These are a few of my favorite things!
Hey Everybody! Today’s post is an especially exciting one for me because it can apply to e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. This is something anyone can do- even kids (with the help of a parent…)!
Still wondering what came in the mail for me today? Here she is!
You may already be familiar with this, but for those of you just now tuning in, welcome to…. Shutterfly.
Shutterfly is an online tool that helps you upload, organize, and edit your photos into a beautiful, custom-made book… that will then be published and mailed directly to your house!
Note: I am not being paid to advertise for Shutterfly, nor is that my intention here. Shutterfly does not know that I exist outside of the fact that I give them money every so often.
Also Note: Shutterfly is not the only program available that does this. Read on for other options!
No matter which company you use, the idea is the same:
GET THOSE PICTURES OFF YOUR CAMERA/PHONE/COMPUTER AND INTO YOUR HOME!
Now, before I discovered the wonders of Shutterfly, I had my own way of displaying photos in albums… the good ‘ole “print and stuff” method. The end result? A wonderful, but heavy vault of life memories.
Above: An album I made of Mitch and I from when we first met, up until graduation.
Below: My own journey from freshman through senior year at Eastern!
Below: Mitch and Leslie during freshman year…and graduating together in 2012!
Above: Now these albums have a home in our spare bedroom/ office. Although they turned out great and were fun to make, they do tend to take up a lot of space.
In the end, as much as I loved putting these together, it became a bit more of a process than I could keep up with… enter, Shutterfly. I have done a few Shutterfly books so far and they have been some of our favorite additions to our house. Here’s why:
1. Our pictures don’t disappear. It’s no secret that we live in a digital age. This is all well and good because capturing photos and memories has become that much easier! However, I have SO MANY files on my computer filled with photos that I never look at because they are not available in an attractive or accessible way. After awhile, I forget that they’re even there! Our photo books have helped us to begin to reverse this:
2. They are versatile! I have made albums for all sorts of things (a few of them are featured below). The sky’s the limit, here folks! Trips or vacations, baby or childhood albums, albums of your years in school or college, wedding pictures, a project from start to finish, etc.
Below: An album of our trip to Disney World!
Above and Below: The guest book we used at our wedding was an album of our Engagement Shots, mixed with a few blank pages and spaces for guests to sign. We wanted something that would allow our guests to get to know us a bit better AND be something that we could look at for years to come!
Above: To see the pictures from our Engagement Shoot, click here.
3. They make great gifts. We are currently working on a few smaller scale versions of our wedding album to give as gifts to our parents (Don’t worry, they already know about them, so no spoiled surprises here!).
4. The process is an easy one. Shutterfly has step by step instructions available. They also have options so that you can choose how involved you want to be in the editing process. If you want Shutterfly to do the majority of the work, choose the “Simple Path” feature. You tell them which pictures to use and they will arrange them for you! If you’re obsessive over every detail like I tend to be, just select “Custom Path” when you begin and you will be able to do all of the editing yourself. Either way, once you get the hang of it, the process is not difficult.
5. We can make it our own. There are tons of different colors, backgrounds, themes, and symbols (“stickers”) available to use! We are able to add our own personal touches to each book and have loved how they have turned out so far.
Below: Several different layouts and backgrounds to choose from.
Below: Add your own frames and “stickers”!
Below: Add a title to the spine to keep your books organized and easy to identify.
Below: Use your photos as full page spreads or double page spreads (this is a favorite layout of mine and one we use often in our books).
5. There are ALWAYS discounts available. My general goal in life is to do everything as inexpensively as possible. Don’t even get me started on thrift stores- that is an entirely different post and we don’t have space/time for it here. While buying the photo albums is a bit of a splurge in itself, Shutterfly is always offering sales and shipping discounts. For example, we recently got over $100 worth of merchandise for about $35 total, including shipping (free shipping!) and tax. Although I may be thrifty, I am willing to pay for these albums because they are unique to us and we were spending the same amount of money doing it the other way anyway!
Trick of the trade: Make your album and let it sit, saved in your Account until a good deal comes along. You don’t have to purchase right away- get those discounts!
6. Most importantly, They add a personal touch to our home. We have our albums on the shelf under our coffee table and pull them out every so often to look through them. Everyone who visits ends up picking them up to page through and we have found that they are great conversation starters! “Oh, you went there too! Did you do this? Or see that?” It’s a neat way for people to get to know us a bit better, in addition to helping us remember the memories ourselves!
A quick list of a few other features I love about Shutterfly:
- Your projects are always saved and backed up online, so there is no chance you could lose your work, should something happen to your computer.
- It gives us another location to back up our photos (actually two- online and in a hard copy book!).
- Shutterfly allows you to share your photos and projects with others online at anytime (I’ve had people look through mine to check for spelling errors, etc… thanks, Cheryl!)
Now, of course, there are many other programs that will do all of this for you as well, so shop around to see which you like best! A few off the top of my head are Snapfish, Mixbook, Blurb, etc. I can’t speak for the others because I have never used them, but I’m sure that they do a great job as well and have similar features to Shutterfly. (I am in the process of giving Blurb a try for a secret project I’ve been working on… to be revealed at another time. 🙂 ) The main point of all of this is not to find who does what best, but rather, to recognize what potential there is for storing and enjoying our memories!
Want to dip your toes in before jumping all the way? Check out our Shutterfly Share Site to page through a book. Like what you see? Give it a shot yourself!
I’d love to hear from you! Have you used Shutterfly or another similar source? What has been your favorite photo creation so far? Or, maybe you’ve been inspired to give it a shot? Leave a comment below- I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories!
With that, I’ll leave you to your travels down Memory Lane (because I know you’re on your way to dig out the boxes/computer files with all of those old photos). Happy Reminiscing!
PS. Don’t forget to check back in on Saturday… we’ve got a big post all lined up!
Update: See the aforementioned post here.