Organize Photo Clutter by Creating Personalized Photo Books

by AbbyFitz

Tired of having boxes of old photos lying around? Do you have SD cards full of photos you've forgotten? Turn them into photo books so everyone can enjoy your pictures!

Most of us have old family photos stored in cardboard boxes that never see the light of day. Sure, a few of them are in albums, but those sticky pages become not so sticky as the years go by. Eventually your beloved photos will fall out and get lost.

Now that most everyone has digital cameras, Android phones, or iPhones, our memory cards and computers have become the modern day cardboard box. How many of us have memory cards full of photos that are stuffed in a drawer somewhere or have photo files stored on our computers?

Umm...I'm guilty!

It's a shame to keep family members trapped inside this photographic purgatory. They deserve to be front and center so they can be easily viewed. Let everyone get to know your Uncle Joe, Aunt Shirley, or even your favorite pet.

A few years ago scrapbooking became the hot new hobby. I'm a crafty person, but I could never get into it. I don't always have a lot of spare time, and it just seemed like a lot of work.

However, I discovered photo booking. I could upload my pictures to my computer and make a whole book in the time it would take me to make a few scrapbook pages.

My vacation and family photos have become actual books that I can share and even give as gifts. Instead of standing there, explaining each picture to someone, I can write captions in my book that tells my story.

Learn why you should make a photo book, and which photo book making websites are cheapest, have the most versatility, and even allows you to sell your finished product.

Let your Friends and Family Come Out of the Closet

Nobody can enjoy them if they're all in boxes.

Cardboard Box Full of PicturesDo you see that box to the left? That is only one of the many boxes of photos I have hidden away in my closets. After a house fire a few years ago, I vowed to scan my old photos that survived to make sure they couldn't be destroyed forever in the event something catastrophic happened again. Well, I've been bad and I haven't finished them all yet. Okay. Okay. I've just been plain lazy.

But I am staying up to date on my newer digital pictures I've taken. Instead of making prints from my digital camera, I've began making photo books. I think my books look so much better than an album or loose pictures because they look professional and I can write my own storyline.

A few years ago I began creating photo books for all of my vacations. I've designed them so my photo books tell a story from the beginning of my vacation to the end. On each page, I add interesting captions about where I was or what I was doing. When I show off my books, my friends and family like it so much better because they can see my vacation as it unfolded. It also keeps me from telling ten different people the same story. "Here I am, dancing on the table...."

Luckily, there's several online photo book companies out there that can help you use your photos to tell whatever story you choose. I've listed easy-to-use websites for the budget conscious, the control freak, and even those with an entrepreneurial spirit. 

Create Photo Books, eBooks, and More with Blurb

You can self-publish your own books and even sell them on their online bookstore.

Blurb booksBlurb is a photo book maker that can make more than just photo books. With Blurb, you can also create eBooks, magazines, brochures, notebooks, and planners.

Blurb is easy to use and has lots of design templates to choose from, which means that your vacation book this year will look nothing like last year's.

Also, you can upload your photos from various sources, which means most of us can stop procrastinating. All of our photos from Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr can be easily uploaded to Blurb.

Blurb is even built into Adobe Lightroom, so serious photographers can make a picture book using the software they already have installed on their computer.

Blurb is very user friendly. There are tips and tutorials that can take you step by step along the way if you're stuck, or even if you need a little inspiration.

If you're a fantastic photographer, an amateur writer, or even a blogger, you can use Blurb to self-publish your book. You can even sell your book through Blurb using their online bookstore.

Pricing for your photo book is dependent upon the size and style of book you create. The cheapest option I've seen is $12.99, and the most expensive is $76.49. There's a whole host of options and prices in between, so it's best to check out their pricing guide to see if Blurb is the right photo book company for you.

What Story Can I Tell with My Old Family Photographs?

The possiblities are endless, but here's just a few ideas to get you started.
DIY Photo Books
DIY Photo Books
DIY Photo Books
DIY Photo Books




  • For new parents, compile a photo book of Baby's first year for a cute gift for grandparents.
  • A book full of pictures from your parents' lives together would make a great anniversary present.
  • Put photos of a young man or young woman from birth to graduation into a book to make a memorable graduation present.
  • Assembling photographs of a deceased loved one into a photo book can make a touching present to those they left behind.
  • Did you enjoy a trip with a friend? Make a book out of your pictures and give it to them for a cool gift.

