online digital photo services

Create lasting memories with these online digital photo services.

It’s 2018 and our cell phones are either in our pockets or bags almost all of our waking hours. There are many picture-worthy moments in any given day and our cell phone camera is how we capture them –  selfies with a friend, snaps of your child being cute, pictures of your dog being cute, a beautiful meal? You’ve got to share them with your friends on Instagram. We get it, our phones are full, too. But we’re the only ones to get to see them and they’re taking up space and battery power when left on the phone.

It would be great to share an album with friends and family of last year’s events.  Doesn’t that take too much technical know how? Won’t it take too much time? Doesn’t it take creative ability to make something that looks good? Am I really just procrastinating? My answer to all of these questions is yup, all of these thoughts are running through my head, too.

If you’ve taken a picture and posted it to Facebook or Instagram, you’ve already got the technical know-how.  The online tools and services make it easy to create lovely results. Yes, it will take some time but the payoff is worth it. Don’t have enough time? Get your pictures off of the phone and into Shutterfly’s phone app. They will design the album for you for a small fee ($9.99).

Let’s get started-

Creating albums can be fun and so satisfying.

First, you’ll need access to the photos. These are my go-to options;

  1. Transfer the photos from phone to computer. Here are instructions for phone to PC, and these are for phone to your MAC. When using this method, your photos will be stored on your computer and can come off of your phone, freeing up space for the next photo shoot.
  2. Use an app from the digital photo online printing service that you’re going to use. These apps allow you to upload pictures straight from your phone to the service.


This site is user-friendly and their customer service is excellent. Pick out what size and cover material you want to use. Upload photos from your computer, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Google Photos, your phone and computer. I use the Shutterfly app on my phone so that all of my photos are easily available to start creating my masterpiece. They have on-line chat, phone and emailcustomer service options if you have a question.

Shutterfly has 3 options for designing your album;

Simple Path – gives you a little more assistance with your album. Preset backgrounds and page layouts are available for each page. Use the drop and drag tools to place your photos. This is an easier option then the Custom Path. You get to choose just what you want with a little layout help.

Custom Path – using their many templates, you decide what photos go where and what text you’d like to add. You are in charge.

Make My Own – feeling overwhelmed with not enough time? No problem – Shutterfly has designers who will create your album for you. Just upload the photos you want used, and they’ll do the rest in 3 days, at an additional cost of $9.99. You can order the book as-is or add personal touches if you like.

They even have the ability to make personalized postage stamps! How cool is that?

Costco Photo Center

Like Shutterfly, Costco has preset templates. You can also download your pictures from Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Google Photos and your device, which can be your phone or computer.

I find the Costco site to be less user-friendly, but it does turn out a great product, the best quality photos for a reasonable price. There is email and phone customer service availability.


Like the others, Snapfish has all of the templates and tools you’ll need, including an automatic red-eye remover. A nice feature is that Snapfish does in-store pickup at Walgreens, Walmart and CVS. They have the most choices of products beyond albums including clothing and blankets.

Here are our best tips to put together a great album, and share with the gang. You can do this!

Helpful tips

  • Delete, delete, delete – Be tough and upload the best pictures and delete the rest. I’m very bad at this so do as I say, not as I do.
  • Use your resources – Check with friends and family to see if they have any great pictures you can use.
  • Organize – Have a clear idea of what order you want the photos to be in. Wedding pictures in one group, family trip in another. It will save the time you spend on making the album.
  • Placement – Try to place the approximate shape and size of your pictures into the corresponding template spaces. You won’t have to edit too much.
  • Edit – Each service has an editing toolbar on the left side of the screen, and another one shows up if you tap the picture. Play around with these so you know what they do.
  • Tips – There are occasional “Tips” from the service that pop-up as you work – read them. They are helpful.
  • Inspiration – All of these services offer design ideas – look through them for inspirations and direction.
  • Add text – Pictures may say 1000 words but text will remember the where, when and with whom.
  • Proof – Proof your work before sending it to the printer. Let someone else proof it, too.
  • Test Run – If these are going to be gifts, order 1 album as a test. This is good time to edit where needed and then order more copies.
  • Rest Assured – You will get more comfortable and faster.

Here are some other ideas to put your photos to use;


Hallmark Cards

Paperless Post

Printed Cards


Simply to Impress

Online Framing


Framers Pointe

See our article You’re Invited for more party and events options.

Get comfortable and pour yourself a cup of tea, coffee or a glass of wine. Depending on the size of album, this could take a while. Have fun going over the great moments you’ve spent and be thrilled with your new albums.