Advice for First Time Photo Book Makers

by Lara H Posted on January 03, 2010

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Many people I talk to are intimidated by making their first photo book. They think you have to be ‘creative’ to complete a photo book project and don’t believe they hold the keys to success. Well, I’m here to tell you that anyone can complete a photo book with Shutterfly because we’ll help you overcome the obstacles and fears you may feel when approaching this task.

“I don’t have the photos.” If you’re reading this blog, you have some digital photos and probably a lot of photos to choose from. Selecting the pictures in a book is the first step to making a photo book, so decide if you want to do a day’s adventure fishing, a week’s vacation at the beach, or a whole year in review. Spend some time (not a lot) reviewing the pictures and copying the ones you want into a distinct album on Shutterfly for easy access and review.

“I don’t have the time.” Getting the pictures on the pages of the book is what can often take the most time. Shutterfly has two ways to take care of that for you. With Simple Path we’ll put the photos in the book for you by laying out the pages chronologically in seconds. You won’t believe it until you see it! The layouts can be quickly edited after the initial book is laid out for you.

If you want to take a more ‘do it yourself’ approach (but first, please try Simple Path), then use Custom Path and try our Storyboard™ tool (available in the pages view, below the save button). This lets you easily organize your photos onto pages and spreads, then lets Shutterfly find the best layouts based on your choices. You can always tweak and modify the pages after.

“I don’t know what to say.” I am someone who after dozens of books still can get hung up on the words that go with the pictures. I don’t tend to say a lot but even the few works I have don’t come easily. If you’re like me, don’t stress about the words, just note the important memories like the people and place in the photos. If more ideas come to you, great, but otherwise, don’t worry about filling out a caption for each page. The pictures will tell much of the story for you.

If you need any more convincing, check out these two books in the Gallery. RondaL4 succinctly sums up why you should get over your fears and try making a book – it’s about preserving the memories of “all the things we enjoy”. And I couldn’t have said it better than BobbiJ about what will happen when you get your first book in the mail – you’ll “love to sit and look at the book over and over.”

Make a new year’s resolution to create your first photo book (or second or third) and put all your great memories and special moments in it – then share the book to Gallery so you can inspire others.

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  1. Joey Says:

    Great article! At my Shutterfly party, they were all new to making books but were intrigued and I did get a lot ‘I’m not creative enough”. Some did have traditional scrapbooking backgrounds. Once they saw the books in their hands, that inspired them to do more. My first book or first few weren’t very creative, but the more I did, the more books I viewed to get ideas, the more ideas I came up for my own books – half I still need to do! The creativity comes the more you do these. I like what RhondaL4 said & BobbiJ too. I love my books, they may not be the ‘greatest’, but they’ll be in my family to pass down for generations.

  2. Earl J Says:

    Really nice, easy to understand instructions with fine photos illustrating the process. I’ve poured over the many templates that Shutterfly offers when doing my books, but I’ll try out the Storyboard when I work on my next book, and hopefully that will be later this week.

  3. AnnAbbott Says:

    These are great jumping off points Lara! When people ask me where to start, I always say pick just one topic like a birthday or day at the beach, ECT… I let them know that if you go with the idea of less is more and use close ups or crop into the action of the photo you wont even need to put captions. As so as I sit down with someone and I so them these easy rules before you know it they are telling me how they want things and they are on their way! And another Shutterflyer is born!

more about Lara H

By way of introduction, I’m LaraH. I’m a long-time customer of Shutterfly (beginning in January 2000 with the birth of my first daughter) and now an employee (since mid-2004). I’ve been making photo books since we launched the product in June 2005, but in that time it has evolved from a work responsibility, to a hobby, and dare I say passion. Most of the books I make revolve around my children and our family journeys, so I thought it was a fitting way for you to get to know me better to see “ My First Photo Book.” http://community.shutterfly.com/gallery/post/start.sfly?postId=/gallery/1/post/GMGDBgyYNGLdg5ZgLl7Adq. It’s the story of my daughters’ first few years, told mostly through pictures.

View all articles by Lara H »

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