Go BEYOND photos for your next photo book

I save things. Little, nostalgic scraps of things. Ticket stubs and cocktail napkins and handwritten notes. These things are tucked all over my house – in boxes, in drawers, in scrapbooks. And when I first discovered Shutterfly photo books I’ll admit I had reservations about making the switch from traditional scrapbooking. After all, Shutterfly is “just” photos, right? Wrong!

One of my favorite tricks in creating photo books is to find and collect those little extras, use a scanner to get a good quality image, and upload them to my Shutterfly project just like a photo. In just minutes, I’m able to round out any photo book story with that perfect finishing touch. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Baby Book – There are a million firsts with a new baby. Why not scan in those tiny first footprints from the hospital or that precious face you met on the ultrasound film? You can even capture baby’s birth certificate or an image of the announcements you sent to friends and family — these are all things your child will love to see in his baby book someday.

Wedding Album – Your pre-wedding planning reminders and “to do” list? That sweet, handwritten note your hubby gave you before the ceremony? Save The Date cards and invitations and your wedding license and the write-up from the newspaper? Include them! They are all part of the story that is your wedding.

Vacation Memories – Did you finally take that dream vacation to Europe? Scan your passport to capture each and every stamp. Scan the Playbill from the play you saw on Broadway last fall or the Game Day Program with that prized autograph of your little slugger’s favorite player. These details should be included right there with your vacation photos!

Year in Review – The possibilities are endless on this one! As the year unfolds for your family, there will be many opportunities to collect memories to include in your annual photo book. Be sure to save birthday party invitations, Kindergarten diplomas, movie and concert ticket stubs, baptism certificates, and favorite art projects. Years from now you will be thrilled you took the time to tuck each of these little memories into your book.

Holidays – Alongside family photos from Easter, Thanksgiving, or Halloween — be sure to save memorable Valentines, favorite Christmas cards, letters to Santa and traditional family recipes. These things will truly complete your holiday photo books.

I know it sounds crazy, but photos aren’t everything. And they can’t always tell the whole story. So when you sit down to create your next photo book — think beyond the camera. Think about all of those scrappy, little memories that might just be the perfect addition to your photo book.


  1. Joey says

    I’m so glad you wrote this article. Any photobook is a scrapbook, just digitally done. I love the idea of scanning in love letters, baby foot prints, certificates, passports. This is awesome and very helpful!
    Thank you for sharing

  2. Earl J says

    I enjoy blogs like yours so much. It is packed with practical information and you present what will be new ideas for a lot of readers. Thanks for producing this.

  3. says

    Another great way to get images of those special momentos and you dont have a scanner is take a photograph it. I have taken digital pictures of tickets, kids art work, covers of books, hand written poems ect… I have even taken a picture of a picture.

  4. momto2girls says

    I love these ideas! My only question is: then what do you do with all the actual memorabilia when you are done scanning them? I love my scrapbooks because they are a place to store the items (things like autographed playbills, my girls’ hospital bracelets from when they were newborns, etc). These are things I wouldn’t want to just pitch.

  5. BarbaraJ says

    My sixth try to post!
    I think this is an amazing idea. I have so many momentos that are in boxes and I could make a great book added with photos. Thank you for this article.

  6. jennyjo.maldonado says

    i love this.. i save EVERYTHING!! and have hat boxes full of stuff.. do you think shutterfly will ever offer pockets in the photobooks? even if just on the front or back cover.. while i will scan and use your tips i still love to have the real thing there too :)

  7. shannonr says

    the photobooks can be so versitile and used in so many different ways. I ahave used the photobook in a few different ways myself, I reproduced my sons handwritten babybook you get and any big box store into a shutterfly book (i scanned in or took pictures of ideas that would go into the regular baby book). I have created a book of my dads racing history by scanning in old newspaper articles and i created a whos who photobook for my grandmother when she was diagnosed with Alzhimers. I just received my sons “school” book i created of all his artwork, this was a huge hit and he loves looking through it to see all that he accomplished throughout the year.

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