happiness has arrived {My Publisher}

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I take a lot of pictures. I take pictures for me. For my family. For my friends. Mainly, I take pictures for my kids. I want to document their years. I want to document our life as a family. One day my 4 year old will forget how he slept with Lego men cuddled next to his face. One day my daughter won’t remember how much she loved crashing her doll strollers into walls. One day my 2 year old won’t recall how much his baby sister frustrated him (or maybe he will!). And one day my oldest will no longer have to stand on his toes to get milk out of the fridge. I document their days for them.

It is highly important to me that they enjoy the pictures I take now…not just when they are older and looking back at their childhood. Each year I create albums of our pictures. I make two copies of the albums – one that is safely tucked away and one that is out for my kids to enjoy. (No, I don’t make 4 albums…too costly…they will have to share one day. Or if I win a bunch of money I can go back and order them each a copy!) I don’t stress when they are looking at them. I don’t get mad if a page accidentally gets wrinkled or torn. I want them to enjoy the albums. As they enjoy the albums they enjoy my camera. They recognize that the photos I take aren’t just stored away where they can’t enjoy them. They know the pictures I take are for them…that a book will be made that they can enjoy anytime they want.

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The book comes with a note that says “Happiness has arrived.” It is true. When we get our albums and we look back at the day to day of the previous year…happiness does arrive. We have so much fun reliving the little moments.  Moments that would have been forgotten are remembered.

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Every January MyPublisher runs a great coupon that lasts about 8 days. Every January I rush like crazy to create albums of our pictures from the previous year…trying to beat the deadline. This year the coupon was 60% off an order $200.00 or more. The MyPublisher albums are limited to 100 pages each and I can never fit an entire year in 100 pages. As a result I order “Book 1″ for the first 6 months and “Book 2″ for the second six months. On top of that I order a second copy of each book. That means a total order of 4 100 page books….well over $200.00. 60% off is a big savings when your order is that big. Ideally I would create the pages throughout the year and avoid the January crunch, but that is idealistic.

I have used MyPublisher for 5 years now. There are so many other companies out there I’d like to try, but I just can’t find ones that offer the coupon savings that MyPublisher offers. Have you found some companies that are easy to use and offer great coupons? I really, really, really want to make an album like this next year.  We shall see. For those of you that do digital scrapbooking…where do you print your books?

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  • Stephanie - I love your albums! I wanted to know if you journal at all in your albums? Do you document the stories behind the pictures for your kiddos? I use Creative Memories StoryBook Creator Plus software for my digital albums and it’s so easy to use!

  • Melissa - What an awesome idea! Love that you make 2 copies to enjoy now and later. Also LOVE that you are in the photos with your family! Reminds me to get in front of the camera too! Thank you for sharing the coupon info, maybe I’ll get started for next year :)

  • Catherine - I remember your post last year about your 2009 books and it has inspired me to do the same. I do yearly boks for my kids but nothing for the rest of the pictures I take. I use Picaboo and they have wonderful coupons all the time. They just lowered the prices on extra pages too.

  • Lacey R - Ashely, I remembered seeing this book review post back when I used to digiscrap. I looked it up for you: http://thedailydigi.com/12-different-photobook-printer-reviews/ HTH!

  • amanda torres - When I see your cool photo books, I realize I need to get my pictures off my computer and do something with them!!!

  • Lee - Gorgeous. 100 pages is a lot, that’s fabulous. I know so many hold far less. Thanks for the tip :)

  • Samantha S. - I love the albums! :) And… I love Paislee Press. If you are looking for a simple way to delve into digital scrapbooking, there is a great little template set from Biograffiti called My Life and Story. It’s simple to insert a few digital scrapbooking papers and elements and you’ll have a page that is truly your own. I print our books with Shutterfly and Persnickety Prints. And I throw in a couple of digital scrapbook pages in with their already set template pages – easy peasey! Also… I know you aren’t a scrapbooker, but Becky Higgin’s Project Life kits are AMAZING. :)

  • Liene - Beautiful!

  • Deb @ PaperTurtle - What a great way to preserve and enjoy your photos, Ashley! I LOVE that you print an extra copy that your kids can look at over and over again without the worry of it being worn out. It was fun seeing the photos of your kids enjoying the photo books too! :)

  • Loren - Awesome, I’ve never been a scrap-booking person but making a digital family ‘year book’ is a fantastic idea I could absolutely get behind.

