Creative Photo Book Gift Ideas

by Kara Posted on December 05, 2011

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The holidays will be upon us soon. If you are like me, you are discussing with your family about Christmas gift giving. Are we doing the $10 gift game again, drawing names, etc.? My family has grown to include so many people on both sides, I feel I might need take out a home equity line of credit to finance my gift list. Enter Shutterfly’s amazing photo books. A small time commitment + some creativity up front = Voila! Ahuge payoff at gift giving time. I traditionally give one 8X8 copy of the book to each family to share. That comes out to an affordable gift that has a great deal of thought, love and time included under that beautiful shiny hard cover.

The books have been, and still are to this day, treasured gifts. Here are two ideas for photo books that I created using Shutterfly’s custom path. These books do not require any design software or preparation other than to upload your photos and get crackin’.

My first photo book I called “The Barkmeier Christmas”. I sat down and wrote myself a list of all the things I love about fall, winter and the holidays. I then composed the list in verse to tell the story of my experience growing up with my family on a farm in South Dakota. Then, I dug through my old photos and started scanning. I found the perfect picture for each part of the poem and ended up with something I was very proud to share.

Here’s  link to the book in the Gallery

The next year I strove to be even more creative. That first book was hard to top. Then it came to me. “Wouldn’t it be fun….”, I thought to myself. “To make my own I Spy book?”

So, I set to work. I quickly collected a bunch of old photos and scattered them on the floor. I placed in childhood memories and trinkets then used my SLR to capture this layout for the cover of my book. This approach saved me scanning time. The rest of my photos were digital. So, I decided to create collaged with a theme like costumes, snow days, eating, Birthdays, summer vacation. One more visit to facebook to snag photos of family from their albums and I had more than enough to build some photo collages. I added a riddle with about 4-5 objects to find within each spread. When the Christmas gift giving began that year the books were a hit for young and old alike!

Here’s a link to the book in the Gallery:


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  1. AnnAbbott Says:

    What a great idea to bring back the wacky photo and crazy family memories with the I Spy game. You re clues could be from wonderful family stories and adventures to match with the photos.

more about Kara

A South Dakota girl at heart, my husband’s career takes us all over the country. I’m not complaining, there’s just that much more to see and photograph. I made my first Shutterfly book for Mother’s Day 2007 and the moment I saw the emotion, appreciation and love in my Mom’s eyes, I was hooked. As a Speech Pathologist, my work is speaking and critiquing. I am very grateful that at the end of the day, “A picture truly is worth a thousand words”. I can open up the world thru my lens. That’s powerful stuff. And, I think I’m in love.

View all articles by Kara »

  I would recommend this to other readers.