Best Thing Ever: Making Photobooks

Blurb Wedding Photo Book

We were the people who turned down the wedding album option from our photographers. Partly we did it to save money but also we did it because it seemed like it might be kind of a fun project to take on ourselves. When you're in the midst of planning a wedding, see, pretty much everything sounds like a fun project to take on yourselves, either because you're currently immersed in about fifty other fun projects so heck, what's another one anyway, or because the fun project in question has nothing to do with your current wedding preparations and thinking about a fun project that has nothing to with your  current wedding preparations---thinking about having time for a fun project that has nothing to do with your current wedding preparations---is like stumbling thirstily through the Mojave desert toward a mirage of a frosty glass bottle of San Pellegrino. Which is to say, magnficently alluring.

But then we got married, got our wedding photographs back from Erin Hearts Court, and did pretty much nothing with them for seven months. Whoops!

And then I had a trip to London coming up, and I wanted to make photo books for both of my grandmothers, one of whom couldn't make it to the wedding, and one of whom could but probably still wouldn't turn down an album of pictures of it to show her friends at bridge club or wherever it is that grandmothers go. (Actually, mine goes to yoga. I know! But look, she's 82 and she looks like this, so it must be working.)

I did a little research---by which I mean I polled Twitter---and asked what the best resource for photo books was. The four most popular recommendations I got were Blurb, Snapfish, Shutterfly, and iPhoto. I had a look at all of them and liked the sound of Blurb the best: I could make a 7x7 square book with a soft cover and up to 40 pages for $12.95 (I ended up coming in at 40 pages exactly. Hey, might as well get what you can.) Plus, I was won over by the flat rate shipping: I'd pay the same amount whether I ordered one book or five. And since I was ordering three, it seemed like a good deal (I got one for my mother as well; thought she'd like to have it in her handbag and whip it out on request, considering we were going to be traversing the length and breadth of Britain visiting friends and relatives.)

Man, it was a good choice. The software was really easy to figure out (even for me, and I am not historically very good at figuring out software) and I am not ashamed to say that I became a little addicted to making my photo book. When it arrived, I had a brief moment of "whoa, it's smaller than I thought!" but that's pretty much my fault for not being able to correctly picture a 7x7 square in my head. Regardless, it was a perfectly nice size.

This is what it looked like when you were laying it all out in the software:

I had a lot of fun playing around with different template options. I could either squeeze a whole bunch of pictures on one page...

....or just fill each one with a really, really big photograph and be done with it:

I played around with mixing black and white in the layout:

And then I did a couple of pages of solid black and white:

Most of all, it was fun to pretend like I was the the photo editor at Vogue and had to choose the right images or risk having Anna Wintour leave a three-day old chicken carcass on my desk with a note tied around its neck saying "You're Fired." 

Making a photo book was curiously satisfying and I was actually pretty impressed with the quality of this one, especially for twelve bucks. My next big project is to put together an actual proper wedding album for the two of us---I'm going to splurge and choose a much larger size, thicker paper, a hard cover, and more pages---but I'm thinking that none of us should probably hold our breath on that one, you know? Maybe I'll have it done by the time our first kid is in college. I said maybe.


Balkan Girl Down Under
May 19, 2010



You did a fantastic job, Holly. And they're such gorgeous photos...!

Also, your post has me excited about my impending nuptials which are, as of tomorrow, exactly SIX MONTHS AWAY - eep!

kim at allconsuming
May 19, 2010

Um, us over here? Married in October 1997, so coming up to the 14th wedding anniversary. And the photos? Still sitting in an envelope. Yeah.

Lea Chan
May 19, 2010

When you make your wedding album, please post about it. We also have decided not to order the albums from our photographer to save a bit of money. I am curious to learn which websites/vendors offer the best wedding albums in terms of value.


May 19, 2010

oh, thank you for helping me make up my mind. I spent 3 months in Argentina and have been slacking on an album for a very long time. your beautiful album was great motivation!

