How to Make Photo Books

Photo Albums

Large old fashioned album on left, photo book on the right.
Large old fashioned album on left, photo book on the right.

Photo Storage

Photo books create a living memory. The problem today is digital photography. It offers us the ability to take hundreds of photos but it also makes us lazy. Lazy? Well, we never seem to print out all those photos we take. If we don't print them out, who sees them?

If we do print them, a pile of photographs is yet another thing in the house we have to find a place for. Old fashioned albums are great for photos but if you use corners to mount the photos, the corners often dry out over time and the photos fall out. If you use those pages that allow the photos to stick (the ones with the plastic overlay), sometimes the plastic sticks to the pictures and distorts them. Another problem is the size of photo albums and where to store them.

So, what's the answer? Photo books!

Online Photo Companies

  • Shutterfly
  • Snapfish
  • Nationsphotolab
  • Winkflash
  • MyPublisher
  • York Photo
  • RitzPix
  • MyPhotoPipe
  • NationsPhotoLab
  • Clarkcolor


Choosing a Photo Book

What exactly is a photo book? (Sometimes called photo album book.) Well, it's a book made up of your photos, photos you choose, arranged the way you want them with designs you choose as well. A customized, printed book with your photos.

The first step is choosing a company that makes photo books. There are many online but my favorites are Shutterfly and Snapfish. They're all pretty similar but I find these two easy to use and their prices very reasonable. If you order from Shutterfly you can order or pick up many of their products at Walgreens or CVS. Snapfish does the same at Walmart. Actually, I use whichever one of these two that is having the best sale. Very often one or the other will have a fifty percent off sale. In my book (pardon the pun) that's the best deal.

Other companies have sales as well so it pays to compare prices, look for ease of use, and select a company you are comfortable with. Of course they all offer other services besides photo books, like prints, photos on coffee mugs, cards, print enlargements, etc. Remember this is your personalized photo book and all the choices are yours.

The number of pictures you put in your photo book is only limited by your imagination.
The number of pictures you put in your photo book is only limited by your imagination.

Have you ever made or received a photo book?

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Getting Started

Before you can do anything with your photo book you need to know what photos you are going to use and where you have them, on your camera, on your computer, on a thumb drive, wherever. You will have to upload them to the site you choose so gather them before you start. Having the source of all your photos handy will make this step so much easier after all, your photos are your customized photo book.

Next would be choosing a type of book. Sound silly? Well type includes size and cover style. You can order a book that's eight inches by eight inches or eight inches by eleven inches or bigger or smaller. Once you've decided on the size you need to decide on the cover type, whether or not you want a full picture on your cover or small picture and whether or not you want text on your cover. You might even opt for a leather cover with no picture.

Next is choosing a theme or photo book design. This is, I must admit, the fun part. There are all kinds of themes and even once you've chosen one you can still add other "embellishments". A theme can be a holiday, a birthday, a season, just different colored pages or all black pages, the choice is yours. Embellishments are words or clip art you can add to your to pictures or pages throughout your book.

Along with choosing a theme you have a choice of the text you would like to you in your album, if you use text. The text would be Times New Roman, Arial, or one of the multitude of choices available. Not all pages in your photo book will have text while others may have text in multiple places.

Photo book Christmas Theme

Lots of options to snazz up your photo book like the Christmas presents seen here.
Lots of options to snazz up your photo book like the Christmas presents seen here.

Ideas for Your Photo Book

Your photo book is not only done by you but speaks of your tastes and the thought you put into it. If you're giving that photo book as a gift you will naturally tailor it to the likes of the person you'll be giving it too. For example, I made a photo book for my father-in-law which included all old pictures. There were pictures of when he first met his wife, when they were married and when he was in the army. It brought back great memories for him and instead of having his old photos in a box in the closet, he now had a photo book he could look at and and reminisce with. I had to gather the old photos and scan them into my computer so they could be uploaded for the book.