  • andy - love it
    i just use snapfish and try to work on it through out the year
    love the idea about printing 2 though

  • Mirys from Brazil - Oh my Gosh, your pics are soooooooo much inspiration!!!!

    Thanks for writing this blog and (without knowing) leading me back to my photos (it has being a sort of great therapy after the suddenly death of my husb… the pics of my kids make me laught and that is just great!).

    Dear Ashley, I comment in our blog (The Diary of the 3 Musketeers) about the best blogs we read… and I mentioned yours! Hope you dont mind! But lots of my friends understand English, so they can read you. Even if they can´t understand I think your pics worthy a stop by here!!!

    So, if you want to see what we wrote about you, please be our guest at http://diariodos3mosqueteiros.blogspot.com/2011/02/e-para-voce-o-que-e-importante-em-2011.html

    Kisses and blessings.
    Mirys

  • Alisa - Awesome albums! I love that you make one for the kids to enjoy. I use MyCanvas to make our albums and am always so pleased with their products.

  • pam - I love.love.love. your photo books. (and I love the curated photo package too… adorable!) I’ve only ever made one photo book, our honeymoon album. burb. I like it, good quality. :)

  • Elle - Great idea! I’m really looking forward to starting albums once Little Miss Kickypants makes her appearance. I hadn’t ever considered making two copies – thanks for the tip. And, as always, your photography is beautiful.

  • Jen - I’ve used mypublisher in the past as well, and I have to say, they have the best customer service!

    I love your idea of printing 2 books. I will have to start doing that to have one away for safe keeping!

  • Erin Leigh - This is so inspiring. The best part is seeing your kids faces as they look at them… now! Not later. all of my pictures are on the computer and one of his favorite activities is looking at pictures on the computer, I’ve got to do this!!! Thanks for sharing your life, photos, family.

  • Erin Leigh - I love this idea! All of our pictures are on the computer. I’ve got to get create these so we can all enjoy them NOW. Love that you don’t stress over wrinkled pages, that they are to USE, to enjoy. thanks for the inspiration!

  • hearttypat - hey ashley, i love it that you do this every year and i such good taste too to say the least!

  • Ryan - I use MyPublisher! I always make photo books for our families at Christmas. I order one book around early November. Then, pretty quickly after that, My Publisher runs a special where you can order as many reprints as you want for $25. So, I order a ton of those and give them away as Cmas gifts, since we have a $25 limit on gifts anyway.

    The downside is Christmas is always where the next year’s book starts, but we’ve gotten used to that!

  • the whyte house - LOVE the 2010 book 1 cover. so cute.
    i just made one last night on blurb.com. i like the layouts that they offer and that it’s stress-free, even with me arranging it myself. i’ve tried shutterfly and it’s a big headache. i haven’t seen a lot of coupons in my inbox from blurb, but they do paypal and i’m a huge fan of paying now, not on my credit card. :) mypublisher slams me w great coupons, so i definitely know what you’re talking about! here’s my blurb book. it’s an 8×10 portrait book, with about 40 pages. i upgraded my paper, but it runs about $30+$7 to ship.
    http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/1498259/934da1c783c43f0c1525a62542ed0950

  • Jennifer Blair - My mom made lots of albums for us growing up. We have so many precious memories. I’m so glad she took the time to do that. Your kids are going to be so thankful that you did this for them!

  • ashley jensen - I would love to make a book like that one day. I just go through my folders and print my favorite pictures from every month and put them in albums. I even write the date on the back of every single one! It’s better than nothing and Kiera loves looking at them too.

  • meg duerksen - i have $250 of credit at mypublisher waiting from gifts i received….but i never get it done!!! i must do it! this is amazing ashley! wish my books looked as good as yours!

  • Vy - Winkflash.com has a flat rate book sale every so often. Their current one ends today. You can get a 100 page book for the same price as a 20 page book. I made a 8×11 book of our vacation for $35 shipped. I’ve only used them for canvases (which always turn out great!), so I’ll have to let you know how the quality is. Definitely worth checking out though!

  • Trish - oh my word… so inspiring! I NEED to do this. so thankful that next weekend I get the whole day to scrapbook and I’ve decided to go digital! Since I am so far behind I am starting with 2010!

  • Christie - I love your photographs – such an eye for beauty and for your children to have that for years to come is awesome. I, too, love photography but have yet to figure out the ole manual settings. :) But I still like to have books made of what I photograph. I use Blurb which has a lot of creative freedom if you want (or not) and gives you up to 440 pages in one book!

