Wednesday, January 6, 2010


A few years ago, when my son was born, I decided I wanted to do scrapbooks for my kids. I quickly learned that it takes a lot of time and a lot of supplies. I completed my son's first year and started on his second year. My daughter's first year book isn't even close to done. This is both frustrating and discouraging.

One of the biggest challenges was handling the pictures so many times. First, I had to go through all of my pictures from the year and select those that I wanted to print out. Then, once I printed them, I had to put them in order, which turned out to be more challenging than I would have guessed. Then, I had to work with the pictures to crop them and lay them out on the page. I spent time cutting paper and taping it all together. Then, I would journal (in my not so great handwriting).

I tried to scrapbook at home, but the paper, books, pictures, and tools seemed to take over the dining room. I would go to weekend scrapbooking events, but found that I was too social, talking with others and reminiscing as I flipped through pictures.

The costs seemed to be high too. I had to buy the book, the pages, the papers, the stickers, etc. I had to pay to print the pictures and fees for attending weekend scraps.

Then, last year, we made photobooks online for our parents at Christmas. We had them printed and I was very happy with them. It was after that that I decided it would probably work better for me to do my scrapbooking online and print the books. Sure, there was some loss of personal touch, but I was still the one assembling the pictures and providing the thoughts through the journaling. Initially, I thought that the costs might be high, but when I considered all of the other costs I had with making paper scrapbooks, I decided they weren't that far out of line.

Certainly, my experience making the books for Christmas showed me that it was a lot quicker than what I was doing with the paper scrapbooks. Additionally, I was handling the pictures less and as long as I named them appropriately, I could easily sort the pictures I wanted.

So, this year, as I went through the past 12 months selecting pictures for our parents book, I also selected pictures for our books. All of my pictures are in a folder and ready for me to upload.

Now comes the hard part. Who should I use to do my photobooks? I am looking for flexibility - who offers the most layout options both in arrangement as well as in number of pictures per page. Do any of the sites offer better options for journaling than others? Which books are high quality and value.

What has been your experience with photobooks? Who would you recommend? Who would you recommend steering clear of?

This question posed at the backwards edition of Works For Me Wednesday.


Buffie said...

For the last two years I've gotten my photo books at Shutterfly. I go with them simply because I already had an account there. Their selection of layouts is decent and the prices aren't bad.

If you watch around November and December you'll see specials for free photo books with different providers (you pay shipping). This is a great way to try different places without spending a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

I've also been happy with Shutterfly. They have a good selection and the books are a breeze to put together.

Deann said...

I'm in the same boat as you. I need to make two right now, so I decided to try KodakGallery and Shutterfly. I have coupons for both. In constructing the photobook, I like Shutterfly because they have the storyboard feature. But Kodakgallery allows you to zoom the pictures in the frame. Other than that, the tools are very comparable. Shutterfly seems to have better backgrounds too, and they're a little cheaper. Now, for the finished product, I'll have to wait and see, but I've seen others who've used both and the quality is great both of them. Good luck!

Dawn said...

I have ordered photo books from MyPublisher online, and American Greetings PhotoWorks. Both books came out really nice, although I like the finished product from PhotoWorks better. Photoworks was considerably more expensive though at $56 for a 20 page book! My next places to try are Shutterfly and Viovio, both of which I've heard really great things about. So... I don't know if I helped but I gave you some more options anyway. =)

Anonymous said...

If you use a Mac, the Apple iPhoto photobooks are gorgeous. They're, not surprisingly, a bit more pricey, but I love them. The best part is that you can do all the set up on your own computer. I work on mine all year and then order after their birthdays. I used Snapfish for the first two of Ben's and those are good, but I really like the Apple ones better.

Wander said...

I've used Shutterfly, CVS, Walgreens, and Snapfish!
The best?
Shutterfly! Hands down.

Next? Walgreens, then CVS!
The books I made with Snapfish were horrible! The pages had huge streaks on them from some weird ink of some sort.
I was given a chance to redo....but decided not to. I didn't like them that much!
It was a gift item and the joy was stolen after opening it up! :(

Olivia said...

Definitely, definitely, definitely
Read about it on an old blog of mine
I love them!

Olivia said...

I looked briefly at MixBook. It looks like blurb has their prices beat hands down, but I don't know about the quality of the books. It might be worth trying it several different places.

Michelle said...

I love MyPublisher! I've also heard wonderful things about Blurb.

Jennibell said...

Shutterfly by far is my favorite. To be fair, I've never used any of the publishing software though and bet that is the very best. I say "no" to Snapfish too but don't count out Wal-Mart (I didn't see any comments about them here). I use them for really quick projects. . .sometimes not having so many choices is a good thing for getting stuff done quickly. Also, my friend is a Stampin' Up person and she is IN LOVE with their new publishing software. . .so if you know someone who does that it may be worth a try. I also watch a blog where she does a page of digital scrapbooking A DAY to share. E-mail me or send a msg through my blog if you'd like the link to take a look.

Kristen said...

I have to second! LOW LOW prices for crazy moms like us who need to do a high volume book. I have started to just do one book for the whole year, I started 2009 this weekend & hope to finish it up this coming weekend, then I get the finished product in like 2 wks. LOVE LOVE LOVE them!