Many photo books are built around Christmas or a special birthday. I like to chronicle the months for my young grandchildren. I try to make a photo book for them every six months until they hit their second birthday then once a year.

We live in New York and two of my grandchildren live in New Jersey. One year when my grandson was about two my daughter made a "New York" photo book. She included pictures of all of us here in New York and labeled each one. For example, Grandma, Uncle Larry, even the dogs were included. It was a great way to insure he didn't forget his New York relatives. He loved that book.

Graduation might be another event to make a whole book about. I know you take lots of pictures at a graduation and what better keepsake for the graduate than a photo book with all those photos in it?

The list is only limited by your imagination (and the pictures you've taken).

All photos are property of Tillsontitan unless otherwise noted and cannot be used without permission.

More Christmas Ideas

A full photo album cover.
A full photo album cover.
A smaller photo album cover.
A smaller photo album cover.
One picture with a border.
One picture with a border.
Two facing pages,one with two photos one with one large photo.
Two facing pages,one with two photos one with one large photo.

Your Photo Book

  • Choose what you want your photo book to be about.
  • Gather all your pictures.
  • Choose a photo book company and upload all the pictures you want in the book to that site.
  • Choose the book and book cover you want.
  • Next choose a theme and the text you will want to use.
  • You can arrange the pictures yourself or have the site do it for you.
  • Review the photos in the book, where you want them, how many you want and make any changes or additions.
  • Pay for your photo book and it will be in the mail in a matter of days.

How to Upload Photos to Shutterfly

I hope this hub has been interesting enough to get you started on your own photo book. If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section and I will answer as soon as possible. All comments are welcome so please feel free to share.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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45 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Just loved your ideas. Real photo books are great we have been doing them for years.


healthwealthmusic profile image

healthwealthmusic 2 years ago from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York

I like this idea - would be a great way to be able to enjoy looking at your favorite photos, which we hardly ever do when they are stored on our computer.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

I love photo books. I treasure all photos as they are, just as you have stated, living memories. You are so right about us being lazy with all of the digital technology. I have a thousand photos on my phone, and I am trying to send them to my computer and then to get them in a photo books. I have stacks and stacks of photo albums and when I get them out to look at them, so many memories come flooding back and I am brought right back to that special moment in time.

Up ++++ tweeting and pinning

Blessings always


Michael Thiel profile image

Michael Thiel 2 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

Excellent information. I like how you state that people need to know what their photobooks are going to be about before they begin the photobook building process.


sasanka7 profile image

sasanka7 2 years ago from Calcutta, India

Very interesting idea. Thanks for sharing


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

This is a great idea. My daughter documents her travels with these types of books. Wonderful advise.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

How retro of you, Mary! LOL I love photo albums...I do not like storing photo online and never will. I like leafing through pages, much like a book. I have to hold it in my hands. :) Call me a dinosaur.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Til, this is such a loss art..I'm sure many people still do it.. but it's going by the way of the dinosuars.. a shame too because I got one as a gift and I really enjoyed the effort and time it took to create.. as always great hub


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Very interesting and informative hub Mary, thanks for sharing about photobooks.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Great ideas. A photo book has so meaningful.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for sharing Eric. I was just starting my Christmas gift photo books and decided to do a hub.

healthwealthmusic, that's exactly my point. Between cell phones and computers we hardly look at all the photographs we've taken.

Faith, thanks for all the shares. Seems you and I are on the same 'page' about our photos, love looking at them and love sharing them.

Michael Thiel, its always good to have a plan ;)

sasanka7 thanks for reading!

mckbirdbks thanks for reading. Oh, and thanks for your new series which everyone should be reading.

billybuc you may be a dinosaur but you certainly aren't alone, this is where you smile. That's one of the reasons I love the photo books, I can hold the book in my hand and enjoy the photos as I share them with family and friends.

Frank I think they are well worth the time and effort it takes to make them, even if I get a bit frustrated when I realize I've left a photo out or put the same photo in twice :)

Jodah, you are most welcome, they are a subject dear to my heart.

