Family photo albums are a treasured keepsake in many homes. Pictures truly are worth a thousand words. They are able to capture moments and memories that would likely be forgotten otherwise. The trouble in our day of digital pictures is that they often stay in a file on our computer or are shared on the Web without ever making physical prints. Make sure all those great pictures you are taking are remembered by creating a photo book.

If being creative and scrapbooking is your style, go for it. There are so many neat options and accessories to make your album a work of art. However, for me and many others, creating an online photo album is a great choice.

There are many online photo book companies. A list of the top 10 best photo book services for 2013 can be found here. You'll find a lot of options as well as tips and reviews. They are user friendly, offer good customer service and support and turn out a great product. Multiple copies can easily be ordered. Your album will be saved online should you need another print in the future. I love the option of using your very best pictures in your album and putting all the hundreds of unused pictures on a photo CD at the back of the book.

Gathering pictures and creating a book can be a daunting task. But remember that it can also be fun and will offer a great return for the rest of your life. Let's get started.

  • Collect pictures. The first thing to do is collect all the pictures you will want for this album. Check picture files on your computer, on your phone, or ask friends or family to send pictures. Upload your pictures to your site of choice. I prefer to organize my pictures by month so that I can easily find the ones I am looking for and not forget any events I wish to highlight in my books. Here are 7 more ways to preserve digital pictures.

  • Start at the beginning. Chronological order makes sense for most photo books, but decide on the style and flow of the book you want, then begin. A title page and introduction will set the mood. These are your pictures and your story. There are countless options to truly make this book your own. I like to include entries from my kids' journals or quote the fun things they say, even if there aren't specific pictures that go along with it.

  • Some albums will only have photos, but others will want to include dates, names, locations and the stories behind the pictures. Captions and details help to fill in the blanks years down the road. Even the best of us forget details. And don't forget to include last names of friends, neighbors, teachers and classmates. Write them down.

Once your album is complete and ordered find something to occupy your time until it arrives in the mailbox. It's seriously as good as Christmas every time I open the pages of a new book. I also recommend displaying your books where they will be taken down and looked through again and again.

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