As you all must certainly know by now, I'm a bit OBSESSED with photography. I'm pretty sure I take thousands of photos of the kids each month, and while I'll post a few to Instagram and use a few on the blog, the majority of them stay trapped on my computer until I get around to doing something with them. I'm currently in the process of updating all the photos on the walls in our house and it's been really fun looking back at my favorites and getting them out where we can all see them and talk about them. I've also been printing a few here and there to give to Mac for school projects and to put in his bedroom. Over the last few years he's been increasingly reluctant to let me take his picture and he fights me more and more over it. Yet, recently he's been asking me to take pictures of him and I think it's because he likes having and seeing photos of himself on our walls and printed out.
One of my favorite ways to print/display photos in through photo books and albums. I've made books for birthday parties, the kids' baptisms, family photo shoots, Christmas albums, vacations, yearbooks and other special events and occasions. I'm obsessed with photo books and would order a book for every single event in my life, if I had the time to make them all. I also love gifting books to friends and family members. I love being able to pull a photo book off the shelf and relive a day, year or trip through the photos. I'm never lacking in pictures of our days, but I am lacking in having the time to make books. I'm picky and it takes me FOREVER to make a photo album because everything has to be just right. I also tend to get really overwhelmed with all the options, accessories, bells and whistles that you can do with photo albums, so I don't use any of them. I can't tell you how many times I've wished I had someone else with discerning taste and experience to make photo albums for me.
Well guess what...there's a brand new service from Shutterfly called "Make My Book" that does just that! They design your book for you for $9.99! I wanted to make an album of the photos from our annual SGI beach vacation for the kids, since we talk about the trip all the time. All I had to do was upload the photos I want included and they did all the work of sorting through them, picking out the best ones, arranging them in order, cropping (if necessary), picking the layouts, adding accessories (frames, borders, etc.). I had the option of choosing from some standard Shutterfly themes and background colors and could leave a note for my editor, and then they put together my entire book (in less than 24 hours) for only $9.99 (plus the cost of the book)! I can't even quantify how many hours of work that probably saved me. Once they sent the design to me for approval, I still had the option of swapping out photos, adding more, making changes, etc., but the majority of the work was already done. Color me impressed (and I'm picky!).
I asked for the classic white layout with white pages, very little embellishment and a focus on the photos. I think my editor did a great job of choosing photos and layouts that are clean, simple and classic, just like I requested.
The kids and I all love the book. They are obsessed with looking at photos of themselves and talking about everything we did on vacation. Mac loves the fishing photos and seeing the pictures of the stingrays he caught. Mim loves all the swimming photos and the ones of her playing in the sand. They've even asked if we could look through the book at bedtime instead of reading a story! They love it so much. I think I'm going to have to start making a lot more of these books!
This service is perfect for busy moms that don't have the time to design an album or anyone that would like to print their photos, but is overwhelmed by the options and effort. The Make My Book design service fee is only $9.99 and you only pay the design fee if you choose to order the book. Shutterfly has lots of sizes, themes, styles and options to choose from, so what are you waiting for?
Do you print your photos?
Do you prefer photo books, wall prints or something else?