Sunday, January 27, 2013

Photo Books

I've changed my mind many times on how to organize all my photos. I was printing all my pictures, labeling them, and sticking them in an old fashion photo album. Then it got harder to find photo albums I liked (or ones that would hold the amount of photos I had). So I stared putting all the photos in a photo box. This works for storage, but it is much harder to look at them.
So I've finally decided how to organize my photos. I've been making photo books online! I'm so happy with my decision.
Here is how I do it.

First I upload all my pictures to Picasa. Picasa is where you can organize and edit your photos. It is owned by Google. It has a lot of cool editing features. Picasa is also what I use to make collages of photos (like my header).
screen shot of Picasa

To make my photo books I use My Publisher. My sister introduced this to me. It was her idea to make my parents a photo book for their 30th anniversary a few years ago. My Publisher may be a little more expensive than some other sites, but it produces a great product. When I downloaded My Publisher I did it through Costco's website. I got a discount on some of my books for being a Costco member. However, I do not see that deal on Costco's site now. FYI Costco members: if you go to the photo section of the website you will also get 20% of Tiny Prints (where I got my Christmas cards done) for being a Costco member. 

My Publisher is pretty easy to use. Once you download it and start on a book, it ask you a lot of questions before you start downloading the photos. I'll let you know how I make mine. 

When asked to choose between Simpler Publisher or Custom Publisher, I always choose Custom Publisher. This allows me to arrange the pictures how I want them, and I can put them on the page I want. Simpler Publisher designs the book for you. 

I also choose the Classic Hardcover (11.25 x 8.75). 

I choose the linen cover because it is cheaper, but there are a variety of choices for the cover. 

Once you have made all of these decisions you can now download your pictures. 
Do you see where it says My Pictures in the top left corner? That is where I store my pictures. When I download them to Picasa, it automatically saves them by the the date I took the picture (not the date I upload them). I just click on the pictures I want and drag them to the space below that box. 

Once all your pictures are downloaded, click on Make Book (bottom of last picture). You can also go back and add more photos any time during the process. Just make sure to hit save before exiting (bottom right of screen). 
This is an example of one of my books in the making. Above are all the pictures I downloaded. Below is the book I made. 
The Page Layout icon allows you to choose how many photos you want on a page and if you want a caption or not. Double click on the photo to edit it (turn or crop). 

The rest is pretty self explanatory. You can start a book and finish a few days later. Just make sure to hit save, or do like me, and don't exit My Publisher until you are done. You can preview your work before you purchase anything. It can take some time to make a book, but I think it is worth it in the end. 

I usually go for the cheapest options. However, you can pay a little more for the pages to lie flat, a cover to protect the book, or thicker pages. Once you click to make the book it may take a few minutes to move on to the next step. 

I love the finished product!
I've only made books for 2011 and 2012. I made two books per year. I've also chosen the neutral colors, but there are a variety of pretty colors.
I'll still print some pictures. But instead of printing hundreds, I'll print the ones I want to frame or some that are just really special. I save all the pictures on my computer. Then I'll take them off the computer and put them on an external hard drive. Then I know if my computer crashes, I'll still have my precious pictures. 

When I received my book, there was a code that came with it that allowed me to get $20 off my next book. Of course that $20 had an expiration date with it, but I was able to use it since I made all 4 of these books within a few weeks. I just waited for my coupon before I made the next one. 
I hope this can be of some help. Let me know if you have any questions or further advise on how to organize photos or make photo books.

*And please excuse any grammatical errors and/or sentences that don't sound right. I was finishing this up during a very dramatic episode of Downton Abbey.


  1. Looking at these is on my "to do" list when I see you in February!

  2. how do you print collages from picasa into a photobook. I like how i did my collages on picasa and want to put those into a photo book.

    1. I haven't made a collage and put that collage in the photo book. But if you are using something like My Publisher to make your photo book, then you could try putting one picture on the page, where your one picture is the collage. If that doesn't work then try choosing 5 or 6 photos for the page, and filling them with the pictures you used in the collage. Hope that helps!

  3. Good thing you discovered photobooks! Eventually, all those pictures you stored in a box would become a handful. Plus, it is not the best way of preserving photos. You have to consider about the temperature and possibility of moisture among other things. A book is relatively easier to keep.