The 5 Best Photo Books, Plus Tips That Will Save You Time & Money!

Nov 6, 2021 | Freebies & Deals, Gift Ideas, Lifestyle

What they say is SO true: the days are long, but the years are short! So if you want to preserve those precious memories, here are the best photo books to try. We've got easy, cheap, and fun options coming your way, along with genius hacks.

mom and daughter looking at photo books, from Fun Cheap or Free

The other day on Instagram a follower left a comment asking what we do with all our photos – do we make photo books? Journal? Print them out and create photo albums? Just keep them on our phone or computer? This mama was feeling guilty about not doing anything with her pictures.

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Have you felt that way, too? We've got some hacks that might help! If you don't have hours to devote to scrapbooking or hundreds of dollars to shell out on pricey photo albums, then we've got tips and tricks you need to try ASAP. So, are you ready to check out the five best photo books? Here we go!


Alright, before we spill the beans on some of the cheap photo books we love, here are some tips that will make creating those books a breeze:

  • Create a Private Instagram Account – Do you take hundreds of pictures every week? Yeah. Us too! If you're tired of spending hours scrolling through those pics when it's time to print them, then you'll love this hack! Create a private Instagram account and post your favorite pics to it. When the time comes to order prints or make a photo book, you'll have your best pics stored in one place. Easy peasy!
  • Set a Photo Cleanup Routine – We like to go through our photo roll at the end of every week and delete the photos that don't make our hearts go pitter-patter! Just set aside 10-15 minutes on Saturday and do a quick scroll. It will save you a ton of time in the long run and will free up storage space for more pics!
  • Use the Search Feature – Did you know you can use search filters on Apple or Google to sift through all those photos on your phone? Yup! You can search by location or other keywords like “dog,” “baby,” or “beach.” You can even add custom tags to your photos to make things way easier. Check out this photo tagging tutorial from The New York Times!

Now that you know how to keep those photos organized let's talk about printing them. Drumroll, please! Are you ready to check out the five best photo albums?


stack of family photo books on mantle, from Fun Cheap or Free

If online shopping is your jam, you'll love these cheap photo books. You can create them from the comfort of your home and get them shipped right to your door. Oh, snap! Here are five of the best photo books that are super cheap and easy.


Choose your size and pick a hardcover or softcover option. Not into arts and crafts? Shutterfly has designers who will lay out your book for you FOR FREE. Up for a fun project? Shutterfly has templates galore–from yearbooks to baby books, wedding books, and everything in between! You can integrate with your social media accounts for quick and easy uploads, too! Be sure to take a peek at their promotions page for tons of discounts and deals.


Select your size, pick a template, and then upload your photos online or via the free Snapfish app. From mini 5×7 books all the way up to hardcover 11×14 gallery-style albums, they've got an option for every budget or occasion. Snapfish sales are crazy good, so check out their deals page often!


These GORGEOUS books make the perfect gift! You can connect right to your Instagram account and print mini-books, or you can manually upload special occasion photos and make chapter-based hardbound scrapbooks. So if you've never heard of Artifacts Uprising, do yourself a favor and check it out! We're obsessed. P.S. Join their email list for an extra 10% off!


Just download the free Chatbooks app on your phone, and it connects to your Instagram account. It's $8 for a 30-page 6×6 color photo book (with free shipping) that automatically prints and ships to you as soon as you have enough photos. It notifies you when your book is full and gives you three days to edit it (change the cover photo, remove photos you don't want in the book, etc.). Then it ships it to you, and you get it within 3-5 business days. It's all automatic.


From simple mini-book templates to lengthy year-on-review books, Mixbooks has tons of options! They even have photo books for business owners. Just upload, click, and drag to customize. First-time customers get 50% off their first order!