  • Sarah - Ashley – we loooove reading your blog but due to security issues we still arent able to see pictures… do you think you’ll ever go back to “the way it was” :)

  • Danielle - I do this for the grandparents every year but not for us! I really need to, maybe this is the push I needed to get it done!

  • giozi - I did a little album via Flickr, and it never came, but they gave me back the money.

    I want to do one. I was printed individual pictures but now I don’t have where to put it.

  • Kendra - I’ve used blurb.com every year for the past 5 years and have been happy with the result. You can make a book up to 440 pages i believe (and i usually hit that number every year). A 440 page book costs about $85 i think. This year I was able to find coupons on groupon.com for blurb….so I bought a few and got each book for half off. Hope that helps!

  • Beth - so i feel like a copycat who didn’t copy cat after reading this post. you see i posted a blog late yesterday or possibly early this morning, like 1am, that reads EXACTLY like this one in most ways….weird. clearly we feel very similarly about our photo books and the awesome discount they offered this year. http://bethmariephotography.com/2011/02/happiness-has-arrived-our-photo-book/

  • Krista Lund - i just received 100+ digital scrapbook layouts from Persnickety Prints yesterday. (they had a sale + free shipping Superbowl weekend). i rushed out to get page protectors and got them put in an album. last night we sat around looking through it and it was wonderful!
    i’ve had digital scrapbooks printed from Shutterfly. i liked it, but i think My Publisher has better quality.
    tfs!

  • Emily Lusk - you have given me the inspiration to finish the book I started 2 years ago!!!! :)

  • Meadowlark - shutterfly.com

    I don’t know the cost for such a large book, but when I do a review on Tripadviser.com, I often get a coupon for a free 20 page hardcover book. I don’t have little kids at home any more so I just use a book for each event – vacation, hikes, etc and have quite a collection. I’ll have to check prices for this place now. Thx

  • RebeccaH - I have made a few digital albums, and I’ve always gotten the books printed at Shutterfly. I know that’s not very earth-shattering news, but they have been fantastic quality! And I can upload my own digital layouts as the full page in the album. Love that. Plus they offer a decent amount of flexibility for the cover and jacket. If you sign up for their emails they will send out coupons, and often they will do 50% off, or free shipping, or $xx off of an order. The great thing is that they will let you combine multiple coupons. At Christmas, I ordered 6 8×8 hard cover albums, and with coupon combos it ended up costing me a total of $45.

  • Ann - Love Love Love your happiness! I received one from my husband for Christmas. I laughed and cried simultaneously throughout the entire album! Great minds….

  • Christi S. - i have made several books for my daughter, esp. when she was a baby and she absolutely LOVES to look at them. she’ll say “that what i used to play with when i was a baby” i havent ordered any books in a couple of years. i do my yearly calendars and that’s hard enough to get out by christmas. i totally need to order more books for keepsakes and for my daughter to look at (she’s 3 now) i’ve always just used shutterfly. i know i see deals all the time on the coupon sites to get one free when you buy one. Picaboo is always having great deals. i also use zazzle for a lot of my printing needs and it’s excellent excellent quality. Mpix is of course good too. oh and digital scrapbooking is another obsession you should look into…

  • Janelle Vano - LOVE this!!! A book every year and a special copy for the kids to enjoy….so smart!!! But, it also makes me sad for all the years that I didn’t have a digital camera…and I didn’t have enough money to purchase a lot of film. There are so many years in my 15 year olds life that I feel are just gone :(

  • Katie - This is the one and only new years resolution that I have for this year…to do something with my pics. Thanks for the inspiration! I have heard good things about blurb…I am not techy so I want something user friendly. I also want to do a book for each year!

  • Jenny B. - I LOVE your photo books. I also love Liz’s! I get my pages printed individually and put them in an album because I never feel like I have a whole year completed enough to get a book printed. I’m hoping to get it done this year, though. I’ve used Persnickety, Scrapbook Pictures, and How Fast Time Flies for individual pages. I might use Shutterfly for the book. They have 20% off sales frequently. I’ll probably do the 8×8 size. Steph at The Daily Digi did a huge photo book review last year. I’m excited to see what you do! :D

  • becca~CapturingSimpleJoys - Love your books and I seriously need to check it out, I haven’t put anything in an album since my kids were born! Terrible I know but since digital I just haven’t taken the time. I remember pouring over albums as a child so I know how special they are to kids. It’s fun for them to see pictures of themselves. I really need to provide that for MY kids :)

  • Tami - You’ve inspired me! I’ve had this project sitting in the back of my mind for forever and I just needed this kick to get started. Can I ask what size book you get/recommend?

