Are your treasured photos languishing on your phone or computer? Learn how to create a yearly family photo book!
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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 (too many years ago to count … shh!), I stopped organizing my photos, and they ended up living on my computer. Rather than allowing my photos to disappear into the abyss that is iPhoto, I started making photo albums using Shutterfly.
I absolutely treasure these albums, and I thought it would be fun to show you how to create a yearly family photo book. And bonus: you can save 25% with code 25OFF2018 (through 12/31/18).
Why I Love Creating 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 for 2017 is to get caught up!
Both my husband and I take a TON of photos. A yearly family photo book is the perfect way to organize all these photos. I’ve also created stand alone books for special trips and a wedding book, and Shutterfly even has templates for memorial books, too.
I like to organize my pics by month when I create these 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 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. The books are slim and uniform.
I always get the same size book (8 x 8), and one book can hold hundreds of photos. Yet all of my books take up less space than one standard photo album.
How to Create a Yearly Family Photo Book
Okay, enough chatting! Are you ready to make your own? Here’s how to create a yearly family photo book … step by step.
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 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 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 to edit your photos. This is time consuming but 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. You’ll have a lot more options, since 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, this is easy to do right in Shutterfly.
I recommend PicMonkey for editing photos … it’s free and easy to use! Once you edit your photos, upload them to Shutterfly. Make sure to save the photos to a folder to make it easy to find them later.
Choose a Book
The next step, and definitely one of the most fun ones, is choosing a photo book! There are a ton of companies you can use to make these books, but I’ve used Shutterfly many times and highly recommend them.
Shutterfly has three book options. Custom Path (customize your book exactly the way you want), Simple Path (they’ll automatically add your photos to the book), and Make My Book (they’ll 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. But don’t worry if this seems extra difficult, 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 can save 25% with code 25OFF2018 (through 12/31/18).
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 2017 family photo book, so I’m going with the Modern White template.
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.
Design Your Yearly Family Photo Book
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 2017 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, your photo editing options are limited, but 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.
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. Below, my text was too close to the middle of the page, and they were warning me that it might not print properly. Above, I was using a photo that was too low res.
Isn’t that a helpful feature? Don’t worry if you miss these issues while you’re working on your book. When it comes time to preview your book, Shutterfly will ask you to review these problems before ordering.
Does all of this sound a little overwhelming? Shutterfly has a tutorial on their website to walk you through the process, so don’t fret. It’s really easy and fun once you get a hang of how their system works.
Order and Enjoy!
The last step is to order your yearly family photo book! You can even order multiple copies for family members. And like I said earlier, if you ever need to reorder a book, you can 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!
Keep in mind that Shutterfly runs lots of specials on their books. I always wait until there is a sale to order my yearly family photo books, and I’ll try to keep this post updated with promo codes. If you don’t see one, or the one listed is out of date, just ask me. I’ll be glad to check if there’s a code available for you!
***Right now, you can can save 25% with code 25OFF2018 (through 12/31/18).
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!