Creating Photo Books For My Kids- I HAVE to get Organized!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Happy Tuesday! Is your week off to a good start? My girls didn't have school yesterday...and it was SO nice to have an extra day of nowhere we HAD to be!

So....let's talk about photo books. I KNOW. It is quite THE RIVETING topic to discuss. HA!
Anyway- ever since I had my first daughter, I have been creating a yearly photo book for each of my children.  The first couple of years- it wasn't a big deal at all- 1) because I only had Charlotte and then Cora and 2) because I didn't have my super nice camera at the time and wasn't taking that many pictures. 
Fast forward 7 years later- and I take a GAZILLION pictures of my kids and now I have 4 (almost 5) of them!
When I am preparing to make a photo book-  I usually upload about 250 pictures and because I want to get the most bang for my buck and fit 5-6 pictures on each page of the book- I "custom" make the book versus having it "auto filled." 
For me- and I know this may be different for you- it just gets to be a really kind of overwhelming project that I don't look forward to working on. 

And I don't want it to be that way!! My girls LOVE LOVE LOVE their photo books. I always LOVE the finished product and I definitely think for me- it is my preferred way of keeping memories for my kids. When they are 18- they will have 18 bound books, that will take up much less room than a bunch of photo albums with photographs that can fall out, get damaged, ect.

So- 2016 is MY YEAR to get a handle on how I make my photo books. 

Here is what I have been doing: I am always several months behind on starting my kid's photo books. For instance, my daughter Cora's birthday is in August and I am just now finishing up her book. I make the books yearly, starting right after their birthday leading up to their next birthday. Charlotte's birthday was in November and I have yet to upload her pictures or even get started on her book. I am ALWAYS behind on making these books!

My NEW plan: 
1) start a photo book "project" for each child.
2) upload pictures MONTHLY to each child's photo book project
3) every THREE months- create 4-5 photo pages with the photos that have already been uploaded in the "project"

Basically- instead of procrastinating and dreading starting a huge project- I am going to set aside a few afternoons EACH month to update each child's photo book that's in progress so that when his/her birthday rolls around- I have to do minimal work to complete the book.

I need to finish Cora's book by the end of this month and I am going going to start my new "system" in February.  I also need to start, created and complete Charlotte's book and then I will be caught up until May when it is my daughter Celine's birthday. 
PHEW.  All of this for a silly book of pictures! HA!

If you are still reading- I commend you :) This is definitely kind of a boring topic and I writing this post more for myself- so I can have it in writing and OUT THERE so I can hold myself accountable to my new "system" of making these photo books!

In case you were wondering- I make my books on
Since I started making books 7 years ago, I have always used them and the quality has always been AMAZING.
They definitely are pricey though- and even if you use a 40%-50% off code- the books (depending on how many pages you have) can still run about $40. Which for us- having 4 kids- is quite an investment yearly.  
So in an attempt to save some money, this past year, I made my kids' books on using photo center.  Now- if you have read my blog for any length of time- you know how much I LOVE Walmart. I love their products and I have even had my Christmas cards made by their photo center the last two years. So- making my photo books using their photo center seemed like a no brainer (their prices, even without using a coupon is about $10-$20 cheaper). 
I created 4 photo books using's photo center this past year, following all the "rules" as far as fitting the pictures and the text in the correct space and that jazz- and when received the finished book- EACH one had multiple pages where words were cut off :(  
On top of that, I felt like the quality of the pictures in the book were not nearly as clear or as vibrant as they are when I use
The good news is-'s customer service is AWESOME and after calling the photo center account and telling them about my books- they refunded me for EVERY single book I made.  I decided I would put up with the mistakes made in the books and take the refunds.  While I was really frustrated there are multiple pages in each of my kids' books where words have been cut off- being refunded the total amount of the book definitely helped :)
So while I won't be using to make my photo books anymore- I greatly appreciate their customer service and continue to buy just about everything else from there!

Okay- so now is where I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!!!
Do you create photo books or photo albums for your kids? Or maybe you scrapbook or do something like Project Life?
Do you have a system for how you create them?
Do you have a preferred website for making your books/albums?

I would love any tips or suggestions you have on what has worked for you when it comes to being organized with all the wonderful pictures we take of our cute kiddos!!

And again, sorry if this post was took you on a trip to Snoozeville, USA. I appreciate you letting me ramble! HA!

Hope you have the BEST day!
I am linking up with these fabulous ladies today for Tuesday Talk!

 Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Christina at Waltzing In Beauty | Pinterest | Instagram
Michelle at Grammie Time | Pinterest | Instagram  

Whitney at Polka Dotty Place | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram 


  1. I love the Shutterfly books. Actually I pretty much love everything about Shutterfly. They can be pricey yes, but their quality is really good. I haven't made yearly books for the girls, although I wish I had. Several years ago I was into actual scrapbooking. You know with scissors, paper, lots of stickers and these incredibly expensive books. I made a couple and while I do love them and the memories of them, I can't bring myself to bring all that stuff out into my kitchen and make a huge mess! haha And the girls would want to "help". haha I've made a couple of shutterfly books for grandparents, and one for Brian for a fathers day gift. So I highly recommend Shutterfly as well.
    Have a great day, Justine!

    1. Hi Johannah! I have always been SO impressed by people who scrapbook!!! I made my dad a photo book for Christmas (using Shutterfly) and it turned out SO good- he loved it! Hope you are having a great week!! :) Justine

  2. I need to get on this! We went on a family trip cross-country five years ago and I still haven't organized the pictures!

    1. It is always so hard to get the process of uploading and organizing the pictures started- but once you get going- the photo book comes together pretty fast! Good luck!!

  3. Justine - I do the same thing!! It does get a little overwhelming, but I love having these yearly books since I really don't print out pictures and I hope it is something they will treasure forever. I used Snapfish --- so I am just hopeful they will have the same books/designs for at least 12 more years!!

  4. I love this idea, and really wish I'd started when my girls were younger! I visited with my Nana over the Christmas break and she gave me two rubbermaid tubs (yes, the huge tubs you use for storing holiday decor/off season clothes) FULL of photos of me as a kid. Now, seriously. It will take me ages to sort them all. And I realized, for my kiddos, their photos are all on computers! I'm going to commit to making photo books for them, so when they're grown and come to visit me, I won't be handing them 40 pounds worth of printed photos, LOL :)

  5. I commend your efforts and accomplishments in the photo department!! I have one kiddo and one on the way and I'm behind on her photo books. No great excuses, I just keep putting it off. My new year's goal is to get it done and ready to go by the time little brother arrives. I've used and loved Shutterfly and I appreciate the hearing your experience with Wal-Mart. Good luck on your monthly mini goals & thanks for linking up with us this week :)

  6. Hi Justine I really enjoy your blog and your sweet little family! I am a stay at home mom of 3 boys and I am crazy far behind on photos as well!!! Do you have a camera that you love? Do you mind sharing which one it is? I am in the market for a new one. Thank you for all that you share :)

    1. Hi Kendra! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!! I use a Nikon D3200 with a Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35 mm 1:8 lens. I have had my camera for about 4 years now and I love it!

  7. This was not a snooze fest it was very inspiring. I only have 3 kids and I don't know how you do it. I'm going to try to get caught up with yearly books I think I'm 4 years behind!

    1. You are so sweet Joanna!! Sometimes when I get going on a topic I tend to ramble- HA! It is such a BIG task...but one I think is so important! Even if my kids don't appreciate having yearly photo books from their childhood- I LOVE it. And I will just keep their books if they don't want them! HA!

  8. I just made one of these photobooks for my daughter's first year! I love your idea for going at it month by month. Hopefully I can keep up with it once baby #2 gets here!

    Mariah @ Faith & Fashion

  9. I do a yearbook for our family every year and with picaboo i make a big book for me and hubby and small 5x7 little ones for each child. It has helped me reduce stress so much because everyone gets a book we give it to them late for Christmas gifts. Also I work and update the book every Sunday night while the kids are doing movie night and it has been so fun and not overwhelming for me when I update it slowly through the year. Just in case this helps😄

  10. Heather! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I love the idea of having a "specific" time each week that you work on all of your pictures and photo books. That is such a great way to keep it not an "overwhelming all at once" task!! Thank you!

  11. I also use Shutterfly to make photo books for our family. I like to make one book for each year for the whole family. I am definitely a few years behind! I installed "This Life" (a Shutterfly app) on my phone and computer. This automatically uploads the pictures to Shutterfly. I am hoping this will give me some motivation to get started. It is definitely a time-consuming process. Good luck with your books!

  12. My wife is obsessed with Shutterfly. We also have a photobook for every year of our two children's lives, plus all holidays and anything else she can think of. It is so easy to find codes for free ones, too. She has joined pampers gifts and coke rewards just for those codes. She finds them on Facebook, too.

    Joey @ Amerika Link


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