My Solution for ALL THE PICTURES

Hello. My name is Kristen and I have a problem: my phone is filled with pictures.


I’m the default family historian and I love my job. It is a slippery slope though – it’s dangerously easy to let the cataloguing of my life get in the way of living it (or to let the “I’m taking the picture” get in the way of being in the picture). Before my phone became my primary camera, I had memory cards upon memory cards of photos… just sitting there or uploaded in the back-up hard drive, in some file…waiting.

Every now and then, a coupon from some photo site would catch my eye and it would prompt a momentary (and fleeting) resolve to PRINT THE PHOTOS in some book, but it wouldn’t make a dent and it was always so much work to get everything the way that I wanted it. There were so many formatting options and I’d have to pull the pictures from a few storage sources. Ugh. Too. Much. Work. (Whine, whine, whine.)  It took so much less effort just to let those pictures sit. It took NO effort to let those pictures sit. In my ideal picture book, that’s exactly the amount of effort I’m looking for…

And then I found Chatbooks.
(Seriously, I found it and I want to share the info with you – Chatbooks did not sponsor this post, I just love it THAT MUCH.)

It's just SO EASY.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve found the secret of life: Make It Automatic.
Do you have a bill that I can set up for automatic payment? Done.
Can I schedule an automatic draft for our monthly investment? Done.
Can you automatically re-enroll me so I don’t forget? AWESOME.
Can you send me clothes in the mail – ones that I might like to buy – and I don’t have to do anything but wear them? YES.
Set it and forget it. And it’s DONE! No effort required!

It’s a glorious way to live life. So, when one of the tech-y, design-y Instagram feeds I follow mentioned Chatbooks, I checked it out. So far, it’s been one of those things that really has been too good to be true. Here’s how it worked when I signed up in September of 2014: For each 60 photos in your Instagram feed, they’d print a 6×6″ softcover book and ship it to you. Payment was made only when a book shipped (that was automatic, too). Photos were printed with their caption, chronologically, and you got to pick the cover photo for each book – but you didn’t have to. That could be automatic, too – it’d just default to the first photo in that book. You could also eliminate photos from the book that you still wanted in your Instagram feed (who else has entered an Instagram contest or two?) – but you didn’t have to. Fully automatic is always the default. When I subscribed to the service, I had more than 60 photos in my Instagram feed. They let me print my entire feed, to present, choosing to break it up in a few shipments depending on how much I wanted to fork over initially. If you have a LOT of pictures, it could be pretty expensive to catch up to the present, so they’re flexible. Since then, lots and lots of people have subscribed (my friends can attest to the fact that I shared my find with them early on!), they’ve upgraded the app and increased their still-so-reasonable prices. Check it out, a description of their service – straight from the Chatbooks Instagram feed:

“Chatbooks prints Instagram, Facebook, and phone camera roll pics into 6×6″ books for $8 ($13 hardcovers). You set it all up in the Chatbooks app (only takes a minute), then never have to think about it again! Every 60 posts or pictures automatically gets put into a book and sent right to your doorstep! You can include your captions, date, and location if you’d like! You can even add a spouse or friend’s Instagram account to merge with your books so they’re all together! We like to think about it as the scrapbook for non-scrapbookers 🙂 We created the app so you don’t have to waste your precious time and money on creating photo books. Let us do the work for you!”

Now, they’ve got hardcovers, they take photos from lots of other places and have two different shipping options. There’s FREE shipping if you don’t mind waiting for your books or they have a premium to opt in to faster shipping. I’m a free shipping girl all the way. You take your sweet time, Chatbooks. I’ll be sitting over here waiting patiently for my next book that will AUTOMATICALLY SHOW UP IN MY MAILBOX. Here’s my series so far (one even shipped today!):

Our series so far.
Our series so far.

Since I’ve signed up for this service, I feel a weird freedom. I don’t have to do anything but post a picture and I can have it in my hand soon. If I don’t want EVERYONE to see it, I can upload a private memory to the books from my camera roll. My children love to sit and look through these books. They’re young enough to see themselves growing up in the pages. There are only one or two things in our home that my husband will joke, “If there’s a fire, I’m going to make sure to bring —— out before it burns.” There are precious few things we’d risk any amount to save and he put our Chatbooks in that category – until I pointed out that we could let them burn without worry – we could just order another copy of our series from the app!

Some of my other favorite apps for my role as Family Historian:
Photo editing: VSCO and Snapseed (there’s an Android version, too), although Instagram has stepped up their editing capabilities.
Saving Children’s Art: Artkive

I’ve shared. Your turn. Anything out there too good to be true that I’m missing?


Kristen is still in the middle of her love story. She and her best friend of four years gave in and finally decided to date. Two years later, she was engaged. Two years after that, she was married. She’ll celebrate her 17th wedding anniversary this May. Mom to Ellen (8) and James (5), she works full time in Human Resources outside of the home. Her children have taught her that motherhood is hard. And wonderful. And HARD. A proud alum of LSU and Johnson and Wales University, she also collects college degrees. (BS in Psychology, AS in Culinary Arts and BS in Culinary Nutrition). She’s lived in Baton Rouge a majority of her life, with sojourns in New Orleans, Charleston, SC and Providence, RI. The south is clearly home. Recovering from a nearly crippling case of adolescent insecurity, she is still the most likely to have the heel of her shoe caught in the hem of her pants.


  1. So you can add photos from your phone album and/or a regular camera too? Can you rearrange the order of some photos when you do your first order?

    • Katie – you can add photos from LOTS of sources. I add them from Instagram and my camera roll, primarily. Chatbooks organizes photos chronologically, so it might not be the best to start from the dawn on time but to start from where you are and move forward. It’s really great at maintaining the “from here on out” while you organize previous photos not already in Instagram.


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