Are your favorite photos languishing on your phone or computer? Learn how to create a yearly family photo book … it’s so easy and gift to yourself that you’ll treasure for years!
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Are you good at printing out photos and putting together photo albums? It’s one of those things that I never seem to get around to.
Pretty much the minute I got my first digital camera, I stopped organizing my photos. They just ended up living somewhere on my computer.
Rather than allowing my photos to permanently disappear into the abyss, I started making annual photo books using Shutterfly.
I absolutely treasure these family yearbooks, so I thought it would be fun to show you how to create a your own yearly family photo book! And bonus: you can take 25% off at Shutterfly with code 25OFF2020 (through 3/31/20).
Why You Should Make Yearly Family Photo Books
I’ve been making these yearly family photo books since 2009.
We’re talking back in the days when I had short hair and wore bootleg jeans … ha. I’ve gotten a couple years behind at this point, so one of my projects this year is to get caught up!
Both my husband and I take a TON of photos … do you do the same?
Well, yearly photo books are the perfect way to organize all these photos! I’ve even created stand alone books for special trips and a wedding album. Shutterfly really does have templates for for almost any occasion, even memorial books.
Another thing I love about creating these yearly family photo books is that if anything ever happened (computer crash, theft, or worse), I have a record of all the books I’ve created in Shutterfly.
I can always reprint the books, and I even have access to the photos I’ve uploaded.
Major peace of mind, right?
I even made one of these photo books for our wedding!
It was a really casual event, and a family member took our pics. So I never had a professional photo book put together.
What’s even worse than your personal photos languishing on your computer is your wedding pics never seeing the light of day! I finally put together a wedding album using Shutterfly, and I love how it turned out.
They even have wedding templates specifically made for this!
My husband and I move frequently due to his job, so another thing I appreciate about these yearly family photo books is their size.
Although a bunch of sizes are available, I always get the same size book (8 x 8). The books are slim and uniform.
Despite the small size, one family yearbook can hold hundreds of photos! Yet all of my books take up less space than one standard photo album.
How to Make a Yearly Family Photo Book (Step-by-Step Tutorial)
Okay, enough chatting! Are you ready to make your own?
Here’s how to create your own yearly photo books … step by step.
1. Gather and Edit Your Photos
The first step is going through your photos.
I create a folder on my computer desktop, then drag in all the photos I want to use from iPhoto (or anywhere else I might be storing photos). Keeping the photos in a central location makes uploading them to Shutterfly easier.
Make sure to use high resolution photos! Scan non-digital photos (again, make sure your scanner is set to make high res images), and add them to your folder, too.
The next step is editing your photos, and this step can be time consuming. It’s not absolutely necessary, but editing can make a huge difference in the quality of your finished family photo book.
Although it’s possible to do basic edits in Shutterfly, I recommend editing your photos before uploading them. The editing capabilities in Shutterfly are limited, so straighten your pics, adjust colors, sharpen them, etc. now. Don’t worry about cropping your photos though, because that’s one step that’s best to do right in Shutterfly.
I use PicMonkey for editing all my photos, both personal and for this blog. It’s super easy to use, but you could use an app on your phone (I like Snapseed and Colorstory) or another online editing tool if you prefer.
2. Create a Shutterfly Account
After you edit your photos, create an account on Shutterfly … the link is in the top right of the screen.
Next, go to My Photos > Albums > Create New Album. Make sure to add a name to the folder to make it easy to find later. Then upload you photos to the album.
3. Choose a Book
The next step, and definitely one of the most fun ones, is choosing a photo book! Shutterfly has three book options:
- Custom Path – customize your book exactly the way you want.
- Simple Path – Shutterfly will automatically add your photos to the book.
- Make My Book – Shutterfly will design the book for you for an extra fee.
I’m kind of a control freak, so I always choose Custom Path. I love being able to create my book exactly the way I want.
And it’s really not extra difficult at all, because Shutterfly provides tons of layout options even with Custom Path, making it simple to use.
After you’ve decided on your path, you’ll choose a template. This is fun because there are so many awesome options!
If you click on a template, a sample book will pop up, as well as some of the background and embellishment options you can use to customize your pages.
You’ll see sample idea pages to spark your creativity here, too.
You can also choose the book’s size and cover type, and see pricing info in this pop up. Shutterfly runs lots of specials on their books, so I always wait until there is a sale to order.
Right now, you can save 25% at Shutterfly with code 25OFF2020 (through 3/31/20). If you ever need a code, let me know, and I’ll check to see if there’s an updated one!
It can be challenging to choose the perfect template (so many good options!), especially if you are indecisive like me.
I prefer to keep my books really clean and simple though. So for my family photo books, I really like the Modern White template … which is the template I’m using here.
If you are looking for something more fun, here are a few other options I liked, just to give you an idea of the range of styles.
4. Design Your Photo Album
Now that you’ve picked your book, it’s time to create it! This is the best part.
Make sure to set aside a chunk of time to do this, as it does take a while. (If you want to save time, try the Simple Path or Make My Book options.)
When you’re creating your book, you’ll see all your options (page layouts, backgrounds, embellishments, and a way to add more pages) in the left column. Basically, you’ll want to drag these options onto the pages you’re designing to the right.
Here are a couple pages I’m working on for my current book to give you an idea of how the editing process looks. You’ll work on two facing pages at the same time, which is really helpful for picturing how the final book will look.
To edit photos or text that you’ve already added to your pages, simply double click the photo or text and a separate box will pop up.
As you can see below, your photo editing options are limited. You’re able to make simple edits, as well as add filters.
You’ll find lots of fonts to choose from, too. For a cohesive, professional look, I recommend choosing 2 to 3 fonts MAX to use throughout your book … otherwise things start to get cluttered.
You can also add embellishments to your pages, like I did below with a piece of transparent tape. It’s a fun way to jazz up your pages, just don’t go too crazy!
Do you see that little exclamation point below? One of the things I love about Shutterfly is that they warn you when there are problems with your photos or text.
In the image below, my text was too close to the middle of the page, and they were warning me that it might not print properly. In the image above, I was using a photo that was too low resolution.
Isn’t that a helpful feature?
Don’t worry about missing these issues while you’re working on your book though. When it comes time to preview your book, Shutterfly will ask you to review all problems before you place your order.
Still need a little help?
Shutterfly has lots of tutorials and tips on their on their website to walk you through the process. And I’m happy to answer any questions you have, too!
It really is easy, intuitive, and fun once you get a hang of how their system works. I recommend jumping in and you’ll figure things out in no time.
5. Order Your Yearly Photo Book … and Enjoy!
The last step is ordering your family photo album!
You can even order multiple copies for grandparents, aunts and uncles, and more. And if you ever need to reorder a book, just go back into your Shutterfly account and reprint it.
You can also use the photos you uploaded for your book to order everything from mugs to pillows to phone cases!
Shutterfly runs lots of specials on their books, so I usually for a sale to order my yearly family photo books. For example, right now you can save 25% at Shutterfly with code 25OFF2020 (through 3/31/20).
If you ever need a code, just ask! I’m happy to check and see what’s available for you! You can also check for coupons and special offers on Shutterfly’s website.
I hope you got some great ideas for how to create a yearly family photo book!
Let me know if you make one, I’d love to see how it turns out!