Does this kind of photo book exist?
August 2, 2019 10:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to get the hundreds of family photos on my phone and computer printed in hard copy before they one day disappear into the cloud forever, but I'm having trouble finding a photo book service that suits my needs.

Traditional photo books, like those printed by Shutterfly or Artifact Uprising, aren't what I'm looking for. I have too many photos and find that I get bogged down in the time consuming process of arranging them into fancy layouts. It never looks "perfect" and I just give up!

More importantly, I don't like that the photos, while off my phone, are now just stuck in one book. They can't later be taken out and framed, scanned, reprinted, shared, etc. (Totally open to hearing that I'm wrong about this kind of photo book, by the way. This has just been my experience so far!)

I would love to find a service that meets these criteria:
-High quality archival prints
-All in a standard 4x6 size (or other uniform size)
-That I can remove from the photo book (eg by tearing out a sheet or removing from a sleeve)
-Allows captions

Does such a service exist? The closest I've found so far is Groovebook. But it doesn't appear to allow captions and won't help with my backlog of photos from years past.

I realize I am trying to approximate the old, plastic sleeve albums of yesteryear, and perhaps I just need to get prints and put them in an album myself. But if there's a service out there that would do this for me, I would love to hear about it!

Or if you have another brilliant solution to storing and organizing hard copies of family photos, that's not insanely time consuming, I'd love to hear about that too!

Thanks, MeFi!
posted by lakemarie to Shopping (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I realize I am trying to approximate the old, plastic sleeve albums of yesteryear, and perhaps I just need to get prints and put them in an album myself.

I think this is your best bet. There are lots of online services that will print digital photos for you, but I've never come across one that would then put them all in an album for you. If that does exist, I'd think it would be pretty expensive, because they would have to pay someone to manually insert each photo into the sleeves according to your specifications.

For the caption issue, you can get photo sleeves with caption pockets.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:36 AM on August 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

You can also go to anyplace that used to develop film and have them print whatever size / format you want (you know, within the standards). I use costco. If you want something better, you can probably find a photo shop.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:54 AM on August 2, 2019

You could do this fairly easily with Blurb (using their downloadable software) if you're okay literally ripping a whole page out of the book if you want to frame a photo from it. I would put photos only on the right side so that you don't lose any images when you decide to remove them from the book.

My serious suggestion would be a two prong solution. Get a book printed with all the photos you love and then get the photos from the book *also* printed as 4x6's and keep them in an archival storage box.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 10:55 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I would probably consider photo boxes, rather than (or in addition to) photo albums or books for your purposes. A stack of photos can be just as fun to flip through as a photo album, and you don't have any difficulty with using the individual prints for other purposes.

In terms of captioning, do you need a caption on the front of the photo? Shutterfly and other services will offer 'backprinting' to allow you to add names, dates, captions, etc. to the back of your pictures.

There is also software that will allow you to add captions to photos, like Caption Pro (that's an example, not a recommendation). If you add the captions directly to the photo files, you can then print the photos as is, though you'll have to be a bit careful about proportions and cropping and whatnot to ensure you end up with a photo that is a printable size in the end.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:02 AM on August 2, 2019 [6 favorites]

I just designed a small, spiral-bound book totally online, today at 2 PM, and I had it in my hands by 3:30. Walgreens. You can do it from your computer or your phone. Get all of your photos onto one device, and then just sit there and drag and drop them. The entire process is online. You get to review tons of times before committing, then you just pay and go get it/them. Each is a glossy, nice photo that you can rip out and frame if you choose to. The price was right and the speed was very appreciated, as this was a very last minute brag book for a great grandmom whose birthday I had forgotten.
posted by the webmistress at 7:45 PM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

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