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Making a Photobook

Making a Photobook

January 29, 2008

I have been wanting to print the photos I take in book form for years. Ever since I was first introduced to the digital camera I have printed virtually nothing. This year I decided that I was going to take some action and get things printed. In case I die. And Rob dies. And my children are left with my non-computer using sister-in-law, who in all likelihood would throw away the external hard drives that hold all the photos. Yes, I am morbid.

Right after the holidays I started working on a book at Blurb. It was easy.

I just made a hardcover book containing our photos from our Nantucket vacation. I didn’t want to make an extensive book without first seeing what it was like.

It came in the mail today.

The front cover:


Some pages from the inside:




The back cover flap:


The back cover:


I am really happy with it. And at least now if I drop dead suddenly they will remember one vacation.

I am working on making another book, maybe 3 months worth of photos per book? My favorite photos from 2007? I don’t know.

Posted by Chris @ 4:52 pm  

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  1. Jamie AZ says:

    One of my neighbors showed me a recent photo book she created and I yearn to do some, too. I’ll have to check out Blurb. My neighbor used Shutterfly for one she did and another service I can’t recall the name of for the second. I love the “collage” pages.

  2. Becky says:

    That is so awesome. I need to learn to take better pictures so I could justify making one.

  3. Kris says:

    I’ve never heard of ‘Summer’ Vacation!
    That’s a great book. What a wonderful keepsake for you and your family.

  4. Rachel says:

    That is so cool! I’ve wanted to do something similar for a long time but was worried it wouldn’t look good.

    If you don’t mind me asking–how much did it cost? I’m curious what the ratio to book/4×6 digital print would be.

    I sound like a nerd.

    Chris says: It was definitely more money than just printing out photos. But I have shoe boxes of photos from my pre-digital days. This book was $65

  5. Monique says:

    The book is fabulous.. we have had a few done and my daughter has offered us some..:)

    With all your fabulous photos.. I see MANY books in your future!Well done..and the cover’s great too.
    I loved Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard!

  6. PollyS says:

    That is beautiful. I would love to do something like that. I do dislike scrapbooking so much. But my son loves the pages I’ve made him. Maybe I’ll make some of these books for me. He can have the cut out, pasted pages!

  7. peepnroosmom says:

    Cooooool! What an awesome book.

  8. Maine Mom says:

    I’ve never done a photo book before, but the ones I have seen are really nice…including yours! Maybe someday I’ll get one made for our family.

  9. suburbancorrespondent says:

    They are price-y, but the kids love looking through them. I’ve done a bunch through Kodakgallery and Snapfish. All the major photo websites have them. They make great grandparent gifts, also!

  10. Laura says:

    Coming out of lurkdom here to say LOVE the book! The boat/footprints/storming the beach photos are fantastic! And the end quote is priceless! Sounds like some family vacations I’ve been on.

  11. Miz Booshay says:

    Thank you so much for giving this a try and showing us the great results!!!

    I would love to try this and yours turned out wonderfully!

    It doesn’t hurt that your pictures are great!!!

  12. jen says:

    That’s pretty awesome. I love that you took pictures of the beach and the boats for the cover, I do stuff like that all the time with that in mind, but then I never DO it! Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Angella says:

    I get my photos printed, and every Christmas we give the grandparents (and ourselves) a Shutterfly photo book.

    The first year we made one, my in-laws told my husband’s siblings that they too needed to make one every year.

    SO easy, and such a great keepsake.

    But I love the cover of yours. I’ll be checking out Blurb for next Christmas.

  14. I Should Be Folding Laundry says:

    Whatever the cost, it was worth every freakin’ penny. It’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing, I’ve always wanted to see the finished product, I’m sold.

    And that quote? Makes me so very happy.

  15. kalisah says:

    wow. Awesome. Really, really awesome.

  16. Sarah says:

    We do the same thing through Apple.com. I’d LOVE to try out this site, though, to see how they compare. I love that you can get so many pictures on a page.

  17. Melissa says:

    Beautiful book. I do mine through Shutterfly, but I like yours even better. My favorite part (other than the spectacular pictures) is the quote- Sums up all of our family “vacations”.

  18. Wendy says:

    That is so cool. Damn, now I have the urge to do one, but not the will. Someday…Someday.

  19. Johna says:

    This is really neat! Love the photos that I could see. My husband and I vacationed on Nantucket about three years ago and plan to go back. I will ck out that webpage and look into doing that also!!

