I have long been a fan of photo books, and wanted to have a chat with you today about them, what they can be used for, and why I think they are such a great way to organise your photos, and other memorabilia that you may have.
I don’t very often go through my photos on my computer.
I spend ages sorting them out and filing them safely and securely using DropBox – but never really sit down and go through them again – which is kind of a waste!
After all – whats the point of having a brilliantly organised photo storage system on the computer if you don’t actually get to see the photos?!
As such I wanted to find a way that I could have them more accessible, handy, but still out of the way – and not taking up too much room on any shelves or in cupboards in the house.
I really think that nothing is nicer than getting a photo album out to look back over past years and good times. It can be a real family event – and I especially love doing this at the end of the year so we can see what we did and reminisce a little.
I want a way to be able to see the photos, let others be able to see them too, AND have a lasting keepsake.
Photo albums always worked well before my daughter came along – but trying to keep track of every picture and memento (her artwork, certificates, cards etc….) after she came along was a nightmare.
I was left with albums literally bursting at the seams – they looked messy on the bookshelves, and were also really cumbersome and difficult to flick through when we wanted to as things would easily fall out.
Not the best of ideas to say the least!
There had to be another option…..
And so I started to look at photo books.
What are Photo Books?
Photo books are printed books that come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They basically are a way to display photos that you choose – and as they are printed onto each page there is no likelihood of them falling out as with photo albums.
They are basically a proper book – created by you – with all your photos in.
You can have them with dust covers, hardback, spiral bound, book bound etc… – the list really is endless.
Layout wise – on every page you can choose something different – dependent on the photos that you want to display, and you can write words around the photos too to create a proper book.
They are a way of creating a very personalised item, and actually making use of some of those stored away digital photos – and that’s why I have fallen just a little bit in love with them!
Why would I use a photo book vs. a photo album?
A photo album is your standard way of displaying photos in a book style – but I have found various problems with these over the years:-
- If I wanted to create a uniform look for the albums (especially nice when displayed on the same shelf in a room) – they need to be bought in bulk – so I can have the same album year by year. This can cost a lot – and where do you stop as to how many to buy!
- Photos can look messy in the album quite quickly – the plastic over the top of each page can create bubbles, and can make the photos look less crisp when you look at them.
- Writing on each page can also look messy – and you can’t write straight onto the page, so you have to cut out extra paper to size etc… which can be time consuming.
- The process of printing out the photos, in the right sizes, and planning the album takes a lot of time – and there’s nothing more frustrating than sitting down to put an album together only to find that you haven’t got all the photos you wanted to display.
- Actually – although a photo book can be expensive – you will have spent around the same amount on getting photos printed, a nice album etc…. and the extra time it takes – so they balance out financially.
- Photos fall out of albums which can be frustrating, and feel less professional
- When you start adding photos into albums, they can start to bulge – which makes it look less nice on a bookshelf – a photo book is very slim and takes up far less room
- You can print off more than one copy of a photo book so you can send it as a gift etc…. – which is a great bonus!
- Most places where you buy photo books from will keep a copy of the book digitally so you have a copy of photos should anything happen to the original book (I wouldn’t advise using this for your copies only – but it is a nice extra! – think of how long it would take you to recreate a photo album if you should ever lose it….)
In fact – the only reason I delayed buying photo books rather than albums was that I like to add in other memorabilia such as tickets and cards etc….. so that a family yearbook has everything in one place – and it was really easy to stick anything and everything straight into an album.
However, as I have already stated, the albums became very bulky very quickly, but I thought that this couldn’t be bettered by a photo book as they wouldn’t be able to accommodate other such memorabilia.
I finally realised that of course it can if you simply take a photo of the item instead! #lightbulbmoment!
Simple, but very effective!
Where can I buy photo books from?
I wanted to use a couple of different ones so that I could compare the service, ease of use, quality etc… and so you had a better feel for the market out there if you are considering trying them out yourself.
These 2 sprung out at me the most when looking online (Photobox** is where I print my photos from usually, so I know this site quite well, and I had been looking at Blurb for a while as I like the fact you can print books from here which may come in useful one day with the eBooks I offer (watch this space!)).
So, here is my lowdown on them:-
Very easy to use, you don’t have to download any software, and it’s user friendly.
You do need some amount of computer skill, but you do with all these sites really – and once you’ve done one, you’ll find the next one so easy!
They start from £5.99 for a mini book – but for an A4 book expect to pay around £30-£50.
You get a set number of pages in the book (that’s the price quoted) but you can pay for extra pages , so you get exactly what you need.
You can also add in as many photos per page as you like (and that would look good!) – so you can get a lot more photos in a book than you think (and this is one of my big benefits over a photo album – as once you start to overlap photos in an album it can get messy and bulky, and photos start to slip.
I used this photo book for a family holiday we had last year to Euro Disney. We had loads of photos and it was a really special holiday, so I wanted to create an album just for that.
It was really easy to use the interface, and I had lots of fun one evening making sure I had everything I wanted on each page, and that the book would read well when finished.
Mostly I let the photos talk for themselves, but I did add in some writing just to point out some key events etc…..
The Photo Book arrived 3 days later which I thought was amazing, it looks like a proper book rather than homemade, the colours are good, and the pages feel like they will last a long time.
I would definitely recommend!
As with Photo Box – it is a very easy to use system, but one thing to note here is that you do have to download their software.
This is really easy though, and the main benefit of this is that it means that you can create your book offline and then simply connect to the Internet to download it ready to print – meaning it can be quicker overall, once you get the hang of it!
I also like this company as you can self publish books if you are a budding writer – you can download the book and then print off as and when you get an order – so its very cost friendly!
Is pretty intuitive, but I found that spending a little time up front really seeing what was possible with different layouts etc… paid dividends in the final result.
Books start from £7.99 and for a standard, slightly smaller than A4 book expect to pay around £24.
I used this for my 2012 family yearbook – and used a larger size so its more of a coffee table read, which works really well.
There was plenty of scope for all the photos I wanted, and adding in some key words really brought it to life.
Again I loved being able to put the book together, and swap things round until I was happy with the look of it.
The finished book actually arrived this morning (a week from ordering so again a good turnaround time for a totally personalised item), and looks beautiful! Its fantastic quality and I would highly recommend this company also.
I would personally use both of these places again when it comes to the time to create my next book – I had no problems with service or quality or turnaround time – and am so so pleased with the results!
The books now sit pride of place in our family room, and will be a great read for visiting family!
Other places to buy Photo Books from…
Please note – there are lots of places that you can make and purchase Photo Books from – but I have only used Photobox** and Blurb** to date, so I can’t comment on service, ease of use, or quality – but I have listed others to take a look at as well:-
Ideas for what to put into a Photo Book
I have well and truly got the bug for creating Photo Books now – because they are so professional looking, and make everything so neat and tidy and organised! and there are so many uses for them as well, so here are some of my ideas for inspiration!
- Family Yearbook – create a chronological series of books that show your family growing up – and special moments
- Give an album of your Childrens Pictures to grandparents for Christmas
- Life story picture book for a significant birthday
- Recipe book – create your own!
- Babys first year….
- Photos from a special holiday or event that you want to treasure
- A personalised diary with a special picture for each month
- A wedding – make your own album
- A portfolio for business to show prospective clients your work
- Your first novel!
- The list really is endless!
Are you tempted to try a photobook for a special occasion or event? Have you already created one? I’d love to know so please leave a comment below – thanks in advance!