  • Wendy - What a great idea! I have given up on scrapbooking, so I definitely need to do something like this. Thanks for posting!

  • Cali - Hey- love your blog.. first time commenting though. :) I tried using MyPublisher once- but I had so many pictures, and 100 pages didn’t cut it for me.. and it was so expensive (unless you get the good deals I guess) so I’ve been using Blurb- and I love it! I just printed off a book that had 320 pages- and it only cost me $83! I think the quality is great (at least good enough for me, and I’m pretty picky). So- food for thought anyway. Blurb’s software is a little hard to manipulate, but I finally figured out how to make it look how I wanted it to look. Anyway- I’m happy with it, and wanted to pass along the info. Love your books!

  • Emily @ Write Twenty Eleven - Your blog is absolutely heartwarming.

  • mary Sue - I love these books! I do the yearly book too but always try to cram it into 20-30 pages. I miss so much! Next time I will splurg on a bigger book. I also do a Birthday book every year. My kids keep them in their room and show EVERYONE! It helps to cut some pictures out of the yearly book:)

  • Dena - Ashley, I remember your post about last years books and how I thought I should do that too.

    Question – do you get the classic or deluxe books? Thanks!

  • Danielle - I do something similar, although I just get one copy and use Blurb book. I’ve loved the result! I love that it makes me get my digital images printed instead of just staying in the computer! I’m hoping to finish proofing mine today!

  • Katie - Oh… how I love your photos!! Out of all the blogs I follow your pics are the what I aspire to be like!! Maybe because I also have lego loving little boys. Do you still plan on doing a online snapshop?

  • Lauren - Beautiful. Such a good idea to put one away for the future! I just ordered two wedding picture books, one for my mother and one for my husband’s mother. Get this- they have the SAME exact birthday! I ordered them from mixbook.com and got two for the price of one, literally. When you sign up they give you a two for one coupon. Couldnt get much better than that!

  • erica - i’ve used blurb.com to publish a (much smaller) book for my son every year and LOVE it. but will definitely have to check out myPublisher. you have beautiful photos, kiddos and keepsakes. thanks for sharing, happy thursday!

  • Danielle - oh! i am stoked that you posted this. and i have something funny to tell you. i got an email yesterday from someone who reads my blog telling me how much they have in common with me. she said, “we love all the same things: jesus, being a mom, mustard yellow, ashley ann…” and a few other things. i spit out my drink laughing that my love for you and all you do comes across so strong on my blog ;)

  • Dacia - one day, when I have kids, I hope to be a great mom like you. :) i will try my hardest to capture memories and make books like these for my kids, because i know it will be something they will treasure forever. you have the cutest family!

  • Candice Forte - I am making photoshop layouts and sending them to snapfish and shutterfly (also making two copies of each). So I guess I am digitally scrapbooking. I am sure they are not as well printed as the place you are using. those are beautiful books! Then again you take some of THE most beautiful pictures! I use my Coke rewards points to redeem two free photo books every year:)…so that is why I use snapfish for now…until I also win a lot of money:).

  • Mirys from Brazil - Another great idea!!!!

    I´m thinking about making photo albuns since my first boy was born… so they will forever see them with their father!!! What it used to be, what they love to do togheter, etc.

    (above: something I comment on another space but I thought it was better say it twice than risking you dind´t see it…)

    Today, at our blog, we publish the blogs we read the most. I know you do not understand Portuguese but I´d like you to know that we indicated your blog as one of the best blogs for us!

    Because lots of my friends understand English and even if they dont, your pics are so great that my friends should stop by here every now and then!!!

    So, if you want to check what we said about you (we have a translation button on the top of the page), go to

    http://diariodos3mosqueteiros.blogspot.com/2011/02/e-para-voce-o-que-e-importante-em-2011.html

    With love and admiration
    Mirys

  • justine @ you're so martha - what a fantastic idea! i have all of my photos just sitting on my computer, i don’t get any printed anymore except for framing, which makes me sad. i will have to start doing this, especially when i have kids. and your idea to have two made is great.

    how do you get all the photos of you with your kids? is your husband a willing photographer or do you use a tripod a lot? my husband gets annoyed with all my picture taking and it’s rare for him to take my photo–i’m worried that when i have kids, i won’t be in any of the photos!