    We are considering a vacation to Block Island, RI……have you been there? And if so, is it worth a vacation there?

  20. gorillabuns says:

    It doesn’t hurt that you have beautiful subjects for your wonderful photos.

  21. Fresh Girl says:

    My brother and SIL gave our parents and her parents a 195 page, 429 photo book from Blurb for Christmas…..it covered the first ten months of life of the first grandchild in both families. It was *gorgeous*, and it was mainly their work…my brother didn’t like any of Blurb’s page templates so he designed his own, saved them as one image and then inserted them into Blurb’s program as one photo. They and we are definitely sold on Blurb.

  22. Mary O says:

    Awesome book. I was working on a photo book on Shutterfly for our 2007 family photos, but now I think Blurb looks better. I might have to switch to Blurb and start over!

    Chris says: Shutterfly seemed much more difficult to me. I have worked on books and never published them forever over there. I made this one at Blurb in a couple of hours.

  23. MammaLoves says:

    I have a few of these at home–the do it yourself kind. I’ve been meaning to try them, but yours is so pretty!!

  24. brit says:

    perhaps I should have started with a picture book instead of the blog to book endeavor

  25. Caren Story says:

    that is beautiful! I should totally do that with our pictures. We have way too many sitting on DVDs and hard drives. Great Idea. I will check out Blurb…

  26. Amy says:

    LOVE it!! I made one on yorkphoto.com after our Scotland trip- but I like how yours turned out better. Maybe it’s the Chevy Chase quote :) I must steal that idea for my next family vacation album!! It summarizes every family trip we’ve ever taken.

  27. MamaGeph says:

    I’m putting together a blog book using Blurb. I’d just cry if years of my blog went *poof*, so I’m making a hardcopy.

    Beautiful, beautiful photos!

    Chris says: I wanted to do that but couldn’t figure out how to import all of the posts unless I was using wordpress or blogger as the host.

  28. Kai says:

    I am going home and making one for myself RIGHT NOW! I too take hundreds of photos, especially on my travels that I just never print. This is the perfect way to put them together and keep them. Genius! Thanks so much for the link!!

  29. Liesl says:

    That is truly beautiful!

  30. Heather says:

    That is absolutely gorgeous! I might have to do one now too!

  31. Stacey says:

    Just curious… how does this fit in to not buying things? Or was this purchased before the first of the year?

    It’s a gorgeous book!

    Chris says: It fits in because I say it fits in :-) I think of it as an organization thing, sort of like the CD/DVD holders I bought.

  32. Victoria says:

    This is fantastic!

  33. kellie says:

    love it. can I just say…you amaze me on a regular basis.
    does that sound weird? it is not meant to. i truely mean
    that as the highest compliment on earth.

    your photos, your children, the trophy husband, the renevations,
    your wonderful memory making ideas, your humor, and the way you
    put it all down and let us in to see a glimpse of your life.

    I so very much wish on a regular
    basis you were my neighbor and friend.

  34. pickel says:

    We just created one that we turned in for a birth mother book but we ended up getting a referral for Guatemala instead so we just got it back…it is so nice to have a book that describes our family.

  35. Jennifer says:

    GREAT BOOK! I’m inspired (as usual) by your creativity. My kids and I have decided to take photos every day and keep a file of one photo per day for 2008 memories. Maybe those could be made into a book!

    About you and Rob dropping over dead… you’re going to need more than one copy of your vacation book else your kids will be fightin’ over it!

    Chris says: I love that idea! I’ll be dead…let them fight ;-)

  36. tobi says:

    Blurb is awesome - I’ve done about 10 books with them. I like the Library binding, and the dust covers for the hardcover format. Their publishing process is slow, however, unlike Shutterfly. Shutterfly has better color reproduction and nicer paper. but the tradeoff is that Shutterfly does the annoying cutout on the front cover that clearly screams “photo album”. I end up switching back and forth between the two services, depending on the project I’m working on.

  37. TwoSquareMeals says:

    I talked my husband into buying me a Mac for Christmas 2006 with the excuse that I would use it to make photo books. Have I done it yet? Anyway, I love the layouts in Blurb, so I may have to check prices and use them instead. Great looking book!

  38. {heather} says:

    Oh wow, Chris! I LOVE this!!! Its beautiful!