DD, thank you.


btrbell profile image

btrbell 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

Mary, this is such a great idea and you have explained it thoroughly! I have received one that my niece made for my mom's 80th birthday. We all love it! There is a groupon right now for a photo book. , you have inspired me to take advantage of it! Thank you for all the great info and ideas! Up+


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 2 years ago from USA

Since I take so many digital pictures, and after hearing about how those magnetic albums ruin photographs, I have been lazy to put them into albums. Photobooks are a great alternative - you can organize the photos and make sure you label them. I look for sales too - and have done a couple of books so far, and have many more ideas for more!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

btrb you're right, there is a deal on Groupon, gotta love their offers. Photo books are the new photo albums. Hope you like yours (I know you'll do it).

Millionaire I'm sure you have lots of ideas and will have some great albums.


sheilamyers 2 years ago

I'll definitely have to look into this. I love taking pictures at special events and while on vacation and end up with a ton of them. I no longer use my 35mm so I don't have the prints made and keep everything on a disc, but as you said, who will ever look at them. It's not as convenient as pulling out an album. Because of your article, I now know how to have all the great photos in one place. Thanks.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Sheila I am so glad my hub could be an inspiration. I'm sure you'll have fun putting your photo books together.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I love your photo books posted here. They look so nice and I'll bet you enjoy looking at them on occasion. I should take advantage of this idea but time does not allow me such a pleasure at the moment.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Hi dear Mary,

I am a scrapbook girl from way back... and now with Andy boy this is a wonderful reminder that I need to get back in the swing...and start up a new album.

This is wonderful and so are you. Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Teaches I can sympathize with the time issue. While it isn't difficult it does take a lot of time to put things together. The time will come!

Ah Maria, your comments are always a ray of sunshine. I'm sure Andy boy will appreciate having his picture taken and immortalized, I think all dogs are hams at heart! Love you GF.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Hi Mary. I loved this article. I recently discovered photo books and they are a treasure. Now, my new granddaughter has her own books, so that I can save her special moments from year to year with love, and not have to worry about all of those issues you mentioned…storage, the sticking photos and faded liners, etc. Great hub!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Glad you enjoyed Genna. I really think they can be a treasure! Thanks for stopping by too, always good to see you.


Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 2 years ago from the wadi near the little river

I do prefer photobooks to keeping everything in a digital format. You're starting early on your holiday gift-making. I'm impressed! Enjoyed your article.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Writer Fox. Would you believe I start my Christmas shopping in July or August? I really pick up speed in October though.


janshares profile image

janshares 2 years ago from Washington, DC

I would like try start making photo books now. I recently started using RiteAid online to process my digital photos but haven't yet looked at making the photo books. I didn't realize you can get so creative with it. Thanks for this informative hub, tillsontitan. I take a lot of pictures and have found it increasingly more difficult to find the right size album. You are correct in saying 'this is the answer.' Voted up and useful.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Good luck with your photo books Janshares. They are definitely great for odd size pictures or for when you want to accent one picture over others. Thanks for the votes.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

I have heard that these are a good idea, and have seen a couple of them. I was thinking about giving it a try. Thanks for the options.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Oh Deb, a photobook of your bird pictures would be magnificent!


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 2 years ago from Alberta Canada

Hi Mary... Great idea and certainly a way to eliminate all the loose pictures floating around here... not only have I been the family historian but over the years have accumulated a few boxes I really need to sort through. I like your way of thinking. Thank you for sharing, such a talented and diversified writer you are...

Hugs from Canada


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Rolly your praise is so gratefully accepted. Photo books do take time but the finished product is so well worth it.


mary615 profile image

mary615 23 months ago from Florida

I have thousands of photos stored on Google+. I used to keep them on my computer, but I got a Trojan Horse a year ago and everything was wiped out, so now I transfer them to Google+. I kept an annual family photo album starting in the year 1965. When I left my old house, I couldn't take them with me to my tiny apartment. I was so happy when one daughter took them to her house to keep for our family.

