The value of a printed image grows over time. A worthy investment for the current generation and a priceless treasure for the next.

Caryn DeFreez

As a photographer, I take thousand of images, especially of my family. Documenting our lives has always been at the very top of my list, but that means having a plan on how to preserve those images. That alone can feel like a job in itself and often times an overwhelming job that never gets carried out. Insert a game changer, Chatbooks.

I was overwhelmed trying to organize both the images I take with my real camera and the images I take with my phone and post to social media. I was printing some but honestly, that became a monumental task that got away from me. I started adding them into albums, but I always seemed to forget photos and trying to organize them just wasn't working. I was starting to feel the pressure of not having images in print for my babies to see and for them to share with their babies one day. I stumbled upon Chatbooks and the rest is history.

Chatbooks takes every single photo I post on my social media accounts and automatically adds them to books chronologically including captions with dates. WHAT! Yep, I was sold. Each book contains 60 pages (one image per page). It was super simple to set up, I could choose which platforms I wanted them to pull from and when I wanted to have the books printed. Once a book reached 60 images, it automatically started making the next book. I should mention, there were some images that didn't make it to my socials, but you have the option to go in and manually add those in. No worries, it'll toss it into the right place in your book based off of the time stamp on your image. You can go into each book before it prints and delete images you don't want to be included as well. PLUS, you get to choose the cover picture for your book as well as hardcover/softcover, spine color, title and book size.

(pictured above: The captions are in my opinion a special touch that will be worth the time when your children's children see these one day. I never would have remembered that it was the first time they helped change their baby sister or that Allison had her first taste of Green River on that date. You can go in and add captions as well as manually change them when they carry over from social). Use it as a space to share a quick story or to explain why this image meant so much or even use it to tell your family how much you adore them.

Once a month, they send me a finished book in the mail to my home! For $10.60 a book to hold all of my family images (the 6x6 size), that's a steal in my opinion, money well spent. Obviously I was taking way more than 60 images a month, so the books just stayed in my account waiting to be queued up to print the next month. On months where I had some extra cash, I'd go in manually and print a bunch of books to catch up...we were anxious to see all of our books in print. When I started Chatbooks in 2016, it pulled all of my images from 2013 going forward. To date, I have 153 volumes and counting! We love this company so darn much.

Above are the books I currently have printed. Each of the white books represent our daily lives, trips, basically every picture I've taken and wanted to keep. When designing your book, you can title the book which appears on the spine along with adding the date ranges. I've labeled all of our white books "Our Life, Documented". Each book includes the date range of the images inside as well as the volume number. My children have looked at these books so many times that they are no longer in order, but I love that, it means they really are valuing pictures of their life in print and I know decades from now, these books will mean even more to them.

So you're probably wondering about the gray books. In chatbooks, you are allowed to make custom books that aren't part of a running series. You can also choose custom colors and cover designs. I chose to make custom books of all of our vacations. I just started doing this a few years ago and it really is special to have these custom books to sit down and relive those fun adventures. I decided to make them with gray spines as well as hardcover (the white books I chose to have as a softcover). The custom books include up to 366 pages with books sizes of 6x6, 8x8 and 10x10. Price depends on amount of pages. I've gotten my sister and parents hooked on this vacation book tradition, so now we all purchase copies of our family vacations together to display in our own homes.

Chatbooks really has grown since I first began the process of securing our images in print. Along with these books, they now offer wall tiles, gift cards, lay flat books, yearbooks and more. There's no time like the present to start creating a plan for those unprinted images. Your hard work (or easy work if using Chatbooks) will be well worth the effort for generations to come.

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*My referral code gives $10 off a Chatbooks order for you and a $10 credit to me.