Prefer to get a photo book in-store instead of online? We've got a few bonus options to share!


mom and daughter looking at photo book, from Fun Cheap or Free

Need a photo book like now? Here are some great photo books you can order online or in-store and pick up in as little as 24 hours (or less!):

  • Walgreens – You can use the Walgreens app or the in-store kiosk to make a photo book that starts at $6.99. And they're fast! They even offer free same day pick-up for four standard sizes.
  • Walmart – Time for a Walmart run? You can have a photo book printed while you shop. Walmart offers express photo books that are ready within one hour! Upload your photos and order online before heading out to grocery shop, or stop by the kiosk in the photo center to create your book. Hey, hey, last-minute gift idea!
  • CVS – Need to pick up a prescirption? You can pick up a photo book, too. CVS offers tons of photo book options, including same-day pickup hardcover books.
  • Costco – Is there anything you can't get from Costco?! Y'all know how we feel about shopping at Costco, but did you know about their photo books? Starting at just under $20, they have a ton of choices. They also offer home video services, so you can turn those old VHS tapes into digital files to save forever.

Do you know the other awesome thing about photo books? Kids absolutely love looking through them. If they are bored or you just need to get something done, pull down a stack of family photo albums, and they will be entertained for up to an hour (which is AMAZING in toddler time). Of course, it will be fun when they can read and can read about themselves throughout the years, too!


Ready to think beyond the photos? Here are a few more fun ways to capture priceless memories in cheap photo books:

  • Create a Series for Artwork – Instead of saving stacks of your kids' schoolwork, snap a photo of the picture or project with your phone, and have a separate Instagram account for their schoolwork so it gets printed into Chatbooks as well! Clean, easy, organized, and a fun way to document your kids' progression in school throughout the years.
  • Make a Quote Book – Kids say the darndnest things, don't they?! Start keeping a note in your phone to jot down all those quotes. At the end of the year, print those quotes in a photo book. Ex: Riley at Age 5, Carter at Age 6, etc. You'll love taking a walk down memory lane together when they're older! Need help turning those quotes into graphics? Check out! They have tons of free quote templates.
  • Create a Recipe Book – This might be the world's best holiday gift idea! Gather your favorite family recipes and create your own cookbooks. Snapfish has ready-to-use templates that make it SO easy. These make great gifts for new grads, too. Send them off to college with a custom collection of recipes that taste like home.

Whether you use these ideas for yourself or whip up some DIY gifts this Christmas, you'll be glad you did! Go ahead and be creative. You can make your own storybooks, devotionals, or journals, too. Take a peek at the templates available and have some fun.


Now that you know all of our favorite tips and tricks, we hope you have some fun creating custom photo books! We also want to know if you have any advice to share.

Do you have photo book hacks? Drop a comment below and let us know!

Image with text that reads "the top 5 best photo books", from Fun Cheap or Free

Looking for more genius parenting hacks or fun gift ideas? You'll love these posts.

Now go make some memories!


  1. Jessica

    Love love love this idea! I’m a photo book fanatic but it is so timely and expensive, this new way is perfect for me! One question though: are you able to order multiples of the same book? Thanks so much for sharing!

    • FunCheapOrFree

      Yes you can! So they would be great gift ideas for grandparents don’t you think?

  2. melisa

    Love this idea, wondering how the quality of the photos turn out once printed since IG compresses the pictures and basically strips some data from the image.

    Also, can you go back and order one of the books in the event it gets worn out or destroyed?

    Great idea for sure, similar problem with not printing things out or not wanting to take endless hours to create from scratch or even edit a digital book.

    thank you, melisa

    • FunCheapOrFree

      The quality is pretty good, but nothing like a real photo book where you upload photos directly to the company’s website. They are a tiny bit “noisy” since IG photos aren’t very high quality to begin with, but it doesn’t bother me much. You’ll have to contact the company about ordering one of the books, because I don’t know personally – but that’s a fabulous question!!

  3. Yvonne

    I received my first Chapbook 2 weeks ago and loved it! Can’t wait for the next one! Question for you: is it easy to open up a 2nd instagram account? Cant you used the same email address? I like the idea of using it for my kids artwork.

