Photobook Site Review

I love making photobooks of our year, and I do it every year! The process of actually creating the album helps me to reflect on the recent past and relive those memories, and then I preserve them all into just one 12x12 printed book from Shutterfly.

I stopped printing my digital pictures a while ago (unless I am just updating my picture frames around the house), because I found that I wasn't doing anything with the photos once I got them. I have quite a few boxes and stacks of pictures from the past (when they had to be developed) that I never go through... Turning them into actual photo albums take up so much room and are so plain if you just stuff them with pictures without any explanation or order.

Scrapbooking them also takes up a lot of room and a ton of time, but it looks so much better that way! The papers, stickers, and fonts make your pictures look much more special. One problem though, I do not like to physically scrapbook.

I know that sounds weird coming from me, an avid crafter, but I really just don't like having piles of pictures and supplies and tools lying around to design a page on the fly. I like to see my page before it is created so for me, that and using a computer to design, then the instant gratification of getting it in the mail; digital scrapbooking was the way to go.

Although I use Shutterfly and am very happy with my choice, here are more review for other sites from thedailydigi. Shutterfly does not pay me to endorse them, it is just my own opinion. Or rather, it is the site that I started with initially and to me it seems kind of disjointed to spread my digital photos out all over the universe - having one central spot seems the smartest and safest thing to do.

Here is my process below:

  1. Actually take photos during the year... seems obvious, but sometimes I forget!
  2. Keep your pictures organized. I have a "pictures" folder on my hard-drive that I download all of mine to. I separate them into different folders with the date (year first) and quick description. For example: 121225 Christmas Time
  3. At the year's end, go through all of your folders from that year and copy/paste them into one folder called 2012 Best Pictures.
  4. I then upload that entire "best" folder online into my Shutterfly account. That way, whether I use them in my album or not, I will still have them saved online incase of a fire or tragedy where I have the potential to lose all my photos. At least I will still have the best from each year saved digitally for myself.
  5. Don't stop at pictures! If you have something really cool that will enhance the page like an invitation, tickets, or sketches, scan those in too! 
  6. Choosing a new layout design is the tricky part. Since I am doing an entire year I need many different themes so I usually just go with the design that is the most generic of their new designs. I like to have a different looking book every year and I can see that I am definitely getting better! I have been creating books for the past 5 years.
  7. While looking through the photos and transferring the ones I want to use in my album, I make a mental note (and sometimes storyboard my pages) of the events I want to showcase on one page, a 2 page spread, etc. You can do this feature within Shutterfly as well.
  8. Then I create the pages in order in which the events occurred. I add the dates and quick description or anything I want! It is so easy to just type and click and change things this way.
  9. Don't rush, there is no "due date." I have taken up to a few months to finish off my book to get it just right. It is becoming a piece of my history. I sometimes create it and let it sit in my projects folder within Shutterfly until a sale comes. I don't think I have ever paid more than $40 bucks for a photobook... and these things can be hefty - some at 50 pages or more!
  10. Don't worry if you don't read them all the time. If you are like me, knowing I have them and being able to reference them when I want to or go through them with my baby nieces gives me piece of mind that I am documenting my history and doing it well.
Through my research I found that there is a site that will turn your blog into a photo book... maybe I will try that one day!

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From Charleston, South Carolina to your computer. I hope you enjoy. :)