Photo Books

This Christmas, my mom pulled out an old picture album as we were sharing family memories. Remember what we used to do? Take pictures, develop film, wait DAYS to see your pictures, then stash them somewhere until you have shoeboxes full of photos and you organize them into a photo album like my mom had.  That moment at my parents' house got me thinking about what I would do years from now. Would I pull out my external hard drives? Log into Facebook or Flickr? It just didn't have that folksy charm.

So I embarked on a month-long project to organize 9 years of photos into 5 photo books. It was awful. And fun. And expensive.

My friend Erin recently started a conversation on Facebook about how much of a chore making these books are and solicited some advice. Here's what I've learned:

  • Avoid the horrible temptation of making photobooks look like scrapbooks. Go Photo Dragnet on it-- "Just the pictures, Ma'am." I used the BookSmart application from that comes with pre-loaded templates and allows you to make custom templates. The photo import and drag and drop features made putting the books together really easy.
  • Check, check and check again...then check again. Typos are the worst, especially when you're paying $40-50 a book (I learned the hard way). So get a friend or two to look at your books before you submit your order.
  • Develop a system to organize and rate your photos. Spending time to tag and rate your photos during the year will make picking photos for your book a breeze. I use Lightroom for cataloging photos, but you could also use Picasa for a free option.
  • Save some cash by searching for online coupons before you buy. This may go without saying, but you can save anywhere between 20-40% with a coupon.

I still think photos are best viewed when printed, so it was a treat to get these in my hands. I'll leave you with some pictures of the final product:

Photo Book.jpg