Some of our most treasured possessions are family photos, especially the Shutterfly books that I create at the end of each calendar year. They serve as a yearbook of sorts documenting all the fun events, holidays, laughs and memories made throughout the year. I used to love to scrapbook, but unfortunately I don’t have the time anymore. I also have WAY too many pictures to print and frame, so these albums are the perfect solution to displaying our family photos.
Making a photo book can seem a bit overwhelming if you’ve never done it before, so here are my top four tips for creating one:
1. Keep your photos organized
I have an entire blog post on how I store and organize my photos for free each month on Shutterfly. The process takes less than 10 minutes and ensures all my digital photos are safe and organized for when I need to access them. You can read more about that here.
2. Don’t wait until December to create the book
If you do this, it will seem extremely overwhelming trying to put together 12 months at one time and before you know it the next year will be halfway over and you will give up. Instead, I like to break it into smaller chunks. For instance, I might sit down at the end of March do the spreads for January, February and March. Then, a few months later I will do a little more. This way by the end of the year you will have your book almost complete and will only have to edit it and order!
3. Take advantage of the pre-made spreads
When it comes to making photo books, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There are hundreds of beautiful pre-made spreads and designs already uploaded on the website. I always start by picking out the ones I love and then editing them to fit my needs and the look or theme of my book. It is so much faster than trying to create layouts from scratch. If you don’t want to do any work, you can also select the option where your photos are manually placed on pages for you in seconds.
4. Wait for a sale before you buy
I know it is tempting to hit that checkout button as soon as you finish putting together your book. Trust me, I want to get mine in ASAP too! However, they can get pretty pricey, especially if you like all the fancy upgrades like I do. When I finish putting together my yearly book (usually in February or March), I add it to my cart and then wait for a code. Shutterfly is always running really great sales. Some are better than others, so be patient. For my 2019 book that I just ordered, I was able to stack two codes (one for 50% off and one for free unlimited extra pages). With these two codes I saved $164! I don’t know about you, but that’s worth waiting a few extra weeks to get my book. Also, don’t forget to use Rakuten to get a percentage of cash back. If you’ve never used Rakuten, you can sign up here and get $10 plus cash back on all your online purchases.
Shutterfly books also make great gifts. My husband first gave me one for our first anniversary as my traditional “paper” gift. Ever since, I have made one each year for our family. I have also given them to both sets of grandparents with pictures of the kids.
It is so special to be able to look back through the years at all the memories we have created as a family. They make great coffee table books for guests to flip through as well. This is definitely something I will continue to do for years to come!