  • Tina - Beautiful pictures! I love the idea of photo books. By the way I was reading Womans Day March 2011 issue and they have your updated vintage TV table in there page 22. Awesome!! Great way to get acknowledged for your work. Keep inspiring us all.

  • Cassie - I use Blurb! I think the software is easy to use, and they have a lot of coupons for free shipping. I think their books are already priced really fairly, and I think the quality is great. Our 2010 album and our wedding album (3 years later, whoops) just came last week; always one of my favorite packages to open!!

  • tasha roe - that is so crazy awesome!! i love it!!

  • e l l a - Beautiful Ashley.
    I am so behind – the reason is that I started WITH captions and write ups for layouts.
    Big mistake. It slowed me down so much. I have to do it your way and have photos only or else they will end up done during my retirement.
    I now need to meet a deadline of the end of February for my book b/c I bought a deal on Groupon for photobookcanada.com. Wish me luck! ;D
    PS. I am sooo inspired by Paisley Press’s book – gosh I would need a solid few days off just to do that…. it is breathtaking though ;)

  • Kate - Love your books. I also use and love mypublisher for their great quality, and rates. A few times I’ve received books with defects and mypublisher provided awesome customer service, overnighting me reprinted books. Fun fact, mypublisher’s gift cards work with their promo codes and are also applied to shipping costs. Today they’re running an ad for 40% off gift certificates, which means…I typically get a 75% savings. Use coupon code MYCUPID to get the deal until Valentines.

  • Andrea Burnett - Oh my god. Your albums and you and your site and your kids and everything you do is/are amazing. Wow. I’m so blown away at your beautiful photos. Now I feel like crap about how I always take photos of my kids (I have about 2500 of them) but haven’t taken them off my iPhone yet (in 4 freaking years!!). I need to get on it! Anyway, my compliments. You have exquisite taste. If you ever consider doing a book and need an agent, let me know.

  • Diamonds On My Soles - I do a big photo album at the end of every year for my family too. And I love the excitement that comes when it finally arrives … even though I know exactly what it looks like before I open it. I always use photobox. And every year (for the past 4/5 years at least) they run a 2 for 1 offer, so I get to fill another big photo album for free! :)

  • Shanna - I do digital scrapbooking and if you use paislee presses templates it will be SOOO easy for you to do!!! Especially if you buy them now, fill them as you go… you will be set in Jan! I LOVE her style and I believe she allows for the binding on eachside in her book tempates so you dont have to worry about anything being cut off. oxox

  • Nancy - I use BLURB. I always get a hardcover book with 80 pages. A 20% off sale comes up often costing me under $50 per book with shipping. Affordable, good quality and easy to do.

  • Tysha - Oooh! That makes me so excited – I stayed up WAY too late several nights last week doing our family album. This is the first year I’ve used my publisher – in the past I used Photoworks. I have done smaller books (ie one of each of my kids’ first year) through blurb. but the deal with my publisher was $35 for a standard book – unlimited pages. So I saved like $80 bucks! Good idea doing two books…I had to weed a bit and thin out our year to make the 100 pages. Looks so fun! I can’t wait until my happiness arrives soon. :) Thanks for sharing!

  • Miranda - Your books look great. I use MyPublisher too and liked the results!! I just started using Picasa (free) and Persnickety Prints too! Defintely nothing wrong with documenting your kids all day everyday – I do the exact same thing! :)

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  • Amy - those are amazing!

  • blujeanmama - I’m so impressed. It’s the thing I never get around to or at least never enough to actually be able to order the book. Perhaps I’ll wonder over and finish a book and order it. Then I can relish in it!! PS Your pictures of your kids looking at the pictures are adorable.

  • Anna - I need to take more pictures of my family like you do…but my son is always running away…and so is my fiancee! Boo!!

    I love your albums…they are so lovely!

  • anna - this is amazingly cool ashley. I think it’s such a great idea, I really need to get my pics off my computer and into a lovely book like this so my girls can enjoy looking at them all. :)

  • Maegan - Loved your books last year, love them this year. I’ve been waiting to see if you stuck with My Publisher or not. I don’t have any experience with book publishing but have loved learning through the comments. And I’m sure you will let us know if you find something you like better, right?

  • kristin - i love this idea… especially since it is only photo based. so often i feel like i have to explain each photo or journal or scrapbook. this is totally more my style… love it!

  • RaD - I usually use shutterfly because I have gotten some sweet deals sent to my e-mail. 50% off photobook orders (usually limited to $30 or more), free shipping, 30% off, free cards, free calendars, free prints (usually any time you purchase anything you’ll get a deal for free prints), etc.

