Preserving Your Memories: Photo Book Options

After a special occasion is over, many people keep their memories from that event alive through pictures preserved in a photo book.

There are dozens of websites to choose from when making photo books, but scrapbooking a personal album or hiring a professional photographer for the job are popular options as well.

Consider these pros and cons before making your decision.

Leave it to the pros
Specializing in bar mitzvahs and weddings, photographer Rick Fingerman is a firm believer in creating professional photo books. A disk of photos is likely to sit in a drawer, he says.

His Buffalo Grove-based business sends two photographers to cover every event. After the photos are selected, it usually takes two months to create a photo book.

The cost of the photographers and the professional photo book starts around $3,000, Fingerman says.

PROS

  • No personal time is spent on making the photo book, except for choosing the photos.
  • No guilt about a disk of photos sitting in a drawer.

CONS

  • Hiring a professional photographer is expensive.
  • It can take a long time to get a completed photo book.

Get digital
Of the many photo book websites out there, several stand out, including Shutterfly, Mixbook, MyPublisher and Blurb.

Shutterfly and Mixbook are incredibly easy to use, but sometimes their photo book quality is lacking. While websites like MyPublisher and Blurb are positively reviewed for producing professional-grade photo books, they can be more difficult to learn.

Standard size hardcover photo books are $25 to $30 on Shutterfly, Mixbook and MyPublisher. To make a similar photo book on Blurb costs about $30, but can include up to 40 pages, while the other sites max out at 20.

Nancy Forrest of Park Ridge chose to make a photo book with her daughter’s wedding photos online with Apple because it’s easy to use and the price was right. She spent several hours on the photo book, and it cost $20.

PROS

  • Prices are affordable.
  • Less time is spent making the photo book and waiting for the finished product.

CONS

  • Quality might not be as good as a professional photo book.
  • If you’re not tech-savvy, website tools might be difficult to learn.

Do-it-yourself scrapbooking
At Stamp, Scrap n’ More in Mundelein, owner Peggy O’Connell says how much money and time you spend on a scrapbook really depends on the person.

Some of her customers spend $300 to $400 on supplies and spend months working on a photo book, while others spend much less and make a photo book in an afternoon.

Most recently she worked on a scrapbook of her daughter’s wedding with her daughter and granddaughter. The 51-page photo book took five days of hard work, but making the scrapbook has become a memory for O’Connell’s family as well.

For someone who doesn’t have the time to scrapbook, O’Connell says she’s an advocate of “hybrid” photo books—albums made online that have added scrapbooking decorations like ribbon or buttons.

PROS

  • Spend as much or as little money as you’d like on supplies.
  • The scrapbooking process creates memories, too.

CONS

  • Supplies costs can add up.
  • Depending your work pace, it could take a long time.