Gone are the days of printing out numerous copies of travel photos to use in photo albums or to tape up on the refrigerator. We just don’t do it anymore. Printing photos is a thing of the past in my household. But we still take thousands of pictures on every trip, so we need an alternative way to preserve our travel memories. That’s where Shutterfly comes in.
Preserving travel memories using the online tools available at Shutterfly has made designing photo books really convenient and easy!
Ten years ago, one of my favorite pastimes was scrapbooking. I used to spend hours with my printed pictures spread out in front of me, cropping photos, cutting out cute little stickers and embellishments to add to the pages. At one point, I had an entire bookshelf full of those 12×12 scrapbooks that are each 3-inches thick, weigh a ton, and take up valuable space in my small apartment.
Does this look familiar to you?
It was obviously not practical for me to keep doing that. I’ve been to 60+ countries, so there would be at least 50 of those books hanging around right now if I’d not had a stern talking to myself about this unsustainable habit.
However, I still want to preserve my travel memories and have something to look back at years later to fondly remember the trip. I just don’t want it to take up so much space and be so unwieldy. We move a lot and I want to be able to pack them easily.
Why build enormous photo books – spend all that money printing photos and buying albums, paper and stickers – when you can use Shutterfly to create awesome printable books online.
See how much less space these take up? A Shutterfly 8×8 photo book with 20-30 pages is the perfect solution. It only weighs a couple ounces and you can store up 100 of them before even half a shelf is consumed. Best of all, you can create a book with as many photos as you like.
Since everything in my life is done online these days, it was an obvious choice to move my travel book creating to an online platform. I used to use Shutterfly to print my photos, so it was an easy solution to start using the Shutterfly Photo Book creator. All you have to do is log in to My Shutterfly, choose your favorite of the Shutterfly photo books, and get started creating.
What is Shutterfly?
In case you don’t already know, Shutterfly is an online service that helps you preserve our photo memories. They offer basic photo printing services, but the magic happens when you use their tools to make things like cards, stationary, calendars, and photo books using your own photos.
They have a really easy to use system for customizing your products. For instance, if you choose to create a photo book, you just select your favorite book (layout, size and quality), then use the design assistant to whip up a beautiful, personalized photo book? Sounds too easy? Well, it is.
To create your own custom book, you start by uploading the images you want to use to Shutterfly. Then you choose your favorite template from the many available (like Family Vacation, Beach Travel and The Travel Bug) and arrange your pictures in the pre-arranged slots. You can then add design elements, like stickers, text, and embellishments. When you’re done, all you have to do is order the book. It will be printed and sent to you within a week.
What If I’m Not Creative?
They offer three methods for creating a photo memory book on their site, so you don’t have to worry if you’re not super creative or don’t have a lot of time.
You can select the Make My Book Service and a Shutterfly designer will use your photos to create a custom photo book for you in just 3 days. This is the easiest and best option for people who don’t have the time or inclination to make their own book.
If you do want to create your own book, there are two options.
You can also select the Custom Path method, which allows you to get as creative as you want and move around photos, captions, place embellishments, etc. Or you can choose the Simple Path, which will arrange the photos for you in the book, so you can skip that step. The custom path method obviously takes more time. I rarely finish a book in one sitting, but I would say it takes me about 3-4 hours to finish a book with the custom path, because I move everything around, resize the photos, put in lots of text and extra design elements. So the effort it takes to complete a book is entirely up to you, your working speed and the level of detail and design you want to get into.
What Options Are There?
First of all, you can choose from various sizes for your book. They come in:
They offer a pretty comprehensive selection of themes that come with specific backgrounds, layouts and embellishments. Some examples are:
- Neon Pop
- Elegant Wedding
- Fall Favorites
- Warm Winter Wishes
- Welcome Baby
- World Travel
Then you can choose whether you want a soft cover, hard cover or premium cover.
What I appreciate the most is that you can add additional elements to the book if you can’t find what you want in the pre-chosen stuff. I use that option a lot, to make it look exactly the way I want it. Some of the extra embellishments and backgrounds are free to use, others charge a small fee.
How To Make a Personalized Photo Book
The system is really easy to use, even if you’ve never used it before. I always choose the 8×8 book – it’s the smallest and also the most affordable. I mostly choose from the Travel theme category, which has 38 styles from World Travel, to Disneyland, and even specific countries. Twenty pages are always added to the book (that’s as small as it gets), but you can add more for an additional fee if you need to.
All you do is upload the photos you want to use, then add them to an album you’ve created and begin assembling your pages. You can choose a pre-set layout template and then change around anything you want – add text, add embellishments, change the size of the photos, move them around, etc. If you want to tell a story, you can do that too by adding as much text as you want to the page. There are even layouts that are completely text so you can make a picture book or a cookbook using Shutterfly.
If you have a lot of photos, this is a great way to fit them all into a small space, but still be able to enjoy them in a story format. I always use the 5+ photo layouts for each page, because I have a lot of photos of each day or event that I want to feature. You can fit up to 30 pictures on one page if you want!
After you’ve finished designing your pages, you’ll have a chance to proofread it, inspect it one last time, and then order it! Processing and shipping takes about 7-10 days, but there are rush options too, if you need it. I love the anticipation of waiting for the book to arrive in the mail and flipping through it for the first time.
Are Shutterfly Photo Books Affordable?
I have always thought Shutterfly photo books were a really good value. They start at $14.99 and go up from there depending on what you add. There are many available premium additions, called Storybook Style elements that you can add for a small fee. I’ve used a few of the premium additions, but it’s not at all necessary to make a beautiful photo book.
You can also find great deals on Shutterfly throughout the year. They offer free book deals, free shipping deals, and tons of seasonal specials. Check out their special offers page for all their current deals, and check back often because they are updated all the time.
Whether it’s a gorgeous wedding photo album, a new baby memory book, a fun-filled family photo album, an adventurous travel photo album, or a personalized children’s book, Shutterfly has a professionally bound photo book that’s perfect for you.
The final product arrives in a cardboard slipcover, so it’s well protected from bends and bumps in the mail. The book is sturdy with thick pages and great color and print quality. I have only had one issue with a book I’ve made – the bleed of the text ran off of the page, which was clearly a printing error.
I sent it back for a new one that was printed correctly. Otherwise, I’ve always liked the way the book looks when it’s printed. I like the high-quality paper and ink. It’s a great value for a full color printed photo book, in my opinion. Way better, cheaper and smaller than my old scrapbooking method. That makes me happy.
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Have you used Shutterfly photo books to preserve your memories or do you have another method you’d like to share? Tell us about it in the comments.
(Disclosure: The link below is an affiliate link which means that if you click the link and purchase a product from Shutterfly that I will receive a small commission at no charge to you. My opinions are, as always, my own.)