Making The Photo Book Of Love

by Karen Keller Capuciati

If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what a whole book of pictures is worth.

For some people, the worth is incalculable.  Let me give you an example.

Recently I met a woman who was creating a beautiful photo book filled with the memories of six best friends and first cousins growing up together.  The book was intended as a gift for one of the six who is battling cancer.  It starts when they were all young girls at the beach in Montauk, NY, and spans 53 years, up to the present with photos of them together with their now-grown children.  In between those two points, the book details the story of the wonderful life these six women shared — the history and specialness of their sisterhood.  The author has included captions throughout the clean, upbeat design for added personal touches.  It’s a beautiful tribute for a dear friend, filled with love — a gift all of the women will undoubtedly cherish.

Instantly I wanted to share this wonderful idea!  It’s a great gift for anyone, but an extraordinary one for a friend in need of some loving support.

Photos are touchstones for recognizing and sharing our lives with one another.  They have a transcendent personal power.  For example, when my father was in a rehab, recovering from one of his many hospital stays, I put together a collage of family photos on poster board to hang on the wall in his room.  I did not anticipate the emotional impact this collection of photos would have on Dad — he loved it to pieces and would proudly show off his family to everyone who walked into the room.

Photographs clearly have the power to elicit joy from many people, which is why the photo books are not only a novel and thoughtful idea but a lasting one as well.  Simply by uploading your digital photos into templates offered by various online resources, you can create a personalized photo book for someone you love.  With a few keystrokes and clicks of a mouse, you can create a book which can vary in style and format from mini soft-cover flip books to larger glossy hardcover versions, all of which can be printed, constructed and sent to your mailbox within a few days.

Most of the online resources for making photo books have similar offerings.  If you are working on a Mac, the most convenient option may be to use its iPhoto application.  Watch this quick video to see how to make a photo book with iPhoto.  I’ve used this process with great results and ended up spending only around $30 for a 8” x 11” hardcover book.  For those not using a Mac — or for Mac users who prefer to get outside Apple World — a quick survey of friends produced the following recommended websites:  Shutterfly, Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, Pinhole Press.  The prices are comparable among all these various options.

The process, for those who have not made a photo book online before, is basically as follows:

  • UPLOAD YOUR PHOTOS to the site you’re using.  Err on the side of including too many images.  You don’t have to use them all, but it’s easier to download them once and not go back and look for a pic later.  (All my photos are stored in iPhoto on my Mac, which makes it simple for me to create a book with the iPhoto application.)
  • SELECT “MAKE BOOK” and then select the type of book you want to create from among the various choices involving size, design theme, and hard or soft cover.  There are visual representations of each design theme, ranging from travel, watercolor, modern lines, family album, etc.  You can usually change any of these selections along the way, so don’t be worried about making irrevocable decisions.
  • DRAG PHOTOS INTO TEMPLATE.  It’s as simple as click on the photo and drag it into the template.  Even easier, most sites have an auto-fill option, which populates the book with all of your photos.  From there you can move photos around, and add subtitles, messages and captions.
  • SELECT “BUY BOOK” when you are done and fill in the usual shipping and payment information.  You can expect your book to be shipped within the week.

It really is easy.  Finding the time to sit down and actually do it seems to be the hardest part.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to express yourself creatively, and it’s bound to make the recipient extremely happy.  Even if it’s just for yourself.

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