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How I make photo books

Lots of you have sent me questions about photo books after seeing them in my bucket list posts, so I thought maybe this warranted a separate post.

What’s your favorite photo book company?

I used to scrapbook, but I kind of lost interest in it/lost time for it when I started blogging.

So I switched to making photo books, using Groupon for MyPublisher.

I made at least 15 books with them, but then they got acquired and eventually closed their doors.

I’ve tried a couple of photo book companies, but the one I’m happiest with is AdoramaPix.

adorama pix

I’m kind of picky about print quality, and AdoramaPix delivers amazingly crisp and sharp photos.

I thought My Publisher was fairly good, but once I tried Adorama, I was blown away.

Not only are their prints great, their book design is very sturdy and built to last.

adorama pix spread

AdoramaPix isn’t nearly as inexpensive as, say, Shutterfly, but to me, it’s worth it to spend a little more for a better product.

Also, Adorama often runs sales on their books, so I just make mine and then wait to order it until I see a good sale.

Anyway, if you aren’t as picky as me, services like Shutterfly will work just fine and you’ll save money.

Also, I’ve seen my friend Beth’s photo books from Blurb, and they looked great.   So, that’s another option to consider.

How do you organize your photos?

I use Lightroom for organizing and editing, and I import my SLR photos into a new folder each month.

This makes it very easy for me to find photos and also ensures that I only have twelve new photo folders each year (June 2018, July 2018, and so on).

If you have folders labeled things like, “Justin’s birthday” and “camping trip”, you are going to have so much more trouble when it comes time to put your photos in a book.

Use month folders, people!

The ones on my phone are automatically organized into months and years, so I don’t do anything special with those.

How do you go about choosing photos?

I look at one month at a time, or if it’s a month with oodles of photos, half a month.

I go through first and delete any photos that are unusable (eyes closed, blurry).

Then I pick my favorites of the ones that are left and edit them (crop, color correct, and adjust exposure).

I usually pick a few more than I think I’ll need, and I export them from Lightroom and import them to AdoramaPix.

Any other tips?

Don’t shoot for perfection.

I often remind myself that a finished photo book is way better than one that’s just a draft.

I don’t have to include every photo, every photo doesn’t have to be perfect, and I don’t have to produce a book that Adorama would use in their marketing materials.

I just need to get it done!

It’s not like I’m making a photo book for clients; I’m recording our family’s history. Some spreads will be really beautiful, and others will be rather random collages of photos.

Practice makes perfect.

Or at least progress! My first photo books aren’t nearly as good as my more recent ones because I learned a lot of things along the way through trial and error.   You’ll get better at this the more you do it!

photo book spread.


I think that covers all the questions you guys have asked so far! If you’ve still got questions, leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to respond.

Also, if you have a photo book publisher that you really love, share in the comments and help your fellow readers out.

P.S. My Publisher is no longer around, but this post I wrote has some helpful tips that can be applied to any photo books.   I really wish I’d read tip #3 when I made my first book.

P.P.S. You can get free shipping on all AdoramaPix orders $49+   so I try to make sure my book is large enough to meet the $49 minimum.   Might as well make one big book and not pay shipping!   Also, there are sometimes Groupons available for AdoramaPix, so check there.

P.P.P.S. You are still a good mom if you don’t make photo books.   It’s ok if it’s not your thing!

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David S

Tuesday 24th of December 2019

Do you still prefer Adorama? We're looking for best quality replacement for MyPublisher, which we used happily for years. Thanks.


Tuesday 24th of December 2019

I do indeed still love Adorama Pix...but they changed their name to Printique. Still same company, though!


Tuesday 16th of October 2018

What size photo book do you use? And do you choose landscape, portrait, or square?


Tuesday 16th of October 2018

I usually do landscape, but that's totally a personal preference thing. And I usually choose something like an 8x10 or 8x12.


Sunday 15th of July 2018

I have used several companies (including my publisher, RIP) but often go back to Picaboo. They have groupons fairly regularly and do great books as well as Christmas cards and photo calendars. I make calendars for my mom and MIL with pictures from the year and give it to them for Christmas and it’s always a hit.


Friday 13th of July 2018

Thanks for your post. I, too have quite a few books made with My Publisher and I was so sad when they closed. I also have quite a few Shutterfly books. However, I recently tried PrinterPix, which I found totally unacceptable. I thought the software was totally not user-friendly and there was not a very good variety of page backgrounds, etc. I ended up just making a book with random photos so I didn't lose my Groupon. Now I'm working on a book with another company...we'll see how that one turns out. Fortunately, I have found Groupons, so that these try-outs haven't cost me very much.


Thursday 12th of July 2018

I have a question that’s kind of related to the whole photo topic. Do you use cloud storage for the DSLR photos you upload? Or external hard drives? I’m just curious where you store all the photos in the meantime before you make the books. I’m in the midst of transferring lots of photos over and was just wondering what storage method you prefer. Thanks!


Friday 13th of July 2018

Mr. FG actually built a PC for me that has tons of storage, and the storage is mirrored, so when I save something to the hard drive, it automatically saves it to another hard drive. That way, I don't have to worry about losing my photos, and I have plenty of storage.

But I know that's not an option for everyone, in which case cloud storage would be very appealing!

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