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Creating Photo Albums and Photo Books

Taking photos has become easier and more convenient than ever before with the high resolution cameras available on cell phones. With this convenience, we also have a lot more photos than ever, and it can become overwhelming to sort through them all. I'd like to share my process of how to organize and print the photos I love.

First, I look through the photos on my phone, and any I want to print, I give a heart which sorts these photos into a "favorites" folder on my phone. So, if I have twenty photos of the same event or scene, I just pick out the very best ones. I don't need to print every single photo that's on my phone. That would be thousands of pictures, and I would never want to sit down, and look at that many photos at one time, it would be too many. I just want to print the favorites.

I use Shutterfly, but I am sure there are many photo apps available to order prints directly from a phone. I upload just the "favorite" photos into a new album on Shutterfly. I typically just use the date as the album title; so, I can easily find the newest photos I want to print. Then, I select all the pictures in that album to print. I print them all the standard size, 4 x 6 inches. And then, because the proportions of my phone's pictures are slightly different than a 4 x 6 inch photograph, I make sure they are cropped as ideally as possible. To do this, I just select a photo and adjust as needed in Shutterfly. Then, I place the order, and wait for my orange package to arrive in the mail. You could also order through places like Walmart or Walgreens, whoever has photo printing capabilities, and this maybe a cheaper route.

Once my photos arrive, I sort and organize them. The date when they were taken is printed on the back; so, I make sure they are in chronological order. Then, I look through them, and discard any that may be blurry or I feel are a duplicate. I don't need to keep every photo we've ever taken, that would be difficult to store, and time consuming to put into albums. Once I have narrowed down the ones I want to keep, I put them into sleeves in a photo album.

Once they are all safely stored in the album, I take some blue painters tape, and mark the best photos, the ones I want to include in a printed photo book. Seeing the photos printed in person before creating a photo book is very helpful. This allows me to see ahead of time if the photo prints well, and will look good replicated in a photo book. So, these are the photos that are beautiful, capture a favorite memory, or have a great story; in some way, they are special; the greatest hits of your photo album get a piece of blue tape.

On Shutterfly, like other photo sites, I can create a photo book. I start a new project, and select the photo book style I want to work with. I like the Modern White style, and the 12 x 12 inch size book. I get the hardcover and the deluxe lay flat pages. These pages are thicker than regular pages and feel like card stock.

The 12 x 12 inch book is a large book, and I can fit multiple pictures on each page. Single pictures print out massive on this size book; so, keep that in mind if you are looking for a different look.

Then, I can easily add photos to my project from the pictures I have already uploaded from my phone onto the Shutterfly app. I refer to my printed photos I have marked with painters tape, and add these to my photo book project. I recommend letting the site automatically populate the pages of your photo book with photos you wish to include, and then, you can adjust and rearrange as needed. This just makes the process go faster.

So, it will automatically arrange similar photos together and chronologically. Then, you can go through and rearrange or edit out more photos that are duplicates, or pair pictures together that feel like they compliment each other. Play around with the different layout for each page, and the number of pictures on each page, until you are satisfied.

I like to arrange the photos and then take a break for a few days, and then, come back to it, and see if I am still satisfied with how they are arranged before I order the book. I also wait for sales. Shutterfly has 50% off sales regularly, and this of course prevents me from ever wanting to pay full price. I want to stress the importance of seeing the printed photos first as 4 x 6 photos before creating a photo book. I am always surprised at what I cannot see in the photos on my phone. Sometimes a picture is blurry, but this is hard to see when the photo is smaller on my phone. Or the colors are different from what I had expected, or the photo is dark, or I may find I prefer a different photo than the one I originally selected for the photo album. The photo book feels a lot more permanent. I can't remove a photo or add one after it has been printed. And I want these books to be as good as they can be. Maybe that's overkill, but I enjoy completing this kind of work, it feels satisfying when it all comes together.

Let me know your questions, and I would be happy to help. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy curating your photos and creating a book of your own as much as I do.

One more fun thing I wanted to share, I also include pictures of our pets at the end of each book. This was our last book with our cat Elvis who passed away in 2019. I think it will be nice for our kids to look back and see their pets from when they were growing up.

If you complete a photo book, feel free to tag me or message me. I'd love to see your projects. Have fun!

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