The two topics that I receive most questions about (via Instagram’s Direct Message or email) are printing photo books and managing photo storage. Alas, a post that covers both in great detail is very overdue, but actually very timely, given that most people start to think about printing photo books at the end of every year. Plus, most photo sites have great discounts right now (50% off everything at Mixbook until 1/1/18 at midnight, 50% off everything at Shutterfly until 12/28/17 at midnight, etc.).
If you’re new to Snapshots & My Thoughts, then you may not know about my
love obsession with photo books. I started printing them in 2006, during my first year in college, and have printed many ever since. Beginning in 2010 (the year I graduated), I began to make an annual photo book in Shutterfly. I would pick a theme, but customize almost every page to my liking. Looking back at the early books, the designs are cringe-worthy but I absolutely love them. I would also print books for vacations and other special events. In 2013, I decided to do a photo-a-day book for Isla, which was quite the undertaking. I am so glad that I documented every day, because it’s amazing to watch her grow page by page, but with sweet Emilia, I am doing a photo-a-week, and you can see the transformation just the same (with much less work involved!). I will share these layouts below!
Every year, I would update the annual book at the end of every month, occasionally falling a month behind but always staying rather up-to-date. Well 2017 happened – a second baby, a busy work schedule and a husband who travels every week for week and alas, my fancy, customized-per-page Shutterfly book didn’t happen. Which I’m still coming to terms with, since I’m one for consistency and routine! I did, however, fall in love with another company in the transition.
I was introduced to Artifact Uprising a few years ago, as I used them to make our Christmas card in 2015. Last year, I decided to invest in one of their layflat books (which are pricier than Shutterfly, beginning at $179 for the 8.25×11 size that I love) for our family photos. Then in February, I chose to print Emi’s newborn photos in another layflat book and seeing the quality of these two ultra-thick, fabric bound books, I was hooked. I printed five layflat books total in 2017!
Fast forward to November 1st, I had this huge cloud hanging over my head: our annual photo book, which had two months of content in it, needed lots and lots of work (and time!). October through December are my busiest months, and I knew I couldn’t spend the time I needed to make the Shutterfly book I wanted. The obvious alternative was Artifact Uprising, as I knew if I couldn’t have ultra-designed, I wanted ultra-simple and white. I couldn’t wrap my head around spending $250+ on each book (I knew I’d need multiple books for how many photos I took this year). I decided to try their hardcover books, which begin at $79 for an 8.5×11 book. I chose the 50 page option, which allows you to fill 99 pages, and managed to get January through March photos included. Filling the pages went so quickly, and you can even chose auto-fill. I’ll go into detail on the uploading process below. I ended up having five books total, but could have done less if I had chosen to do the 150 page option for each instead (allowing you 199 pages) of 50 (allowing 99).
All in all, I am so in love with our 2017 annual photo books. It was not the cheapest option, but I used two Artifact Uprising coupons to bring down the cost (more on coupons in the FAQ section below!). I know that the interest in printing photo books is out there, as people always reply to my Instagram posts or stories saying that much. So, I pray that this post helps move you to action! Print those photos – whether that be prints or books. I love Artifact Uprising’s motto: Inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible. I stand behind that – if photos stay on digital devices, we are slowly losing the beauty of the tangible printed photos, which tell stories that generations beyond us can cherish.
There is a lot of content in this blog post. First, I’ll cover details on the books I’ve printed before: annual Shutterfly photo books, photo-a-day/week Shutterfly photo books,annual photo books using Artifact Uprising hardcover photo books and special occasion Artifact Uprising layflat photo books. This is probably my most personal post ever, as I’m actually sharing links to many of our family’s books. Let me tell you: when I made them, I had no intention of them ever being viewed by anyone outside of close family or friends, so they include very personal photos and details, but I really do want to help inspire people to make books, so I feel like it’s important to do this.
So, let’s begin!