  39. Susan says:

    The Chevy Chase quote is what really makes the book, you know.

    Chris says: I think I could have just put that on a book and skipped all the photos.

  40. jean says:

    What a great idea. I had never heard of Blurb but I’ll be checking them out now. Thanks.

  41. Isabel Kallman says:

    Great minds think alike.

    I made one from Blurb for my husband for Christmas this year. It was the Kallman Family 2007. He loved it.

    The first page was a collection of our son’s best quotes from the year. I also scanned in my favorite artwork.

    My picky husband was so impressed with the quality.


  42. Kate says:

    Fab - o !!!! great idea… I know that jessica @kerflop did the same - make a book , but of her posts ( & photos , I believe) what a great idea.

  43. Shaylind Standing says:

    Best idea ever!!
    I want one with our photos. :)
    Beautiful job.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  44. Redneck Mommy says:

    I just made a book (well, actually five of them) of my Bug. For all the aunts and uncles to have a little piece of his life to remember.

    Turned out fabulous. I used Apple and iPhoto, though.

  45. Julie Stiles Mills says:

    Now THAT’S MY KIND OF SCRAPBOOK! I’m selling all my printed 12 x 12 paper on ebay. And the gel pens, and the freaky scissors, and the stickers . . . seriously! I LOVE this!

  46. bombaygirl says:

    simply perfect. I’ve been meaning to do this, but too lazy, and too busy looking at other blogs!

  47. Nicole says:

    What a great idea for your photos.

  48. kate says:

    oh I really like this. And that is one of my favorite quotes. I love Chevy Chase movies!

  49. common mom says:

    I love the book! And the quote :-) In November, I went on a girls week vacation to Florida with my grandma, mom, and 4 aunts - we met my other aunt and uncle in Florida where they live. I made t-shirts for everyone - on the back, yup, that quote. Like you, I cleaned it up a bit - had to make it acceptable for Grandma :-)

  50. hipwritermama says:

    Thanks for sharing this and reminding me I need to do this.

  51. AMy says:

    SO NICE! I have always made DVDs from our vacation pictures–but my next project will be a BLURB book. I’ve already been over there and checked it out. Thanks!

  52. Dianna says:

    That is so cool! Thanks for sharing the link. I think I might start a new tradition and make one each year. This could also be a good idea as a Christmas gift. Look at all the neat things you find!

  53. becky says:

    Last year, I made a photo calendar for my mom, using iPhoto. It was so very easy! I’ve been thinking about using it for a photo book, too. But now I’ll have to compare it to Blurb. Your book looks great!

  54. Jennifer says:

    The book looks great! And is definitely worth the $65. If you consider the cost of printing the photos, plus the cost of a nice album for them, the cost of a book isn’t that much more. Plus, the book is so polished. It looks wonderful.

    Your pictures are gorgeous too.

  55. M. says:

    Isn’t that beautiful!!!! I never saw such a thing! And sixty-five dollars is not really that much to make such a gorgeous book. Wedding albums cost a helluva lot more and they have fewer pics (depending on the photographer)

  56. t in hd says:

    I have never seen or heard of such a thing. What a lovely idea. Someone remarked they were going to do this with their blog. I have a personal blog with a ton of photos that I’ve always wished I could print somehow. Maybe this would be the thing for it. One question though…How much of the design do you get to do yourself? Do you create the entire layout, colours, prints, everything? Did you design the cover yourself, as well?

    Chris says: I picked from their templates and just plugged my own photos in. The cover is just one of my photos.

  57. Carola says:

    Oh My God! That book is wonderful…I made something similar for my mom for mother’s day, but this is a way-way more professional book than the one I did. I have to check whether they ship overseas. Congratulations!

  58. Camilla says:

    Woah, that’s cool! Definitely adding that site to my list of Christmas Gift Ideas - that’s going to be perfect for the family next year! Might collect my favourites and make a book with them too. Awesome idea, thanks for showing us your book and linking. Your photographs looking even more stunning presented in that way.

  59. Kristi says:

    Brilliant! And beautiful. And that quote? Perfect!

  60. Nikki says:

    Hi Chris,

    What a neat idea — and gorgeous photos, too. Is that the portrait size, or the large format? I’m thinking now about making one for my mom. Thanks for the link!

  61. Mindy says:

    You can also make a book out of your blog at Blurb. I recently did that and I just love it!

