Simple, high quality photo book service (please help!)

So I always thought I would be that super organized and creative mom. The one who makes calendars every year, sends out Christmas cards with the perfect photos capturing our year, and makes an amazing photo book each year containing our favorite photos. Fast forward to me now--frazzled, sleep-deprived, and ashamed to admit that I never even made my first child a baby book! I have devices full of photos (we never quite got our act together for those professional family photos) and my almost 8 (!) year old daughter cherishes a plastic photo book I purchased from CVS and put 10 pictures in for her 5th birthday celebration at school. :(

I'm trying to get an early start on a birthday present for her and to hopefully get things together and start creating photo books for our family. We take so many photos that we never look at! I have a few months and I'm thinking if I can go through a little bit each night I can pull this off. My question to you wise BPN community, what would you recommend as an easy to use online service to create simple and beautiful photo books? I'm imagining I will slowly go through all our photographs pulling my favorites and have a spot to dump them into that will miracuously create a book from this. A collage style is fine but something simple (no quotes, flowers, etc).

What services have you used and loved?

Better late than never...thank you!!

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

I personally love Mixbook, and they usually have great deals (40% off promo codes). They have pre-populated themes and I’ve made an assortment of photo books from pregnancy, baby’s first year, and family trips, and they’ve all turned out wonderful!

I was in the same boat until earlier this week!!

My kid is walking and talking up a storm, and I only have one photobook from when he was a baby to show for it. The thousands of photos on my phone, ipad, cameras, are all still there, but so few are printed. I *used* to be a big fan of Shutterfly for calendars, fridge magnets, etc for the holidays, but had some negative experiences this year and the costs for everything and shipping have gone up to more than I'm comfortable with (for what I feel like are it's drawbacks), so I'm moving away from them. I recently discovered Pinhole Press. Their interface is much simpler. I made a memory card game in about 30 minutes (including time spent looking for the right photos, which took most of the time). I only started making a photobook last night and I'm almost all done. I'm just waiting for a coupon code before I drop it in the cart, haha. They don't have all the bells and whistles like Shutterfly, but it definitely feels less overwhelming and easier to create stuff on there. Good luck creating memories!

The simplest interface I have used is Mixbook. I highly recommend their website. The books are also very nice with good photo quality. Good luck! 

Please don't beat yourself up.  Really.  You can be a terrific parent without a baby book or organized photos.  We never had baby books for our kids.  I managed two albums for the first few years of parenthood (that was the 90s, no digital cameras), then nada.  We managed to do holiday cards.  But never, ever, did professional photos.  And you know what?  Our kids, now grown, are awesome.  

That said, I did pull together a great photo book for my mom using Snapfish last year.  The site is pretty user-friendly and intuitive, you can add text, and the quality was really good.  

Totally use google photos.  Just download the app to your phone.  You can then view photos from the app (it looks at your device folders on a phone, or via web, you can easily drag over your photo files).   It's SUPER easy (one click) to add photos to an album - we created an album for each year of life, as well as major things (Ex: newborn photo shoot; family photo shoot Christmas 2018, etc.).  From an album you can click a single button to create a photo book and order in just a couple extra clicks.  Google usually has discount promotions and free shipping going on.  Shutterfly may have a zillion freebie books but the app is a ton of work (IMO), and then they send crazy amounts of spam to your inbox and via snail mail.   This has been the only sane way to easily order photo books to our non-digital grandparents when juggling two careers, commutes, and a child with special needs.  I will note that we have Google phones and are fluent google users and neither of us have ever had a non-work iPhone, so YMMV if you're a big iPhone user and an iCloud ordering service could be your version of this kind of streamlined ease.  Good luck!  You've got this, mama!  Such a thoughtful, wonderful gift I'm sure your daughter will treasure!

I've had good experiences with Mixbook and am not at all crafty/artistic/on top of things!  It will even create books by default with whatever photos you throw in (or for a fee a live human will do a better job), but I tend to pick a cover that I like then customize the layout of the pages to cram in more pictures than their defaults suggest.  

I’ve used Shutterfly, they look great, and there are always coupon codes to make them reasonably priced. 

Hey mama! I hear you— in the same boat over here. I have had a good experience with Chatbooks. If you use social media (I have a private Instagram account where I post pics of my daughter for family and close friends), you can connect Chatbooks to your account and they will automatically propagate a new book with your photos. It’s not the highest quality pics (iPhone to 6” square books) but it gets the job done. The auto fill feature doesn’t work as seamlessly for me because my husband and I take many more pics than I post online— but you can go back and add them in manually too. I think they’re having a sale now too. :)

Artifact Uprising, hands down! I dump my favorite photos from every trip into their interface and enjoy their beautiful linen covers, gold foil, and excellent customer service. Everyone I know uses them for family books, gifts, and they even have a baby book should you want to attempt this retroactively. You will feel inspired, creative, and supremely talented after making one of theirs. ;) 

I've used Shutterfly for years.  You can make your book any size, any style, as simple or complex as you like.  East to upload photos from your computer.

Hello!

I’ve made many photo books through Shutterfly. It’s best to download the free app and sign up. Everything is in your account. I just made a photo book of my sons trip to London. It’s pretty easy. And they are easy to reach if you have trouble. I’ve made books off my phone and iPad. Try it!

I just used MPix to create my wedding album (5 years after the fact) and thought there service was pretty simple to navigate, however a few of the photos may have been slightly over saturated. The book is gorgeous and the paper is super high quality. No one else notices the color issues, but I do.

After doing a little more research, I'll probably use Artifact Uprising for a baby book next year. Good luck!

I highly recommend Snapfish online service. Many options available for photo books (size, pages, fonts); good quality color and resolution (of course based on your original art); easy to upload jpgs, save drafts, reorganize and edit. And they are fast with production and delivery. There is often a discount coupon for substantial savings. Although I make my own vacation scrapbooks, I have found this service to be superior for all-photo books. And did I say easy? (Btw, I had barely started on baby book for #1 when #2 arrived - that was the end of that.)

Hi, I use Shutterfly for this. I make an annual (sort of) photo album, and I've ordered Christmas cards and other photo products. They have an option where they make the book for you, and I think you can edit it if you want; I make my own and select the pictures and layouts for each page, but that takes more time. I think they also have a phone app where they'll just take pics from your phone and make a little album. Worth looking into. Quality has been great, and they have options like lie-flat pages if you want to spend more for better quality.

I think Shutterfly has the easiest interface for photo books. They do have a lot of embellishments, but you can also select simple straightforward styles. They also tend to have a lot of coupons throughout the year. The least expensive option, however, is Costco. You can purchase good quality and inexpensive photo books through their online photo center, but their interface is not the most user-friendly. If you want something very simple, I think it could still be a good option, but if you want to do anything creative with the layouts, Costco is not the best option. Hope that helps!

I second the Chatbooks recommendation. They are super easy to create—they let you either subscribe to series where they create books automatically from your favorites (or social media), or you can make one-offs. They have a very easy-to-use app, so you can put the books together on your phone. The layout options are very minimal but I like that—fewer choices = easier design process. Quality is medium but they are pretty inexpensive which means I don’t worry about the kids playing with them all the time! You can reorder anytime too.

What great replies--I learned a lot, and want to add one other point from a recent experience.

I did a special book for friends--ordered the top of the line leather binding from Snapfish--and was very disappointed with the quality--leather but cheap looking, and the prints weren't that great --Costco has MUCH more impressive leather album covers--although I agree Costco's interface is clunky.