Parker & Jolie's Year ONE Photo Book Tutorial

Two words: Baby Book.  
Stress me out.  
I used to be a scrapbooker.  In other words.. hoarder of paper assortments, cut outs, crickets, embellishments, tape, stickers.  
You get the point.  
I spent hours on end scrapbooks.  Jordan and I have a scrap book for each year we dated, and then another for our wedding. 
Our wedding guests signed this scrapbook.  
I was into it.  
Reallllyy into it.

I always said that I would make to biggest and best scrap book for my baby (read: singleton).
6 months into the little birds' life and I hadn't touched the books I got for them.  whoops. 
What I had done was documented every move, drool, coo, and diaper (practically..) via this blog.

Enter Shutterfly.
Photo book of their first year was the logical solution to my baby scrap book-less life I had going.  

After this post and a {hashtag} WIDN picture on the 'gram (masseya) I've had quiet the interest in these books I created for Parker and Jolie.  
I surely don't mind sharing- I am pretty proud of them, actually.
They took me what seemed like forever- but as a consolation, I am a perfectionist.  
The girls' first year scrap books would have taken me 7 1/2 years to complete.  
..and you think I'm kidding.  

So- where do I start, Shutterfly?   I hadn't a clue where to begin, which layout to choose, how to design it.. but first things first.  I had to get organized.

Two things..

1.) Figure out your own personal theme you are going for with the book as a whole.  I focused on the highlights from the girls' first year.  Major milestones, events, and monthly photos.  I knew I wanted to include the letters I wrote to each of them on the blog every month- so I made sure I had the space.

2.) Figure out what pictures you would like to use.  I organized my pictures by month and event, so that when I was ready to put them in the book it didn't take me as long as it would have if I did it while I went.

..and actually, let me add a third point here:
3.) save, save, save, SAVE your work. How many times was I cussing out the computer (wait- I don't cuss.) at midnight after losing three pages of 'work' due to an accidental click off the page, or page error.  Save it.  Save it, again.  and then again.

Picking your layout.
Shutterfly is organized by theme, which makes it easy to find what you are looking for based on life event.
For Parker, I opted for the 'Year of Firsts' theme found under 'Baby'.  I chose the 8x11 photo book option- which is their best seller.  I think it is the perfect size!  But they have lots of size options to choose from based on your own personal taste.
For Jolie's book I went with the more trendy theme:  Chalkboard Chic. This photo book theme was 'Storytelling Style”.  For a flat $4.99 you have access to unlimited amounts of embellishments and backgrounds.  Worth it.
Go for the StoryBoard.
Once your layout option has been selected, its time to load your pictures!  I start in the Storyboard option of the layout.  All I'm focusing on at this point is getting the pictures that I want on the pages that I need them on.  Keeps me from getting distracted with all the embellishment options.
Get the photos in the book and organize them the way you want them before adding any kind of design element.
Hit Save Changes in the top right hand corner and the pictures are loaded once you revert back to the Custom Path page (that looks like this one.) When I started Parker and Jolie's book I opted to do one 'spread' (2 pages) for each month and then add the highlights in between.  The right page was for the letter I wrote to them and the left page was for the monthly photos.
Add embellishments. 
After you choose a layout style, there seems like there are hardly any embellishments or options to make it 'pretty'.  I was halfway through Jolie's book (my first book) when I realized that I had more options!  In the far left hand side of this screen shot you can see: get more stickers.  

Thousands of stickers!  Options are endless:)  Shutterfly will allow you to save up to 100 stickers to your option page.  Once you reach that point (which I did!) you can delete ones you've already used to make room for others.
The 's' next to the sticker means that it is included in the 'storytelling' option I selected for Jolie's book.   Don't let that fool you.. I was able to select these stickers for Parker's book even though it was not a 'storytelling' themed layout.  Once I had selected enough of them, I got this message:
For other options on the background- the same process is done here as you did with the stickers.
Choose your background.
These background options were only available for Parker's book.  Jolie had the chalkboard theme, so the color options weren't as plentiful.
Picture layout. 
There are a million ways to layout your pictures!  For the pages with the letters I chose the 'text' option, and for the other pages with pictures, I was able to choose a layout based on how many pictures I had added via the 'storyboard' option in the beginning.
You are also able to add/delete text boxes where needed- if you wanted to add or remove text.