  62. Heidi Malott says:

    Wow this is great! I have never heard of this. I will have to crawl out from under my rock and check this out. BTW, that is one of my favorite quotes!! Thanks for sharing.

  63. The Simple Family says:

    Okay, I covet. My daughter would go biserko if we had one of these for her.

    Wait…maybe for her birthday? An entire book about herself? She’d probably pee her pants but, then again, that just might be her forgetting to go potty.

  64. mel says:

    HOLY FREAKIN’ GORGEOUS COW!!! I’m sold. I’ll let them know you deserve a commission.

  65. Katie says:

    Wow, that is so freaking cool! And $65 is totally worth it. I think I have my grandparent gifts all figured out for the rest of the year.

    Also, the part about your kids going to your sister-in-law? My husband I keep joking that we should shop around for orphanages in case we both kick the bucket because no one will want to take on our 5. (We are obviously morbid too.)

  66. Stephanie Chance says:

    That is so awesome!

  67. Jenni says:

    I scrapbook and every since people started showing photo books they’ve had made, I’m wondering if I should just do that instead. I love some of the parts of scrapbooking, but I think I’d enjoy it more if I did a blurb book of all the events of the year and then just scrapbooked things that I want to scrapbook. Then maybe it would turn back into a hobby rather than a chore.

    Lovely book. Although looking at it, I had a question. On the first collage page picture there are two pictures at the top of the right page where your daughter’s head is cut off. Did you take the picture that way? Or did blurb crop it that way to fit it in the space?

    Chris says: I did take the photos that way. In person you can see a lot of detail in the sand with her footprints and the water.

  68. Courtney says:

    That is FABULOUS Chris! I really love it. I’ve been trying to scrapbook but it’s so time consuming and costly. I’d rather spend the money and be done in a few hours! LOVE the quote!!!

  69. josy says:

    i hope blurb is giving you a cut on all the business you’re sending their way.

    Chris says: Nope. They have no idea who I am or that I even like their books. And I’m not sure they’d even care ;-)

  70. Law Student Hot Mama says:

    Also try Shutterfly for books - love the books!

    Chris says: I found shutterfly a pain in the ass to use. I have started and given up on their books half a dozen times. I have had issues with them everytime I have ordered photos. They crop the photos and cut people’s faces off. Granted, it is because I am probably retarded, but it is annoying. I do have one of their kids ABC books where you send one photo of your child and they photoshop him onto all the pages. It is very cute.

  71. Rechelle says:

    Waaaaay too cool.

  72. Sarah says:

    I have done one photobook per year since I’ve been married….Which is only two books, but it’s more than I would have done if I tried to scrapbook them!

  73. carrie says:

    It’s beautiful! What a keepsake for generations to come.

    Suddenly I feel like a caveman with my antiquated scrapbooking ways . . .

  74. Ashley says:

    It looks great. I’ve been planning to make one myself and have been doing a bunch of reaseach on photobooks. I have to say blurb seems to be well priced and most of the reviews that I’ve read about the quality of their books have been good. I can’t wait to actually make mine and see how it turns out.

  75. Suzanne says:

    What a cool idea. I, too, never really got into printing out pictures once I went digital. I know so many people who are scrapbookers… but I could never really get into it. I’ve often wondered about how my children would have any memories of their childhoods if I died in a terrible, firey crash… now I will wonder no longer.

    Thanks for the sweet tip.

  76. t in hd says:

    That easy, huh? Hmmm, I’m going to have check this out. ;-)

  77. brit says:

    I’m not able to import all the photos from wordpress either, I just have been uploading them from my hard drive. Probably a slow way but it kept me from going crazy

  78. Joy H says:

    Dare I plug the Creative Memories Storybooks — beautiful templates to accent your photos along with basic black as well. Fabulous quality; you won’t be disappointed.

  79. Penelope Anne says:

    That is a really neat idea, thanks for letting me know the option is out there, might be a perfect way to do the kids books rather than scrapbooking. Probably last longer too.

  80. Mary W says:

    I have seen these books every where and wanted to try one but I’d never known anyone who actually printed one out. This will make a lovely gift for my parents and grandmother.

  81. Candy says:

    That’s so beautiful! My step-daughter does those all the time, and I just marvel at them. Not hard eh? I may have to have a go.