Most Inexpesive Photography Book Website: is affordable, funky, and international. offers the widest choice with the lowest prices. A bonus for those of us who have boxes of pictures to make into books.

Like Blurb, offers the ability to use pictures from more than just your camera. Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa pictures can also be uploaded. You're also able to create more than just photo books. You can also create personalized cards and calendars, as well as order prints from your digital images. also has a lot of fun and funky templates you can use to make your picture book. When you're there, be sure to check out one of my favorites: colored pencil shavings.

The beauty of Foto is that they are international. If you live outside the United States or you would like to send your personalized photo book to friends and family living overseas, delivers to 186 countries.

As far as photo books go, I've found this company has a wide variety of sizes, covers, all at reasonable prices. Their cheapest book is 12 pages and only $6.79. There are larger books that cost a bit more, of course, but their prices and options are still the best that I've found.

They have a really helpful comparison guide that shows the price, pages, size, and cover all on one page, which makes it easy to decide whether they're right for you.

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Snapfish: A Control Freak's Paradise

Speech bubbles, fun clipart, and customizable photo placement put you in control so you can make your book truly unique.

Snapfish LogoSnapfish has a lot of extras. A lot.

It allows you to do so much more with your photography books to make them look personalized and professional.

They offer something called embellishments, which is really a type of clipart that can be customized however you wish. You can add text to a speech bubble, to a medal, and to most of the clipart. You can also type in text directly over your photos, as well as anywhere on the page.

So many photo book publishers only allow you to use a template in which you drag and drop your photos into preassigned areas. With Snapfish, you can place your photos anywhere on the page and even rotate them to your heart's desire.

Snapfish accepts uploads from Facebook and Flickr, as well as from your memory card. Also, if you're not sure how your book will look once it's finished, it even has a print option that allows you to print your book out at home before you place your order.

Snapfish's average price falls somewhere between's and Blurb's, but it is still affordable. The cheapest price for a small book, which is what I would call party favor size, is $5.99. The average price of a mid-sized book is around $30. There are many sizes and prices available though, so compare using their pricing and selection list.

Four Great Reasons Why You Should Make a Book with Photos

Don't put your photos in a boring album. Get your creative juices flowing with a picture book!

If you haven't already made up your mind that you really should make photo books from your family photos, maybe these four reasons will seal the deal:

  1. Photo books won't stick to each other or deteriorate like traditional photographs will.
  2. When your photo books tell a story with your pictures, your loved ones can enjoy that story long after you're gone.
  3. It's easier to type in the names and dates on photos instead of writing on the backs. (which you shouldn't be doing anyway. Ink is acidic and eats away the paper over time.)
  4. They make thoughtful, personalized gifts.

So quit procrastinating. Take your shoe boxes full of photos, grab a scanner, and start making your DIY photo book!

Updated: 08/31/2023, AbbyFitz
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AbbyFitz on 06/02/2014

I know. Me too. There's never enough time LOL

ologsinquito on 06/02/2014

This is something I still need to get around to doing.

AbbyFitz on 05/17/2014

That's the problem. I'm so behind!

CountrySunshine on 05/17/2014

I have hundreds - perhaps thousands - of photos I've taken over the years. Some are in albums, while others are just stuffed in bags and drawers. I recently learned about photobooks, and think they are great! Now, if I can just find the time & money to create some!

AbbyFitz on 02/19/2014

Thank you!

ologsinquito on 02/19/2014

I'm pinning this one to our new Wizzley group writer's board.

AbbyFitz on 01/19/2014

You're welcome! You sound like me Mira. I take pictures ALL the time lol

Mira on 01/19/2014

I have many photo albums from the time when I used to shoot on film. I think photo books are a great idea -- only I will need to do some serious sifting, as I now take way more photos (and I took a lot back in the day, too).
I made an album for a friend once. It could be a nice gift. I know my aunt asked me for some photos of her nephews. I might do this for her. Thanks for the idea :)

AbbyFitz on 01/19/2014

Thank you!

AbbyFitz on 01/19/2014

Old photos can be fascinating

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