samsung GALAXY S4, you might as well enjoy them to the max.
The coolest thing about viewing Story Albums on your S4 is Air View. We mentioned how to create captions for specific photos; hover over these photos with Air View and these are displayed in a pop up bubble.
Tapping a photo will also show it off in full screen view, coupling traditional photo viewing with a rich photo album experience.
The great thing about the Story Album app is that it’s a one-stop shop. You can create an album and have it printed without even turning on a computer or leaving the house.
To print an album, just open one up, tap the menu button and select ‘Order photo book’. The next step will be to choose your size and cover type. These include 5x5 or 7x7 paperback, or 7x7 hardback.
Priced around £8.20 to £19.50 for a 30 picture Story Album, the rest is handled by Blurb, the guys who partnered with Samsung to create this incredible app.
Want to share your Story Album by email instead of, or in addition to printing? No problem.
Just open an album you want to share, tap the menu button, then select ‘Share via’. The next menu presents you with three options – share image files of each of the pages, share a PDF document of all the pages or share a Story Album file.
Sharing the pictures is the best way to share specific pages, with the following menu prompting you to select pages you want to export. To share the entire album, just select PDF file, and if you’re sharing to another Samsung GALAXY S4, select the ‘Story album file’, or ‘.ssf’ option.
The .ssf file is particularly great as enhanced features like Air View accessible image captions are also supported.
There you have it - our top tips for creating a stunning Story Album – Samsung’s masterful combining of cutting edge tech with good old-fashioned scrapbooking.
Enjoy the app and be sure to check out our Samsung GALAXY S4 camera guide to get the best pictures possible for your Story Albums.