    • FunCheapOrFree

      Yay! Glad you like it! Yes, it’s super easy to open a second account – all you need is a second email address! So no, you can’t use the same email.

  4. Stephanie

    How do you create multiple instagram accounts? I’ve been trying to figure it out but can’t! I love your idea of having one just for you for your chatbooks stuff. I was planning on just doing custom books, but that can get spendy over time! $6 with free shipping sounds better to me! lol

    • FunCheapOrFree

      You just have to have 2 different email addresses. I have several – one for junk mail, one for personal emails, one for blog stuff…so it was easy for me. You might have to create an email address (they are free, I recommend Gmail) in order to open an IG account.

  5. Chelsie

    Have you found an easy way to switch quickly between Instagram accounts?

    • FunCheapOrFree

      Ugh NO! It’s so frustrating. There’s no way to toggle, you just have to sign out of one, and sign in to the other. It’s not too bad, just an annoying extra step.

  6. Giuanna

    This is a wonderful idea!!! But i think it doesn’t exist an equal app for europe, or do they also sent the books to europe? Expecially switzerland? I’m a swiss reader

    • FunCheapOrFree

      Great question! I’m not sure if they ship to Europe. Check their FAQ’s on their website or contact them with your questions. They have great customer service!

    • Jane

      Hi Giuanna! I regularly order from and can recommend them in terms of quality. Once they sent me products to US, the second time to France, so Switzerland will certainly not be a problem. Good luck!

  7. Hayley

    What a great find. I can’t wait to try this out. Wondering about how many pics it takes to fill a book. I see you mentioned they are 60 pages

    • FunCheapOrFree

      It depends on the captions. Some of my pictures have really really really long captions, so it takes 2 pages. But most is 1 photo + caption = 1 page.

  8. Crystal Schmitt

    Its a cool concept but the app keeps crashing. I added in the discount code and it told me my total was $0.00 I pushed order and it crashed then charged me the $11.95. :-/

    • FunCheapOrFree

      Oh no! Maybe they got too much traffic today? They are the NICEST people ever. Seriously. Just email them about your troubles and they’ll make sure to take care of you. If they don’t, let me know and I’ll make sure of it 🙂

  9. melissa

    I’d just like to say thank you. I came across your website last week and I’ve bookmarked you. I think your posts are really well written and applicable. I just submitted my order for my free first photo book and it only cost $2 for shipping to Canada 🙂 keep up the good work, you’re very inspirational

    • FunCheapOrFree

      YAY! I’m glad you like it, and thanks for reading!

  10. Rebecca

    Hi. Chatbooks sound great! Can you also do pictures from facebook, your camera and or your phone? I’m also trying to find out if I have to pay a monthly subscription fee??


  11. Michelle

    Hello, very intrigued with this process, sadly I am not to savvy when it comes to technology. I’m trying to compile pictures of my grandsons first year, what I have to work with is: I have my photos saved on my tablet which is a kindle fire! I know, low tech. But can I make this work?? If so can you explain it to me, and please explain it like I’m a five year old!! And I’m not joking!! Would really love your help most are photos that have been sent to me on Facebook messenger and I saved them to my device( kindle fire tablet) and have taken pictures with tablet and saved them! What can I do? This had been a dream of mine, since the fday he was born!!! Was horrible at photo books for my kids and regret it every day!! By the way can I make a book using actual photos of my kids? I mean can I take a picture of picture??????

  12. Sean

    Well it’s been about 3 years now. and Chatbooks has gone up to $15 for the same deal.

  13. Louise

    I make a yearly book so at the start of each year I start a book in Shutterfly and then load photos in as the year progresses–usually monthly– so I’m not doing it all at the end of the year (because let’s be honest, it’s an enormous job to try to recreate a year at the end of the year) Then once the book is done I wait for the Shutterfly free page promotion and then hit “buy”–I literally get a 200 dollar book for about 35 bucks. I buy multiple copies and give them to the grandparents as a gift.

    • Fun Cheap or Free

      Thank you for sharing! What a great idea.


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