Now it is time to design away!!  

Details | Parker Jane 
The title page.  Jolie and Parker have very similar welcome pages in the beginning of their book (same picture)
I used a lot of the same pictures for milestones that Parker and Jolie met together, but included pictures of each baby individually to make their book extra special.

 Parker's "Favorites" and letter from momma. 

The Fall Family Photos page and the pages covering their Winter ONEderland birthday party are the same in both books. 

Details | Jolie Grace  

 Jolie had a spread about overcoming torticollis through PT.  I was excited to record this accomplishment for her to look back on. 

When you are ready to purchase your book- make sure to proofread.  Let someone else look it over.. and make sure your dates, spelling, and pictures are exactly the way you want.  Once you've placed your order with Shutterfly, you have 30 minutes to cancel/change your order before its sent to print.  Such a small window of time!

When it came time to add my book to the shopping cart I had lots of options for completing my book.  One of which is the page orientation.  I opted out of the lay flat pages for the additional $30.00.
What I did opt for is the Matte Finish of the hard cover of the book as well as the Clear Memorabilia Pocket.  This sticks one the inside cover (back or front- your choice) and can hold keepsakes.  I put things like their hospital bands, and hard copies of their birthday party invite and birth announcement.
Ya'll.  I am totally in love with how these turned out.  I can't stop looking at them- over and over, and over again. 
I was completely lost in how to go about getting started with this- and hopefully this helps to answer questions you might have about starting one of your own.  I know for a fact there are about a bazillion options/companies when it comes to making a photo book- and this has been my- rather good, mind you- experience with Shutterfly.  

If you have any questions- feel free to email me or leave a comment (with an email attached) so I can respond!  I cannot respond to the 'no-reply blogger' comments. 

Good luck!

*this may look like a sponsored post but I assure you Shutterfly has no clue who I am. I bought this product to use for myself and in now way was I compensated for using Shutterfly. 



Kristen Terkelsen said...

These are PRECIOUS! I'm inspired to make one for my Avery Grace for her year of firsts....which is coming up way faster than I ever expected. Why babies grow like weeds, I'll never know. :)

Sarah Tucker said...

Friend! You did SO good! those are amazing!

Amanda said...

Love these! I use Shutterfly for everything! Holiday cards, Invites, announcements, and even did our wedding guest book with our engagement pictures. My son is 9 months and I started his baby book through Shutterfly when he was about 3 months old! It is time consuming and hectic sometimes but I love mine so far! And thank you for some of the pointers that I didn't know about. Like the story book layout and option! I hope the finished product looks just as good and yours!

Lisa Odom said...

LOOOVE Shutterfly books! I sure do wish it was around when my three girls were little. I too am a huge collector of scrapbook supplies - not so good at finding the time to actually put them to use. I am on the east coast - and getting ready to get snowed in. I already had planned to work on my family's 2013 book. Your books are precious!

Brianne Bracco said...

So sweet!!! Love this idea to capture all the wonderful first year memories. You did such an adorable job putting it together girly :)

Sara Neisslie said...

this is soo perfect!! I can't wait to have little ones so I can create a book on Shutterfly :) Thanks for all the wonderful tips! I love reading your blog. I have even featured you in my blog with your WIWW posts, I changed it to What I Wore Weekends to share where I get my outfits!

Kristina said...

Your disclaimer is hilarious because they SHOULD be reimbursing you for bringing them in more bizz ;)

I lovelovelove your books! You did an awesome job and the girls will love them so much and appreciate them even more when they are older. I have loved Shutterfly and using their Christmas cards, their free prints they always give away, and other good freebies like Calendars! Hopefully you're on their emailing list to get all that good stuff now :)

Chrissy said...

After reading this, I couldn't help but use Shutterfly for our honeymoon pictures! It's so much easier than cutting out pictures, buying stickers, etc. I can't wait for ours to arrive!

Yvette Cavazos said...

LOVE THESE!!!! I wish I would've wrote letters from the beginning, but we're at month 6, I will start!

The Geeks said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)

Josie said...


I know this is an old blog post, but I stumbled across it while I was looking up things about shutterfly. You mentioned that you used a lot of the same pages for the two books, were you able to save them somehow, or did you just have to recreate them?


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