How to Create a Digital Memory Book: Step-By-Step

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While it used to be common to create entire shelves full of photo albums and scrapbooks, things are going digital. With the rise of tech tools, it’s never been easier to upload a memory book online with all of your favorite photos.

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Not only is this process simple and affordable, but you don’t have the same disadvantages as a physical book. While there’s no replacement for having a physical copy of your favorite photos to display, a digital memory book is a great alternative. 

How do you get started? You don’t need any fancy tools or equipment. You don’t even need to be particularly tech-savvy. All you need is some free time and memories you’d like to capture. If you have a social media account, odds are you’ve already got a type of virtual memory book online ready to be taken to the next level. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to making your own digital memory book.

COVID-19 tip: If you're hosting a Zoom memorial service using a service like GatheringUs, ask if you can create a digital memorial slideshow or video to share with your virtual guests. You can scan physical photos to add, upload live videos, add songs, and other digital mementos to your slideshow.

Why Create a Digital Memory Book?

First, let’s talk about why you might make your memory book digital rather than having print copies. It’s hard to deny the appeal of printed photos, and having scrapbooks to flip through is a great way to rekindle some nostalgia for the past. However, there are a lot of clear advantages to having your memories stories online. 

  • Protected from damage: The biggest reason to create a digital memory book is to protect your memories. While a physical book is at risk of being damaged or lost, your digital book is always safe. 
  • Easy to update: As we mentioned earlier, life changes quickly. Printing photos and buying physical supplies are costly and time-consuming. Using a digital option is much easier and less expensive. 
  • Stay organized: A digital memory book is easier to organize, and you can collaborate with multiple people on the same project. Since it’s a task to organize digital photos, this ensures your memories are easy to access in the future. 
  • Shareable: Finally, it’s easy to share a digital memory book with friends and loved ones who might not live nearby. 
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Step 1: Collect Your Memories

The first step is to start collecting your memories. These don’t have to be just photographs, though that’s usually the most common thing to include. Other ideas for things to gather are:

  • Family photos 
  • Social media photos
  • Letters
  • Drawings and artwork
  • Photos of your favorite things or mementos

All of these small things add up to big memories. Try to consider how to tell a full story with your online book. If this is a “chapter” of your life, what would need to be in it? 

You can collect your memories or request some help from friends and family. It’s surprising just how much you might already have available to you. For example, you can download Instagram photos to your computer to get started. Once you have everything gathered and organized, it’s time to make your book. 

Step 2: Choose the Right Tool

There are a lot of free and paid resources for creating your digital memory book. If you just wish to have something you can view on your computer, you likely don’t need to worry about having it printed. However, if you plan to have your book printed professionally at some point, it’s worth choosing an upgraded platform. 

  • Free tools: You don’t need anything complicated to make a digital photo book. Using Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Powerpoint, or Keynote are all effective ways to create something you can easily edit and change as your life grows. 
  • Paid tools: You can also use a paid tool to make your own book. These tools cost a printing fee if you do choose to have your digital book printed, but you’ll also have access to your print digitally. There are also simple photo book templates to choose from so you don’t need to worry about design elements. 

There’s no “right” choice as long as you’re picking the tool that fits your budget, goals, and needs. You might start with a free option (like Microsoft Word) and then exporting to a professional printing service. Either way, it’s very flexible!

Step 3: Choose the Right Photos

No matter what tool you decided upon, it’s time to get started. While it’s tempting to load up all your photos into your project, try to limit how many you choose. Remember, you’re telling a story. You’ll only want to include your best photos. 

To start, identify all of your favorites. Organize them in an order that makes sense for your particular narrative. For example, a wedding storybook might start with wedding preparations and continue throughout the event, ending with photos of the honeymoon. 

When choosing your photos, keep in mind the following:

  • Size: Do the photos fit your page layout? What’s the photo orientation? In addition, are they large enough to stay high-quality depending on the shape?
  • Quality: If the photos are blurry or poor quality, skip them. 
  • Repetition: Keep the photos from being repetitive, if possible. In the age of selfies and social media, it’s common to have multiples of the same picture. Try to identify the best one of the bunch to include. 

Step 4: Choose a Theme

When it’s time to make your book, try to choose a theme. This is a good way to keep to a single design throughout your photo book. While this might evolve over time, sticking to a single theme ties all your images and memories together. Here are some common theme ideas that might be a good fit:

  • Wedding
  • Family vacation
  • Holiday/seasonal
  • Sports
  • Colors/patterns

Look for similar elements and themes throughout the photos you chose already and group them together. If you’re using any type of digital tool, they might have themes and templates built in to simplify the process.

When in doubt, keep it simple. Less really is more! Let the photos do the talking. They’re the star of the show!

Step 5: Include Text

Just because you’re creating a photo memory book doesn’t mean you can’t include text. This is a great way to help tell your story and secure your memory. While a picture is worth a thousand words, your text helps bring everything together. It could spark a memory about something you forgot, and it helps fill in the blanks that photos can’t share. 

Use bold headers to share particular themes. For instance, “Family Vacation” helps remind you that this photo book is to remember a favorite trip you all took together. In addition, add blurbs, quotes, or other useful text as it fits the theme. You might add a journal about what your family did during a certain day of your trip. You could also share your dates, locations, or a funny quote. Be creative to tell your story!

Step 6: Save and Share

Last but not least, be sure to save your digital memory book and share it with loved ones. You can save it online to ensure it’s always there for you, no matter what. You can also easily share it with loved ones through email or social media. 

If you’re missing that physical photo book feel, why not have it printed? You don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for a nice physical copy of your book. These make a great gift for all types of occasions. They’re also a creative way to honor someone if you recently lost a family member. Ultimately, these photo books are meant to be shared and appreciated. 

Cherish Your Digital Memory Book

While it’s hard to replace the feeling of a physical book, a digital memory album has undeniable perks. Not only will it last forever, but you can always update it through life’s many changes. If you’re looking for a way to share your memories, why not create a digital book of your own? You don’t need anything complicated to get started. 

More and more people are turning to technology to share their memories and what matters most to them. While social media is a great tool for expressing yourself, sometimes you need to create a memoir-type photo album to tell the full story. What would you like to share with your friends and family?

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