I loooooove a good scrapbook. I love a good photo album even more. A beautiful, well-organized photo album with captions makes me so very happy.
But now it’s confession time: I am terrible at both scrapbooking and creating photo books. I never even finished my second child’s baby book. The shame. Oh, the shame.
There’s good news for lazy/time-starved moms like me, though: technology has provided some pretty great workarounds. Yay, technology! Here’s a roundup of our favorite ways to put together a quick photo album or scrapbook of your kids that you’ll be proud to display on the coffee table.
Artifact Uprising does many different types of photo books, and they do them all very well. My favorite kind is the AU Instagram Friendly Book. Using their mobile app (free to download on iTunes), you can quickly and easily select 30-100 pictures from your Instagram account and drop them into a photo book. From there, it takes about three days for them to print the book, then they mail it to your door.
Books start at $17.99, and they are gorgeous. (In fact, I found out about Artifact Uprising from my friend who’s a professional photographer; this is the service she uses to print all of her personal albums. If it’s good enough for the best photographer I know, it’s good enough for me.) Here’s one I made last year:
The best part? It takes maybe five minutes to make and order one. I am not exaggerating, it’s that fast. I once made and ordered a photo book while waiting in a particularly long line at Starbucks.
You may have seen this one on Shark Tank. Groovebook is a cool little subscription service; for $2.99/month, they will send you a photo book of up to 100 photos from your iPhone every month. The pics are even perforated if you want to tear some out and give them away (to doting grandparents, perhaps?).
Uploading pics via the Groovebook mobile app is quick and easy, and the books themselves are little and very cute.
3. Any free blogging site + Blog2Print
Here is my ultimate time-starved-mom scrapbooking tip: start a blog for your kids. I’ve been keeping a Tumblr blog for my children since they were very small, but you could just as easily use WordPress or Blogger or any number of free sites.
I am not talking high-quality media and commentary here, friends. 90% of what I post is quickly-snapped iPhone pictures; I send everything to the blog via the Tumblr mobile app. And you know what? My parents and grandparents love it. They check it religiously. It’s a great way to keep relatives feeling connected to your kids, even if they live far away.
Now here’s the best part: once a year, I print the entire thing into a physical book using Blog2Print. There are several other services that let you customize a beautiful blog book (Blurb is probably the best, although it’s somewhat labor-intensive), but if you’re short on time, Blog2Print is your go-to service. It integrates seamlessly with Blogger, Typepad, WordPress, and Tumblr, so it will pull in all your posts for you and organize them into a book in under ten minutes.
The books are nice and big, and my vain, vain children love to look through them and read about the previous years’ adventures. Here’s the book I made in December 2013:
This also makes a great gift for family members.
OK, these aren’t photo books but they’re a surefire way to impress the grandparents. Ink is a mobile app that allows you to put your iPhone photos into personalized greeting cards, and Postagram is a mobile app that does the same for postcards. Both are inexpensive and very cool; a greeting card costs $1.99 and a postcard costs a mere $0.99.
Do you know how happy it would make your relatives to receive a personal photo postcard of your children? Seriously, how can you not do this, when it will only take you three minutes and cost you less than a cup of coffee?!
I just made this card as I was typing this post and shipped it to my grandparents, so now I’m feeling all happy and self-congratulatory. I will spare you the cutesy note I wrote.
All right, lovely friends, now that you know about these fun services, go spend under ten minutes making something cute involving pictures of your adorable children, then feel accomplished and impressed with yourself all day!
Erin and Heather