    60% off is still a better deal I’ll admit, but since most of my photos are already uploaded to shutterfly, I have an easier time cramming in whatever project I’m getting a discount for because I don’t already have to upload pictures.

    I haven’t tried blurb yet, but they have some pretty good prices too and I’ve heard the books are really decent. Some of the people from the project 365 I participate in use blurb for their 365 books.

  • Lauren - Love these books, Ashley, I tried them out last year when you mentioned them. I agree, My Publisher is awesome! For me it works, and I have passed the word along. If you don’t mind, I am using your idea to document each year. I am trying to catch up on our last few years of photos!! Thanks again for the recommendation!

  • Susan - I love My Publisher. And right now you can buy yourself a 40% off gift certificate, then wait until a great deal comes along and use it. They often run a deal where they do 20% off or you get a free duplicate copy of the book. Work those deals!

  • Minnesotamom - I used Snapfish this year for ours and was underwhelmed. I will definitely try My Publisher next year!

  • Lindsay - So, one day will you do a post on how the bleep you have time to do everything you do???? Seriously. I want to know. I’m floored. You have the same amount of time I have and yet…..you get so. much. more. done. Really. How do you do it? Don’t hold out. :)

  • shawna [of styleberryBLOG] - Hey Ashley–my book came yesterday! I used Blurb & am pretty happy. I am a pro photog, but this is my family album. It’s 320 pages. & I used a groupon, so it ended up costing me $50. It would have been $85 full price, with gallery wrap cover & standard landscape layout. I will definitely use them again next year. I just posted mine on my blog: http://styleberryblog.com/2011/02/11/2009-2010-family-album-blurb-books/ Your look great. But I would prefer one book to two! :)

  • Andrea - I love your blog and lurk daily!!! Your posts are so timely. As I sit hear my 3 1/2 year old son has just run up and asked me to feel his muscles! These are the moments to capture. Thank you for sharing, for inspiring and for being real. Your blog is a daily must!

  • Lori - Your photo books are beautiful and will be cherished for years to come. I’m inspired to do the same, only my books will be “backdated” as a dig through the photos of my children’s youths. Some will even be pre-digital as we didn’t have our DSLR until 2001. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Anita - Love it, thank you for sharing.

    With the numbers of photos you take, would you share your post processing flow? I get overwhelmed with the number of photos to go through, so not much gets done.

  • MelissaM - This is just what I needed for my final push to work on Maven’s (7 month old) birth pictures and our family photo books. I have been dragging my feet since he was born! I print our photo books from http://www.mycmsite.com/melissamcclure which takes me to the Creative Memories digital center. I use their free software to make the books (that also edits pics like photoshop, but easier, and has tons of digital elements like “paper, stickers, cutting tools,” etc.). They hold up to 100 pages and start at 5×7 size up to 12×12 size. The digital center archives my projects too. So if I ever needed an additional copy, even in years to come, I can always go back and print more books. I can share the books with others who can also order and print them themselves. In addition to the free Storybook Creator software, they have a gillion (little exaggerated) digital kits to purchase or download for free to personalize different themes like Disney, wedding, baby, travel, heritage, celebrations, etc. The prices are great compared to other sources out there and the quality of art work is unbeatable. I make a “Merry Christmas” book for each of our kids each year with just 20 pages of snapshots from the previous year and Matt writes a poem from he and I. Lily is old enough now to really enjoy it. I will post pics of it on your FB page (the entire books are on my FB page). Then I make 5×7 bragbooks of family professional portraits (by Kelly!) for grandparents, which they LOVE. I love the $17.95 price. They also run sales & specials on printing and digital downloads throughout the year as well. May be a little too much information, but if it helps someone who is trying to get their photos off the computer and into a photo book then it’s worth it! :)

  • Tara - I love your idea of keeping one book out for the kids to enjoy and one stashed away for safe keeping!

  • Kelly J. R. - I use blurb.com to make travel photo books of our vacations. This year I also made a “2010 Year in Review” book with photo highlights from each month. It will be fun to remember when we painted the barn, planted the maple tree, adopted our dog, etc.

  • kel - I love these! I use blurb.com and really like them, pricing is pretty good too, but your pictures look nice and bright, blurbs seem to come out a little darker. Do you ever write stuff with the pictures? if not do you wish you did? I journal with my pictures but because of it I seem to get really behind. If I didn’t I wonder if I’d stay caught up, though I’m afraid if I don’t journal I’ll forget special moments.

