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How to Make Photo Books

Updated on March 8, 2015
tillsontitan profile image

What better way to preserve our memories than photographs? Mary loves taking pictures and sharing them along with her knowledge about them.

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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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      4 years 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

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 

      4 years ago

      good suggestion

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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,


    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

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

    • jandee profile image


      4 years 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..

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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


      4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

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

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      4 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      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.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 

      4 years 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!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 years 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!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

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

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

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

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

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

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

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

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      4 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

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 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.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

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

    • profile image


      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      4 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!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      4 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+

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      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.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great ideas. A photo book has so meaningful.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 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

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 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.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      4 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.

    • sasanka7 profile image


      4 years ago from Calcutta, India

      Very interesting idea. Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      Michael Thiel 

      4 years ago

      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.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 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

    • healthwealthmusic profile image

      Ruth R. Martin 

      4 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.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 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.


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