I love books, particularly when they have photos in them.

I do not have a very big house. The only thing I don’t like about that is my lack of wall space. But getting a bigger house for more walls seems silly, although I do consider it from time to time.

Photo albums are the solution to not enough wall space to display photos. I make gorgeous albums for my vacations containing all the beautiful photos I take with my fancy camera, these don’t come right away though. They have to make it through the editing process, which after a two week trip can be awhile.  I am still not finished with last summers road trip. The kids have been hounding me lately.

So I also make small ones containing the camera phone images that myself and my kids take. I am sure there are tons of places to make photo books, but I like to keep it simple so that it actually gets done. I also like it done very quickly after I get home from a trip.

For the last few years, I have been using Artifact Uprising for these books. I use this one for the same reason I use Social Print Studio ,  simple and produces a nice product. Their app allows me to connect to my Instagram or my camera roll. I have been known to create these on my way home, even in the airport. My kids have always enjoyed looking at the pictures from our trip and getting them back quickly always helps take the sting out of returning back to our normal routines.

Here are artifact uprising softcover books:


Yes, I was one of those people taking pictures of my food. It would be weird if I was taking out my DSLR and standing over my plate at every table (or maybe I should say it would be weirder). Honestly, we look back at this food book. The food was a huge part of our trip. The images below are from the book and are pictures of food from the gas station. I was obsessed with Italy’s gas stations. No roller dogs here! Fresh food everywhere. I have never wanted to eat gas station food before. And here I kept finding a reason to stop.


The larger three books are from Mixbook and Blurb, I go in more depth on those books in a post here. Plus you can see why it was the best camping trip ever.





You want to make a photo book, but you don’t know what to put in it.

I always loved catching my little kids picking up a photo book and flipping through. I might love seeing it more now that they are older. I even see their friends pick up a book and look through the images from preschool or 4 year old park district soccer, giggling over the images of classmates when they were tiny. They have sat for hours going through talking about what they remember or telling stories. The books get the stories started and then they keep flowing.

I have a miscellaneous book of 4X6 prints from wherever and anywhere, typically they are prints that hung on the fridge at one point in our lives. The majority of our books have themes or subjects.

When my kids were about 4 years to 6 years I printed out the park map in the back of the Des Plaines Park District book. When we needed something to do we would go to the next park on the list. Of course I took pictures and when we completed our park tour, I made a book showing each park in a two page spread. I used Blurb  who at the time didn’t have as good of a design program as they do now. I imagine it is even easier to use. They even have a mobile app now, which I have yet to check out. Here are the two books I made at that time:

Park Tour Hardcover Book
Inside Park Tour Two Page Spread

The other easy theme for me is vacations or short trips. One guess where this one is from:

Florida Vacation Book
Two page photo spread

On our way from Disney to Daytona we took a break and walked along a beach. It was intended to only be a break from driving but turned into an unplanned day at the beach with no suit or towel. And that is always a great part of the book to stop and laugh about.

This last book is from a camping trip. And it was the BEST. CAMPING TRIP. EVER. We spent three days canoeing and camping on the sand bar. As a family of three, we only packed one dry bag of clothing and one dry bag of sleeping necessities along with a cooler and a bag of food. That was it. My camera coming along was not an option. I relied solely on my Iphone. At first I was not happy about this but I ended up making a great photo book with it. I believe this was the first book I made with camera phone images and it worked out so well I have continued to rely on only my Iphone for many outdoor trips without being disappointed by it. I used Mix Book and it appears they now have a phone app as well. So I may need to download that and give it a try.


More photo book ideas for you to make:

Birthdays – Birthday parties – weekend trips – day trips – hiking – camping – favorite parks – best friends – halloween – any holiday – your favorite furry friend – your kids and their pets  – a walk around your neighborhood – preschool – class parties –

Don’t be afraid to leave your books out! They are made to be looked at. They are made to bring back good memories.

Don’t hoard your photos on your phone

I use my iPhone a lot. Why? Because it is in my pocket.

Sometimes it is honestly just because I am too lazy to go get my camera when I know the iPhone image will do just fine for this situation. Sometimes it is because I don’t want my camera on a canoe or by sand. Sometimes I would rather just enjoy the moment.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to remember the moment. After a camping trip or a day at the beach, around Chicago or on a canoe I must to print out something to remember our adventure. I started using Social Print Studio years year ago. What I really love is the app. That is the main reason I started using them. It was so easy I continued. They have magnets (I am a magnet lover) and photo strips (which make great Snapchat filter prints!) as well as framed prints.

Here are some of them on my fridge:


Because I only have so much room for magnets and prints, I make books. I will follow this up this post soon with some easy book making sites from your camera photos.

We  have photo books from every trip and vacation.

One Month Old Baby J – Des Plaines Studio

Baby Boy in the Studio at One Month old.

This little guy proves that it is ok to miss the standard newborn window of 7-12 days. For a variety of reasons, babies can’t always make it for a session between that time but Mom and Dad don’t want to wait for 3 or 6 months to document their new little angel. This time frame is just as important in their life. There are never any guarantees at any age that they will squish up and sleep angelically in any pose but after that early time frame of life it is more difficult. This little guy played for awhile and showed off some of his one month skills but he eventually couldn’t resist the comfy wrap and feel asleep for some sweet images.

Picking out her favorite images, Mom really loved the images with his eyes open and stretched out. It shows off his length and his beautiful eyes which are her favorite things to look at right now. Click here to see one of the collage frames his Mom choose for the hallway to his room.












Matted Linen Photo Album – Art Products

Technology comes and goes, but prints stand the test of time.

Prints are not lost on computers, phones or outdated digital storage.

This little guy will grow up with an album full of images from the first moments of his life.

Mom will show this album to guests who visit him during the first year.

At his first birthday Mom, Dad, Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents will look through this together reminiscing about how little his toes were.

At the age of 3, he will climb up on Mom’s lap with the album and look through the images with her while she tells him about his first moments with her.

At 6 Mom will catch him looking through it by himself quietly.

At 16, the friends he brings over will pick it up and look through it saying how cute baby J was and making him blush while also feel important and loved.

Click here to see frames from Baby J’s Session and here for more images






One Month Baby Collage Frame – Art Product

It can be so hard to choose the images a client wants to look at every day. But we did it!

The top frame will hang in the hallway that leads to Baby J’s room. His parents plan to add to this as he grows but this will stand alone until his next session. We had to make sure the image would look well alone and would also allow accompanying images as time goes on.

Mom selected the large image in the collage because it shows off his length and his gorgeous eyes, the top image because of his eyes again, the middle because she will remember how peacefully he sleeps and the bottom because he gave us a little smile. How can you not walk by that every day and not smile yourself!

The bottom image of Baby J and his Mom will hang in her room and will allow her to see how he small he once was for years and years to come. I think that may be the image she cherishes the most in 20 years.