  • kim peach - awesome books! Where is that cute wire basket from in the picture towards the top? Restoration hardware baby has a wire hamper i am in love with (not for $100) and I would love to make one. I’m having trouble tracking down a tall wire basket.

    any help would be awesome!

  • Grace Tolman - I have been a stalker of your blog for some years now. I enjoy browsing through your site but never had the guts to speak to you until today…
    I love your book and of course the photos, but I have a question…what about your words/journaling? I know what they say about “photos speak a thousand words” but sometimes they don’t complete the sentences. I know you’ve put a lot of feelings/emotions on your blog posts about your kids, are you going to document those in a hard copy?
    I’m a srapbooker and that’s one of the things I love about scrapbooking is being able to preserve not just the pictures but my words/feelings/emotions on a tangible document/page/paper.
    Please don’t think I’m criticizing you. I’m just curious to know. Again I’ve been a fan and was just wondering. :)

  • Anndee - I use Walmart! I digital scrapbook throughout the year. One for each boy and our family album. I stick with the 8×8 size to keep it simple for my head. Anyway, walmart’s prices are such you dont have to wait for the sale and their quality is pretty decent. Stitch binding – biggie for me. I totally agree that having the pictures in BOOK form is so important for the kids to enjoy. Sometimes I even catch my 8 year old looking at his. I enjoyed your post – as always.

  • Loretta - Your books from last year inspired me to do a gift for my very busy daughter. She works full time and goes to nursing school full time so has not been able to scrapbook/document her sons first 3 years. I am in the process of making her a book for each year and will be giving them to her on Mothers Day this year. My Publisher is very user friendly and it’s been alot of fun. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  • Amanda Medlin - You have inspired me to go this route. I am definitely not a scrapbooker and it takes too long and stresses me out to print all of my pictures individually and place in albums. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jessica Lynette - I haven’t read the comments so maybe someone suggested it – but have you checked groupon? They run fabulous deals from photo printing sites. Canvas on Demand offers canvases for $35 shipped – a $126 value.
    I can’t remember a US photobook deal, but a recent one in Canada was a $115 credit for $35 – I printed a 115 page book for the $35 + a little extra for the additional pages. Companies in the US run similar deals, but I used the Canadian company because my sister practically lives next door to them and can pick it up for me so I save on shipping costs and will just pick it up from her when we visit!

  • Laura Delegal - You are very talented and capture life so vividly. Love the joy in all your photos.

  • Kelly - you are such an inspiration! i am totally doing this when i have kids. it is worth every.penny. LOVE them.

  • Stephanie Campbell - I print my books at Shutterfly. I get coupons for a FREE 20pg. book five or six times a year. (You can add more pages but only the first 20 are free – the rest are $1.00/pg) I NEVER have the book ready when the offer comes and my husband (Chris Campbell) cringes because he knows I cannot let anything free slip through my fingers so it is a mad dash to the exp. date. My goal is to do each month as it ends so it doesn’t take me 10 days at the end of the year. I’m 6 years into having kids and I still haven’t actually managed to do it, but it is still my goal. Also, I make one book for each child each year – then they each have a book that celebrates them.

  • Sandpiper - I absolutely love the picture of the dirty bum & feet!! Great idea!

  • Bernice Shupe - So glad somebody else loves to take a lot of pictures of their family! I have seven sons and have taken so many pictures of them! Lots and lots and lots of them. I put them all in boxes (labeled for each child) and have given most of them to their wives as they have gotten married. But I love your idea of the scrap book – even a duplicate for them to have and use! Great idea!!!!!! Blessings to you! :)

  • Lauren Klouda - The albums you already make are amazing. Wonderful. I am a bit jealous. Your captured memories are so important. I wish I had the talent for that…

    That is a gift to your kids that is just amazing!!!

  • Kristen Perreault - AshleyAnn- I have been stopping by for quite some time now and love getting a glimpse into your world. Love the honestly and generosity of your spirit and enjoy your pictures so much!! I too have (had) a photography business and have struggled to find the balance of Mommy, wife, work and keeping a home after having my son. Thank you for sharing your perspective so honestly regarding these topics and many others. Seeing your yearly books (something that I have been working on but am having a hard time keeping up with) is an nice inspiration to keep working on mine and to hopefully get it finished soon!

