Organizing Photos: Creating Photo Books

shuttefly This bright orange box appeared in the mail on Friday and I’m so excited! It’s one of my favorite things to open. Why? I created a digital photo book of our spring break trip to Mexico. Amazingly, Shutterfly seems to know when to send me the perfect coupon: The day we returned home, I received a code for a free 20-page 8×8 photo book. With it expiring in a week, I had a mission: to get my photos uploaded and photo book created.

When my son was born 13 years ago, I delved into the scrapbooking world. I would go on weekend retreats with girlfriends, where we would scrapbook day and night — strategizing (or agonizing) over each page, eating junk food, talking for hours, and laughing so hard we’d practically pee our pants. I am the proud creator and owner of several huge scrapbooks of my kids’ early years. Some day, my kids will lug those huge scrapbooks to their own homes. {And some day, their spouses will thank me, I’m sure of it.}

traditional scrapbooks

I remember having a conversation one time with my friend Tracie. We were a day or so into one of our many scrapbooking weekends, and our convo went something like this: “Do you think scrapbooking is just a trend, like ceramics was for our moms?” We couldn’t imagine not doing it. {Yes, my mom was of the ceramics generation. I’m sure my dad loved her bowls and whatnot.} Well, fast forward a few years, life got busy, companies like Archivers and Creative Memories went bankrupt, and photos are taken with our smartphones rather than an actual poscrapbookingintheclosetint-and-shoot camera. The result? My scrapbooking hobby sits in the back of my son’s closet. You need a square punch, a really cool piece of patterned paper or some brads? Yep, still got them. {See, I still have clutter, it’s just cleverly hidden away.}

One of the ways I’ve continued to scrapbook, however, is by creating digital photo books. I have photo books of almost all of our family vacations since the digital age, as well as a few of my trips with girlfriends. My kids love looking at pdigital photo booksast vacations, and I must admit, they are my favorite books to create. Of course it helps that the photos are of some of my favorite things: my family, pools, a beach. I think photo books are the greatest. How many times do you sit down at your computer and scroll through photos with your family? Never, right? Companies like Shutterfly and Blurb have made it really easy. You simply create an account, upload your photos, choose a template and drop in your photos. The bonus is that as an actual book, they are lightweight and slim — easy to carry around and show others and they look pretty on a shelf.

Because I did a lot of graphic design in my corporate life, I spend quite a bit of time prettying up each page. {Ok, my kids want me to tell you the truth. I spent days making each page perfect}. It’s just my thing. Here’s a peek inside my Mexico book:

beach photobook

photobook pagesphotobook spread

However, just because I spend days doesn’t mean you have to. You could easily make a photo book in an hour. Shutterfly, for example, has an option where the program will place your photos into the book for you, or if you want to semi-customize, they have idea pages that you can click on and your page immediately transforms into that design. While the books are 20 pages, I always end up adding pages. On Shutterfly, it’s $1 per additional page. My Mexico book ended up being 52 pages. (Twenty of those pages were free because of my coupon.) They have sizes ranging from 8×8 to 12×12. I like the smaller 8×8 books, for reasons mentioned above — they are small. {See, I learned from my traditional scrapbooking days.} And since I intend to keep these books until my kids get them as part of the “estate,” they’re easy to store. I keep ours in the living room, where we spend a lot of time. We have shelves right next to our couch, and they get pulled out and looked at a lot.


Look at the size difference between the traditional scrapbooks on the bottom shelf and the digital photo books on the top left. Yes, my kids’ future spouses will love having their scrapbooks!


Here’s the finished book. What do you think?

photo book

I now have another reason to be excited. I was just gifted a code for a free photo book courtesy of my blog’s new relationship with Blurb‘s affiliation program. Last year, my husband and son went on a father/son trip to Boston, and Evan asked me if I would create a book for him. This sounds like a perfect excuse to create another one, don’t you think?

So, are you a scrapbooker, either traditional or digital? Are you like me and have some huge scrapbooks to unload on your kids some day? Or do your photos stay stuck on your phone or in the computer?

If you need some tips about organizing those digital photos, stay tuned.

Julee sig 2014_pink_xoxo-1_edited-1

P.S. I am not being compensated by Shutterfly for this review. That’s how much I love their photo books!


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