Creating Photo Books | My {Blurb} Family Photo Book Obsession


If you can have an addiction to pictures – I have one.

I’m always THAT person in every group setting who insists on taking a picture to document the occasion. Love me or hate me – it’s just who I am – a girl that LOVES photos.

Unfortunately the documenting process doesn’t end after we snap the picture.  Certainly as moms (aka the family historians) we all know that isn’t the case. There’s much more that goes into the process.

~ Snap it, upload it, save it in the appropriate computer file where it will be easily located when needed, crop it, edit it, edit it again, upload it to Facebook, publish it on your blog, save it on the external hard-drive, print it, send copies to family members (yes… via snail mail) and finally scrapbook/photo book it~

It’s no wonder most of us have a hard time getting past “Save it.”

Now if you’re looking for tips for steps “Snap it” – “Edit it,” Sarah shares how to organize your photos in her post, A Non-Photographer’s Guide to Organizing Digital Photos. But if you’re wanting to create photo books, read on my (blog-reading) friend…

Allow me to introduce you to my very favorite photo book resource – Blurb Photo Books.

Blurb is a free bookmaking software that has been a great way for Alan and I to capture memories on a yearly (or event) basis.   Rather than scrapbook or print hundreds of pictures and put them in photo albums ($$$$), our yearly photo books have proven to be an excellent way to document all of our family memories.

So here’s what I do…

Each year (around our anniversary) I sit down and start working on our photo book that highlights the past year’s happenings.  With the previous year’s calendar in hand, I sit down at our computer and make a list of all of the photos and events that I’d like to include in that year’s book.  Upon completion of the previously mentioned list, I begin designing the book.

By going on their website you can preview books other users have created to inspire you in your own bookmaking. They have a ton of page layout/design options that assist in putting the book together in a professional and creative way.

And the best part is – the software is FREE & the books are very affordable ($20 – $50).

They are a wee bit time consuming. I’m not going to lie. But, when the mailman drops off my book each year I couldn’t be any more school-girl-giddy.

Some other photo book ideas include ::

  • Yearly Books for each Child
  • Vacation Books
  • Wedding or Shower Guestbook with pictures and blank space for guests to sign
  • Family Cookbook ** I did this once for Christmas… holy moly is it time consuming but everyone loved it**
  • Instagram Books
  • Personalized Notebooks

Of course there are plenty of other book ideas and other photo book software and printing companies (My PublisherMixBookSnapFish or Apple Photo Books… just to name a few), but Blurb is our top pick.

Check out Blurb Photo Books today!

So friends, am I missing anything?  Do you have any experience with creating photo books?  If so, what tips can you give readers who would like to get started making their own? 


  1. I like that you sit down with your calendar first, even before going through the year’s photos. I think that would be really good for me – it’s like when I open up iPhoto I get sucked into nostalgia-land and forget what I went in there to do. 🙂 I compulsively organize my photos on the computer, so the good news is I’ll have no trouble finding photos to use for each month/year. But the hard part for me, I think, is choosing which pictures, what events, how to group them on the page, how to lay out the pages. Layout is really hard for me when I have too many options – I almost need a set template to force me to choose the photos to pop into it. Any advice? Also, do you always do a full calendar year per book? Or do you ever make event-specific books like about a vacation or something? I so want to do this! Thank you for the post!!

    • Love that you organize your photos so well!

      There are a couple of different options when deciding which photos and how many photos to include in your books….. I generally tend to be very selective (so for example – I’ll use 3-5 photos total for a quick little weekend trip highlight) but Joy on the other hand isn’t as selective. Which essentially just means she has a much larger book at the end of the year.

      In terms of your questions…

      – Template Advice – I work primarily off of 1,2,3,4 and 5 photo templates. That will limit the amount of options you have. But again – I’m more selective and like things to look pretty clean and simplistic.

      – Yes – I’ve always done full calendar year photo books. However, I have done newborn pic books for both of the girls where I include my maternity pics of that pregnancy and their newborn pics.

      – At this point I haven’t done an event-specific book however I think it’s a great idea. I know my mom likes to do scrapbooks for each of their yearly vacations. 🙂

      Hope this is helpful.

  2. Also, in case people aren’t aware, Costco photo books are SUPER cheap. Not nearly the design capability of Blurb, but if customization and design aren’t uber-important to you, or if you are on a tight budget, I’ve been really happy with the quality before. I have used them when we’ve had friends moving away and made kind of a “yearbook/album” of our time together – then the family can look back and remember/reflect on their time in AZ, even if the kids don’t remember it because they were babies…

  3. I love Blurb!! I have used the software for yearly books, our wedding guest book and vacation books. My mom also used it to create a cookbook for my wedding shower – best gift ever!

    two things I would add:
    1. I have made it a ritual to give a photo book to my husband on his birthday each year. So even when things are a little crazy, I force myself to sit down and create our yearly family book in time for his birthday.
    2. My mom has used Blurb to create children’s books for my son and nieces. She has created Silly Nana’s ABC book and Silly Nana’s 123 book. I absolutely LOVE these books, and can’t wait to see what she comes up with in the future!

  4. I love blurb too! I do a full-year book and then we take one big vacation a year so i do a separate vacation book. For the full-year book I like to go into blurb once a quarter and organize my pics. That way I’m not totally overwhelmed trying to create a book at the end of the year with 12months worth of pics. The first book I created was a little overwhelming but once I figured out what layouts I liked it has become much simpler. Also for someone who is not very creative you can be as creative or as simple as you would like. I also used blurb as a kind of baby book for my first son. For the introduction of the book I wrote milestones, things he liked to do, etc. Another bonus, blurb books don’t take up as much space as a traditional photo books.


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