May 19, 2010

LOVE the photo book! I use Shutterfly for my books and have been really pleased with how they have turned out as well.

May 19, 2010

These are gorgeous!

My second wedding anniversary is next weekend (!) and we still haven't ordered any pictures!!! I've been wanting to do one of these for a long time now, maybe I'll finally get to in soon after the anniversary. I'm sure my mom would appreciate it!

May 19, 2010

This is brilliant! I've used shutterfly to make a calendar but that's about it. Now I know what I'm doing for Father's Day.

May 19, 2010

We are celebrating our sixth anniversary this weekend. And we STILL haven't made a wedding photobook. (whoops!) Maybe I should bookmark this entry.

May 19, 2010

Oops.. I commented & then when I clicked save it said page not found.. odd. If this is double post sorry!

Just read this review last week of a bunch of different photo book printing services. It's really in depth!

May 19, 2010

I'll have to check that site out, I've been thinking for a while I want to make my sister a book of our world travels together since she is the one who always prints out our photos and makes me an album. Her birthday is June 10th so I guess I should get started if I want to make one by then.

May 19, 2010

I used to love making photo albums...I loathe the term "scrapbooking," because I wasn't about the embellishments. Plain black paper, stickies, opaque white ink - that's it.

These are gorgeous...

May 19, 2010

p.s. And that font! I simply love that font on the cover.

(I am surprised that I've become the kind of person who would gladly spend her money on fonts.)

Nothing But Bonfires
May 19, 2010

Thanks! That font is called Feel Script and we used it all over the place in our wedding: on our invitations, programs, signs, you name it. I kind of wish everything in my life could be in that font.

May 19, 2010

I just finished my wedding album after 5.5 years and a set of twins. Doing it myself did not save me money as I ended up hiring it out and micromanaging the project to the hilt. Now, to get to the baby books in time for said twins first birthday.

jasmine lew
May 19, 2010

Could you actually specify the font you wanted on the frontpage of your book?
your pictures are gorgeous. I love how the blue stood out so well...

May 19, 2010

Yes! I did our photo album from our wedding in Blurb. I did the big book. It is AWESOME! I knew I wouldn't love what a stranger did nearly as much as what I could do. I agonized over that thing and it was completely worth it. We now do yearbooks each year, and we did books of our honeymoon and a couple other things too.

May 19, 2010

Oh and our front cover is a similar faceless shot!

May 19, 2010

man, I still covet your dress! So pretty, all of it.

May 19, 2010

I went to a photo lecture where they handed out coupons for a free Blurb book, worth up to $35 bucks or something. But you only had three weeks to make it.

Turns out you can "slurp" (I believe that's the word they used) your blog into one of the books, including the photos. I did a fair amount of tweaking and adding photos and so on, but it was sort of fun and it was awesome to have a paper copy of my blog from the year I lived in Spain. My grandparents and troglodyte dad finally got to read all of my blog posts, too.

May 20, 2010

Ooooh, new comment format? Optimistically chiming in from Cupertino to say "Good job, Holly!" The formatting looks great, and yes indeed your mum *will* appreciate having her own copy so she can flaunt her daughter's gorgeousness and extremely handsome husband to far-flung friends and family :-) Well done!

May 20, 2010


May 21, 2010

love love love it! We're doing the same thing- I've made a few books using Blurb before and it's so fun!! Depending on how organized I am, I think I'm going to make our guest book as well :)

May 22, 2010

I have made a number of photobooks through Iphoto so handy! I compiled all the pics from one of my holidays to Japan into a book. And instead of giving my brother a wedding present on the day, I took photos of the wedding and made it into a photo book and gave him a few copies - very cheap & convenient option as the photographers always take so long!

Jun 01, 2010

Your photobook looks amazing - like something out of a Martha Stewart magazine only with more delicious caramels.
BTW, in case you're interested in finding just the right place to make your photobook, here's a compare and contrast of a whole bunch of services/websites:

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