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  • shannanmanton

My Collection of Photobooks

I've written about some of my recently printed photobooks so I just wanted to share my little collection.

Photobooks are a great way to document, particularly if you are a digital scrapbooker. I love how compact they are on my shelf and easy to flip through when compared to scrapbook binders with page protectors (which I also have and still use).

Being in Australia, I don't have as many options so I have always used Blurb and have been very happy with the results and the process. Once I upload and order my books, I am always surprised at how quickly my finished books arrive - usually within days. I choose the best quality paper I can (Premium Lustre is my favourite), however the number of pages is a factor in paper choice and my most recent USA Travel Book (HERE) could only be printed on the standard paper due to its size. I choose the hardcover image wrap option which allows me to put a photo and title on the front and it keeps the look consistent on my shelf.

I make my pages in Photoshop Elements, basically as scrapbook layouts, rather than use the templates available with the book printing service so I have full control. I set up my page to match the book size then save each completed layout as a JPG (I name my layouts by number so when I bring them into Blurb they will show up in the correct order eg PL001). There is always the risk of the edges being cut off when your layout becomes a book page (see below - the pink area is the warning area) so I am careful to keep important details away from the edges and include a lot of white space in the design. When uploading to Blurb, I then set my book's layout to a borderless full-page photo on every page so I can add my pages as I have made them.

Once a book is uploaded to Blurb, you can always go back and order more copies. This is a great feature - one day my kids might want to take a copy with them.

I have always found the price acceptable and my most recent book had a half-off Black Friday coupon. In digital scrapbooking, my main costs are ink, photopaper, page protectors and albums so I find the cost comparable.


My first Blurb photobook. I kept it simple and used some templates from Cathy Zielske (HERE) and Paislee Press (HERE). This is mostly photos and captions.

2015 PROJECT LIFE 12x12

I had made previous Digital Project Life projects before, where I used a Design A type template and sent my 12x12 pages to Persnickety Prints every few months and put them in an album with protectors (I have a post about my Project Life journey HERE). This was the first time I printed it as a 12x12 book and I loved the result. I used a simple template from Cathy Zielske (HERE) and made a weekly two-page spread. I fell very behind and was able to catch up quickly the following January because of the simplicity of the process.

2016 PROJECT LIFE 8x10

I needed a change from the Becky Higgins-style page protector Project Life after doing it for many years, so in 2016 I switched to an 8x10 size and made some very simple templates. I separated the book by month and included a monthly recap and well as a 'currently' type list of things we were watching etc.


This was my first Trade Book. It was a fun, me-centred project (instead of a family Project Life) and I loved making it. This is my first Commonplace Book although I didn't know that term at the time. It's filled with a hodge-podge of quotes, song lyrics, inside jokes, photos, stories, movies, TV shows and recipes. I really missed working on this book this year so I started up another one (see below).


My huge book from our last trip (HERE). This is a simple, photo-centric book with some journal notes in the back.


As I wrote in yesterday's post about this book (HERE), this started as a 4x6 minibook with binder rings but I soon revamped it to a 5x8 photobook instead. Loved working on this one and know that I will make something similar this year (and hopefully every year). It's a great place for the little stories that don't fit in with my other projects. I can make a page for this in minutes.

The 5x8 size is very close to a Traveler's Notebook size and that's how I'm going to view this project for 2019 - a digital TN.

So that's my collection. Looking through these projects has helped me to clarify my 2019 scrapbooking goals and where I want to take this hobby moving forward. More on that soon.

I am also about to finish up and send off my 2018 Project Life book so that will be my third and final one for this year (HERE).

Thanks for reading and as always, comment or email any questions.

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