This post is sponsored by Shutterfly.
Growing up, we had shelves full of photo albums — huge, heavy things that held a ton of family photos from over the years. We’d pull them out and tell stories or “borrow” the pictures for everything from graduation parties to weddings to funerals. So many of those books have empty slots now because we either lost the pictures themselves or forgot which album they belonged to (despite my mom’s careful labeling of all albums and photos).
Thankfully, we can do things a bit differently now. Instead of big, heavy photo albums with one-of-a-kind pictures that can easily get lost, Shutterfly’s photo books are now our family’s go-to. In fact, my mom has been making Shutterfly photo books since 2010. (Her first one is the one with us all dressed up in ’70s gear for my brother’s surprise 40th birthday party on the cover.) She makes them to commemorate a special trip or birthday, or as yearbooks or to give as gifts.
Cherish The Memories: Shutterfly Photo Books
I joined her in making my own around 2012, the year Zack and I got married. I put our engagement photos together to create the guest book for our wedding, and I love looking back at all of the messages from that day.
When my parents had their 40th wedding anniversary, we surprised them with a book of photos of the two of them throughout the years, among stories and memories friends and family had written to them for the occasion. THAT was probably my favorite gift I’ve ever given…watching them read the messages from old friends and loved ones was absolutely the best.
Since then, we’ve made photo books of everything from Greenlea’s baby pictures to vacations and holidays (including pictures of mom’s Christmas newsletters dating back to 1984!) to family photo shoots. It wasn’t until we gathered them all together that we realized just how many we’ve made over the years.
But the one that stands out most of all was the book my mom made after my dad died.
Making a book all about Dad was a kind of therapy for her. His absence left such a void — and she filled it with looking through photos of him and reflecting on all of the memories they brought back. She lovingly pieced that book together, page by page, moving through her grief and treasuring every reminder of him.
She took four months to make that book. And every picture and every memory — while painful — allowed her to honor my dad and cherish the life they’d had together. (And now I get to share all of those photos and memories with my own kids.)
My mom said she “went a little crazy” (her own words) after Dad died and bought everything from Shutterfly’s mugs to magnets — even a pillow with his face on it. And Shutterfly is helping my mom once again: We just had to put down our beloved cat of 18 years (little Leo) the day before these pictures were taken.
I got Leo before I even met Zack. Mom would refer to him as her “grand-kitten” (met with eye rolls from Shana), and after my dad died, I let her take him. He’s been her constant companion since — a lifesaver during the lonely days of COVID-19, keeping her company in the huge space that dad left. Losing Leo has been really tough, so Mom almost immediately started working on his photo book, looking at pictures and feeling all the feelings and moving through her grief instead of around it. (A much healthier way of coping than some other options!)
I’m so glad Mom has been making photo books, because I haven’t had the time to commit to another one. I used to make photo books all the time, but somewhere between having Kid 1 and Kid 2 (Greenlea has a book of her baby pictures…Ozzie, not so much), it become a permanent fixture on my I’ll-get-to-it-someday list (despite the copious amounts of photos I have somewhere in the Cloud).
Thankfully, I recently got the opportunity to try out Shutterfly’s Make My Book service, and it is SO easy (dare I say life-changing??). I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to photo books, and I’d never tried its (free!) design service because I was worried it’d put pictures in the wrong spot or include blurry photos or the book would lack continuity…but none of that happened. The design was spot-on. I literally just had to upload the pictures and let Shutterfly do the rest. It was shocking how quick and easy it was.
For example, I had a TON of photos on my phone from our trip to North Carolina. And normally that’s where they’d stay until I wanted to show someone a pic, and then I’d scroll through pages and pages of photos to get to the right one. But, instead, they’re now in a gorgeous book on our coffee table that we can flip through whenever we want. I love this design service!!
I’m now back to making LOTS of photo books with the help of Shutterfly’s Make My Book service — um, did I mention it’s free?? (Ozzie might just get his baby book yet!)
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Photo credit: Vafa Photography
A HUGE thank you to Shutterfly for sponsoring this post! Shutterfly has LONG been one of our very favorite companies, and your customer service is absolutely the best. Amy, so much fun to shoot this one with you! And, readers, thank you so much for your continued support — it is so very much appreciated!
Hellooooo, Pin-lovers. This one was made just for you!