    Thanks for posting…

  • Cathy Bennett - Thank you, Ashley for such a beautiful post!
    Other bloggers & photographers who are interested in reviewing our website, please let us know.
    You may contact me at cbennett@mypublisher.com
    Thank you,
    Cathy Bennett
    Director, New Products & Communications
    MyPublisher, Inc.
    New York, New York

  • AshleyAnn - I just wanted to note that I was not asked by MyPublisher to do a review. After posting this, MyPublisher found my post and contacted me….

    thanks for all your input!

  • Turn Your Blog Into a Book {A Tutorial} » C.C. Miller Photography - [...] 3.  My Publisher – this is what Ashley Ann  uses to do her books and of course they look amazing so if you want to check that out as an option, you can go here.  [...]

  • zammaz - dh complained for years after I started taking digital photos that we couldn’t look through photo albums anymore. When my niece told me about mypublisher, I started going through the old pictures and making a book for each year. Since November, I’ve done three books (out of 10 needed). Plus, I made an album for my parents of pictures from every visit since our first child was born (16 years). They loved that Christmas gift! Like you, I find mypub has awesome deals. The last one I got was 70% off, plus I used gift certificates my husband got me for 40% off…so it was a huge savings…enough that I splurged for the lay-flat pages! Loved your pictures – and your idea of getting two of each. And, you’re right these photo books are happiness. :-)

  • Lisa - Love the books ;) Could you tell me if you order the classic or deluxe?

  • PhotoBookGirl - I just happened to see MyPublisher’s Facebook link to your page today. Beautiful photos! I happened to make my first photo book with MyPublisher as a gift for my mom about 6 years ago, and from then on, both she and I were hooked. About a year ago started a blog on photo books and began exploring other companies. I do lots of in-depth reviews and also track photo book deals too (including the Groupon and LivingSocial deals which tend to offer the highest savings). Recently I gathered a year of research into a comparative post on paper quality. Hope you find it helpful!

  • Family photo book » Unruh Photography Blog - [...] about someone spilling on it or tearing a page. (This idea was not mine. I heard about it through Ashley Ann and loved [...]

  • Amanda - Ever since you posted about you albums I decided that I was going to make one for this year. I’m so done with putting endless about of printed pics, in mass, in an album. Why not have a nice book for the same or lower price. I was so excited about the deal right now and finally finished tonight. Thanks for the heads up and the beautiful pics for inspiration! Were you happy with the printing quality? I was a little worried as I’m watching my album upload and its says its only uploading 128mb worth of pics. What? The majority of the almost 400 pics in the 100 page album were taken with my DSLR. Shouldn’t it be uploading a lot more memory?! What is your experience?

  • Tara - I saw this on pinterest and thought to myself, “No way, that would take way to long…” However, the idea just stuck in my head and wouldn’t stop. Then I got the email from MyPublisher with the great deal. I was a computer zombie all last week and finished a mix book for our family for every year since 2006 (when my first kiddo was born). THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU, For the inspiration to get this done!

  • slowing down summer » ashleyannphotography.com - [...] I’m going to need to pull an all nighter this week to get it done. For those that asked, here is a post about our 2010 albums. This year I am making it with Blurb…because I wanted the whole year in one book. Previously, [...]

  • photo book – enjoy those captured moments! | Midwest Magnolia - [...] reminded me of when I decided I wanted to do this after reading a post by Ashley Ann from Under The Sycamore, an amazing photographer, about how she does these books for her family each year.  I wondered what [...]

  • Julie - I love the really big book by mypublisher, but Winkflash.com makes a great 12×12 book and they offer a great deal at least once a year-unlimited pages. You pay for a 20 page book and the other 80 pages are free. With shipping, 4 of them will cost about $225, and it’s easier to use then Mypublisher and doesn’t take your memory space since you do the books on their site with free, unlimited storage.

  • Kimberly Locke - You motivated me last year and I’m getting ready to order my first book :)
    I made a baby book for my daughter. I love it!

  • Leah Mullett - I searched something about Mypublisher which led me to your blog! Love your albums! I also use Mypublisher but curious how you can ‘combine’ your orders like you listed above! It only lets me order one album at a time! Maybe I’ve been making a mistake and wasting so much money all along! Please let me know how you combine all your albums so that you can use that coupon! Thank you!!!!

  • Gina - I had the same problem with MyPublisher’s 100 page limit, so I completely started over with Blurb for a 240 page book. The quality of Blurb was excellent and they have frequent coupons as well.

  • jota jara - Travel through time

    my blog jota jara.

    tanks!

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