8 Free Photo Book Ideas

I love me a free photo book promo code! It seemed that as soon as I got pregnant with Bryan, free offers for photo books from Shutterfly & Snapfish started popping up in my inbox, on Catalina receipts, and in the mail. They still continue to roll in and if it’s free, it’s for me! I have probably let many expire over the years, but I try to use them up if I can. I’ve been pretty creative finding different ways to use them. Here are my 8 favorites:

If you would like a free photo book, here is my referral code which should be good for a free book: https://invite-shutterfly.com/x/cUQWIM



You can make a keepsake book for any special moment in your life. I have one to celebrate mine & my husband’s ‘courtship’, with photos taken before we were married. We also have one for each of our kids, to celebrate their first year of life. I used templates provided by the photo book company for these, so it was super easy to do and didn’t take much time at all. Bryan’s is pretty simple, but I found a couple quotes that I love to add to Annie’s.


2. Illustrated Storybook

This is hands down my favorite way to use a free photo book promo code. Bryan & I sit down and I ask him to tell me a story. When I create the storybook, I leave the pages blank (no photos) except for a line of text at the bottom of each page. Most photo book companies provide templates for text only now. When the book comes in, Bryan sits down and illustrates the story. I try not to ‘edit’ the story, but type it as he says it. The way he talks and the words he chooses is a snapshot of who he is at this very moment of his childhood. One day, I won’t remember his stories as well as I wish I did, but I will have these books.

I love that this is a fun, creative activity we can do together, but also that we now have these adorable keepsakes from his childhood. I love planting seeds that allow my children to dream about what they could be & do with their life one day, such as becoming an author. This year, I am going to ask Bryan to write a children’s storybook for his little sister (the next time I get a free code).

Here are some pics from a few storybooks we have already made, including my personal favorite Rocket Crane Horsey:





I wanted to use a free promo code for a special gift for my son to give his Pop (my dad) this Christmas. They are best friends! Rather than asking Bryan to write a story for one of the typical storybooks we made, I gave him some direction and we wrote ‘The Adventures of Bryan & Pop.’ It started like a typical adventure that the two of them would go on and became a rather magical adventure by the end. Their relationship is truly something special so I wanted to help Bryan make a gift just a special for his Pop.

3. My Mommy/Daddy/GRandparent is….


We made my husband the most special book for Father’s Day last year; I honestly cannot think of a better gift a parent can receive! (Wink, wink, hint, hint… Mother’s Day will be here before you know it!!) I added some photos of my husband with the kids throughout the pages, but left quite a lot of blank space for fill-ins. Using text boxes , I added questions for Bryan to answer about his Daddy, such as what he does for work but also questions such as ‘I love my Daddy because…’. Bryan worked so hard on this book for his Daddy, coloring pictures and answering the narratives. Some of his responses were really funny, some were incredibly sweet and others made no sense at all- perfection for a 4 year old!

I have seen versions of this on Amazon, but with a free promo code it would be cheaper to make your own, even with shipping. Plus, you can customize it to fit your family/child. This would also be adorable as a grandparent gift.



When I was a baby, my Daddy… protected me from scary monsters with too many arms.


Mommy loves Daddy because… he goes to work in the rain.

4. Our Song/Story/Poem


My mom wrote a special lullaby to sing to her grandbabies. For Christmas this year, I created a book for her with the words from her lullaby and photos of her with the kids. Annie loves to look at pictures of the people she knows, so I thought it would be a sweet book for them to sit and look at together. This could easily be done with lyrics to a favorite song or words from a special poem.

5. Recipe Book

I am blessed to have all of my mother-in-law’s recipe cards, in her own handwriting with special notes in the margins. For Christmas a few years ago, I scanned all of the recipes that she had marked as ‘most used’ and made them into a big recipe book for other members of the family. If you don’t have any special keepsake recipes from Mom or Grandma, an alternative would be to make a cookbook with all of your favorite collected recipes to gift for the holidays. Perhaps gift a cook of main dishes this year, side dishes next and desserts the following year. It can become a collection that everyone looks forward to adding to each Christmas.

6. ‘All About Me’ Book/Birthday Book


This is a fabulous annual tradition that I can’t wait to start when Bryan turns 5 this February. As with most of my special photo books, create a book using mostly text boxes with narratives for your child to illustrate/answer. Start with basics such as a space for them to write their name & age, have pages for them to write/draw their favorite toy, food, book, activities, a page to draw a picture of themselves and/or your family, and end with their hopes for the future (‘When I grow up I want to be…’).

For Bryan’s first birthday, I made a duplicate First Year book for his birthday party and asked everyone at the party to write a special message for him. I hope he treasures this keepsake forever! Be sure to leave plenty of blank text boxes and select layouts with open space for those messages.


7. Quotes & Inspirational

Create a collection of special quotes, motivational/inspirational text or verses for someone special. What a great gift for someone who is going through a difficult time or moving into a new phase of life. Collect funny quotes or bits of advice on parenting for a baby shower gift, or marriage advice from friends & family for a wedding shower gift. The possibilities are endless!

8. Kids Photography Book


Bryan likes to take photos with our cell phones. I have been saving them in a special folder on my computer and plan to make him a book of his photography. I’ve started it, but need to finish it. Perhaps today at nap time!

Now, some of his photos are just pictures of the wall or his thumb, but some of them are really, really great. My father and I both have degrees in Photography, though neither of us attempted a career as an artist. Perhaps Bryan will be the famous photographer in the family and it could be really cool to have a collection of his earlier work. If nothing else, it’s an exploration of a career he could choose when he grows up.

Have you created any unique photo books? I’d love to hear your ideas!


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