  82. cristen says:

    I did not know it was possible to do such things, but this is so totally up my alley. Thanks so much for inspiring me, yet again! My family is already loving you for your inspiring me to get the bread machine out of the closet, and I used my crock pot THREE TIMES last week! You are a good influence on me.

  83. Carolyn says:

    Hey Chris…can I ask what size you did it in? This really is such a great way of making those digital pics available for others to see. Thanks for the “direction pointing”.

  84. Mary says:

    Photobooks are my new obsession. It started because I was offered a free one from Shutterfly right after our wedding, so I did our honeymoon photobook. That was such a hit that I decided to scan a bunch of old pictures of my cousins and I and make one for our grandparents for Christmas. Success!! My next endeavor will be buying the rights to our wedding digitals and making photobooks for all our parents with wedding pics!

  85. Girlymom4 says:

    This is a beautiful book! Youjust gave me an idea for my mom’s bday coming up~ Thanks! :)

  86. Bronnie says:

    Wow! It turned out awesome!!!
    I’m totally jealous. I need some kids to take photos of!! hehe

  87. Bonna says:

    Your book is beautiful. I wanted to make a DVD with family photos, however… My request to relatives has gone unanswered. I like the book idea even better for the grands. They can take a look whenever they want and perhaps look forward to another. Your photos are awesome and I must admit I am quite jealous. Have not perfected the technique of taking a photo that does not looked staged.

  88. Deb says:

    I was going to ask where you made the book- but see from previous posts the answer to that-
    I LOVE IT! What an awesome way to preserve the photos. I’m like you - I save all those damn pictures on my hard drive and never do anything with it- thanks for sharing your ideas!

    ps- I’m really enjoying your new site- I tell everyone about it! You’re inspiring me - I was in Target just last night- and put back quite a few things that had found their way in my cart- simply because they were on sale!

  89. Nancy in AK says:

    Your book looks wonderful. I have also started books and not finished them but I plan to get on this.

    P.S. My family has vacationed a lot on Block Island over the years. It is a great place - sort of an unpretentious Martha’s Vineyard. We were there for a week last summer. A week was about enough time because it is a small island and we had three young kids - including 15 month old twins with us and it is hard to do a lot with tiny children. The beaches are beautiful and you can bike or walk almost everywhere.

  90. CathyC says:

    It’s beautiful! My girlfriend’s husband makes her one of these books every year for Mother’s Day using the best photos of the past year.
    Great memories.

  91. Laural says:

    I’ve tried to use Shutterfly with disappointing results, too. I can’t wait to try Blurb!

    But, can I borrow your photos? They’re so much better than mine…

  92. Melissa says:

    Gorgeous! I agree about Shutterfly - we got a free photobook through them (via Archiver’s) and it turned out nice but was a COMPLETE pain to put together, including the automatic cropping which would mess up the photos, so I had to look for ones that would specifically fit the templates. (This may also be because I am an idiot on those websites.)

    I use snapfish for ordering regular prints, they have done a good job, but I haven’t tried any of their photobooks. Thank you for sharing!

  93. Mary says:

    This is so cool…Thanks for sharing! I’m also looking forward to trying the granola as we have to eat gluten free over here too… :)

    I was just curious…did you use the 13 x 11 format? Thanks so much!

    Chris says: I used the largest book size.

  94. kathy says:

    Oh baby, YOU may not know, but *I* know. Your next book will be, “Caribbean Vacation”.

    Chris says: Just say the word, Kathy. ;-)

  95. Jenn says:

    What a beautiful book! Thanks for sharing about Blurb, I’ll have to check it out.

  96. Eva says:

    Love your book! Thanks for sharing the link to blurb. How do you get all 9 photos on one page? I didn’t see that layout in the blurb bookmaker. Do you mind sharing?

    Chris says: It’s there! Make sure you have the photo page option open, not the journal, or text, or whatever choices there are.

  97. adam says:

    That book looks great. I just did a blurb book and it turned out amazingly.

    Putting together the books does take time though doesn’t it? I took a month to put mine together, but it was worth it. Blurb’s quality and price were perfect for what I was putting together.

    Have a look here, I was able to highlight some of the small printing mistakes made.

  98. i’m allergic to scrapbooking. « Pragmatic Compendium says:

    [...] was introduced to this site by Chris at Notes From the Trenches. She made a beautiful book and posted some great photos. Check it out! Don’t miss this [...]