Personalized Gifts: Photo Books

As I wrote in yesterday’s post, when it comes to gift giving, personalized gifts are my favorite.  There’s no chance of duplication.  The recipient hasn’t already seen it at the mall.  And hopefully opening a personalized present makes him/her feel loved and cherished, knowing the time and thought that went into the gift’s creation.

All year around, I enjoy taking pictures.  I always have a camera in my purse, ready to document a get together, reunion, or even just a relaxed, easy Saturday at the farmer’s market.  Having documentation of our everyday lives makes it easier to remember months and years later what normal was at another time.  So when the holidays and birthdays come around, I often like to choose photo gifts.  Whether it’s a homemade calendar, a picture on a mug, shirt, or ornament, I think I’ve done them all.  (I’ve used different photo websites over the years, but Shutterfly is my personal favorite.)

PHOTO BOOKS:  Once pictures have been transferred from the camera to the computer, a person can easily forget they were ever taken.  Since these days they don’t need to be developed, most pictures never meet photo paper.  That’s why I so enjoy photo books.  It’s cozy to sit down with a book of memories and flip through them on the couch.  Sure, I could pop open my laptop, but seeing a coffee table book of happy memories, invites me to linger over sweet days gone by.

Today I’m going to share a couple of photo books that I’ve made in the past, and maybe they’ll start your gears turning on photo gifts of your own.

After our honeymoon, I made two large 12×12 hardcover books for my husband.  We’d both written about our travels on MySpace.  (Yes, it was a while ago.)  And so I took those travelogues and joined them with the pictures.  I used different fonts for each of us, so that you could easily see which entry was a “she said” and which was a “he said.”  When I page through them, I’m in Europe all over again.

When my best friend was having her first child, I saved every email that she wrote to me about the experience and all of the photos she attached along the way of her growing belly, setting up the nursery, and the hilarious picture of her husband wearing the sympathy belly.  Then after her daughter was born, I put the emails into a book with the photos as a keepsake of her experience.  I know plenty of new moms plan to document every stage of pregnancy, but it doesn’t always happen with all of the other preparations going on.  I was so excited to give it to my friend, so that she could fully remember the experience.  Plus, when she had her second daughter, she was able to do a bit of comparison of what she experienced when.

In addition to a book for moms to be, a book from emails could be made for college students or couples planning a wedding.  Want to make a personalized cookbook for a friend or family member?  A photo book could be a cool way to do it.

I’ll be back with more gift ideas next week!

Today is the last day to vote in the HHL contest to win a trip for two to Napa Valley!  My husband is one of the finalists, and I’d be so tickled if you’d consider voting for him.  He’s #6!


  1. says

    The book for your pregnant friend was inspired — such a brilliant expression of friendship. I love photo books and regret that I haven’t been making them for the last few years. One thing I did do two years ago was make cookbooks for family members using favorite family recipes and stories from my blog. I did it on Blurb, and it looks like a real cookbook.

    • Cadry says

      Thank you, Andrea!

      I’ve made cookbook zines for Christmas but never an actual cookbook. That’s good to know that Blurb does such a good job. I’ll have to check it out. I’ve never heard of it before.

  2. says

    Girl, you are so thoughtful! I love photo books for gifts for my parents and things, but this is just truly sweet. I love the non-commercial side of Christmas and the spirit that goes with it!

    • Cadry says

      Oh, me too! People get so down on the commercial/consumer culture of Christmas, but we have a voice in changing that. When we give simple but meaningful gifts, it changes the discussion, outlook, and overall feeling of the holiday.

  3. says

    this is such a sweet idea. i always forget about pictures and the stories they tell. every december hubbs thinks of making a photo collection or book or something, goes through the thousands and thousands of pictures, collects some and then forgets and repeats the next year:)

    • Cadry says

      That’s surprising that you forget about pictures since you’re making gorgeous photography all year long! That’s so funny about your husband. You should tell him that you want a book of photographs as a birthday or holiday gift, and maybe the deadline would help him finish it. That’s something that works for me! :)

  4. Michelle says

    Reading about the book you gave me after K was born brought tears to my eyes. That was an amazingly thoughtful gift and was such a great surprise. I look forward to when K can enjoy it as much as I do.

    • Cadry says

      That’s so sweet, Shell. I’m just so glad that you liked it. Getting to witness your transition into motherhood is a continued blessing. I’ve known you in many forms over the years, which makes seeing you as a mom even sweeter.

  5. says

    I never commented on this earlier because I was so dang busy, but it totally reminded me that I had started a photo book (through apple iPhoto) earlier this year as a gift for Chris, and then got sidetracked and never finished it. As soon as this post popped up in my inbox, I knew what I needed to make for Chris’s Christmas present. He loved it! He even cried a little (which I’ve never ever seen before). Thank you so much for the reminder and the little kick in the toosh to get the ball rolling!

  6. says

    This is a great idea. I usually stick to food gifts because I love making them and it’s one of the few things I’m good at. I’m hoping to keep this in mind for next year as my husband is a photographer and some personalized calendars would be fun to make.

    • Cadry says

      Oh, that’s such a good idea! I’m sure your husband would love to see his pictures on a calendar. If you use one of the photo sites online, you can pick any month to start. So it could be a birthday gift as well! One year I gave David a calendar that just had pictures of our cats, and he loved it.

      That said, food gifts are always well received! Everyone enjoys something delicious!


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