I really like this idea of photobooks. I will definitely look into it. I'm so glad I found this Hub!

Voted UP, etc. and shared.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 23 months ago from New York Author

Glad you found it too Mary. Photobooks are sooo much smaller and you can pack lots of photos into one by varying the photo size. Thanks for the votes and share.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 23 months ago from Houston, Texas

We have loads of photo albums in our home with family relatives pictures + trip photos. Most of them were assembled when I was using 35mm film. I still do print out photos that I like from my digital camera but certainly do like your idea of having them made into book form. This is a nice step forward in technology!

I would imagine that it takes some time to choose and arrange those photos as you wish for them to appear. Loved seeing your examples of what you have done. Up votes and sharing!


Country-Sunshine profile image

Country-Sunshine 23 months ago from Texas

I have hundreds of photos laying around my house, and several dozen albums. I actually still print out my photos!

That said, I've made photo books for special occasions. They really make a great gift!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 23 months ago from New York Author

It is time consuming Peggy but the end result is so worth it. You can put from one to sixteen pictures on a page. I just did a 10x10 for my grandson and even the pages with lots of pictures were great.

Country-Sunshine I do lots for gifts too. My daughter-in-law says she always hopes there's an album under the tree and one for my granddaughter's birthday.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 23 months ago from Germany

This is a very good idea. I have not heard of a photo book. I have a lot of photos I can make into this awesome craft. Thanks for the heads up.


jandee profile image

jandee 23 months ago from Liverpool.U.K

It seems that digi photos only have a lifetime of a few years . What do you think of that..?


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 23 months ago from New York Author

So glad to introduce you to photo books Thelma. I know you'll have fun.

Jandee I don't know the actual lifetime but I have digital photos that are almost 15 years old and they're fine.


jandee profile image

jandee 23 months ago from Liverpool.U.K

I heard a so called expert on the radio saying that a few days ago, hope he was mistaken and you are right..


Vellur profile image

Vellur 21 months ago from Dubai

This is a great idea! You can enjoy seeing photos from a photo book more than a digiframe. Great photos!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 21 months ago from Nashville Tn.

What a great idea! I love having someone else arrange the photos. Is the photobook something new? Your pictures are wonderful. What a perfect gift this would be. Thanks Mary for introducing the photobook to me. Voted up +++ and sharing.

Happy thoughts,

Audrey


sujaya venkatesh profile image

sujaya venkatesh 21 months ago

good suggestion


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 21 months ago from sunny Florida

This is such a great way to keep our treasured photos so that they are ready for us or ready to share.

My daughter does this for me...each year either on my birthday or at Christmas. She knows that it is always one of my most treasured gifts

Angels are on the way Voted up++++ pinned and shared ps


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

Yes Vellur and depending on what size you choose you can carry them around with you too!

Audrey the photo book's been around for quite a while actually but I have a feeling your were more busy with your music than surfing the web to find these things. I know you'd love it and I'm glad I could introduce you to it. Have a great day.

Thank you Sujaya.

Patricia so your daughter and I are on the same wavelength? Thanks for the votes and shares. Blessings to you my friend.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 20 months ago from North Texas

Wonderful idea you have here. Power Point also has great ways to put your photos in a collection or book if you prefer, and then you can save it to disc and send them to as many people as you want. With a small gizmo you can even show them on the wall like we did colorslides in the olden days. Awful that those days are gone for good, but time waits for no one.

Or you can post your collections online if you prefer. Yes, and you can even make digital scrapbooks with your photos included. Post online and/or save to disc to distribute copies.

I do think it's nice to be able to sit down and page through photos sometimes and especially when family and friends that you haven't seen for a while come to visit.

Great idea. Voted up and BAUI. Pinned to Awesome HubPages.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

Yes Au Fait, you mention some great alternatives. In this day and age there is no reason to horde your photos on your hard drive.

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