How to make a holiday album with your iPhone or iPad and iPhoto

The holidays are filled with family, friends, and fun. They created laughter, and love, and memories. Thanks the iPhone and iPad, it's easier than ever to capture those memories and hold onto that laughter and love all year long. As convenient as our digital devices are, however, sometimes we want something more substantial to hold in our hands or gift to our loved ones. Sometimes we want a photo album. Well, with iPhoto on your Mac, you can easily take your iPhone or iPad pictures, lay them out just the way you like, and have Apple print and ship you your very own holiday album. Here's how!

Before you book

Before you even launch iPhoto, make sure you shoot a bunch pictures. Don't just shoot the lights and the candles, the trees and the menorahs, the ornaments and the dreidels, the meals being cooked and eaten, the gifts being wrapped, stacked, and opened. Shoot the people. The kids and the grandkids, parents and grandparents, friends and their friends. Show the holidays through their actions and reactions. Make sure they take some shots of you too! Don't be afraid to get in close. Really close! Capture all the sights and textures, Capture as much of it as you can!

Get the kids involved

Making a photo book can be a great family project. Not only can the kids or grandkids help take more than enough photos, they can help lay out the book. Same with grandparents, friends, or anyone else who happens to be around. Making a photo book is a fantastic project to bring the whole family together.

Getting started with iPhoto

Once you've gotten more than enough photos, and you're back home safe and sound, you're ready to share!

  1. Launch iPhoto on your Mac. (it's free and comes with OS X, the software that runs your Mac.)
  2. If you use iCloud and Photo Stream, wait for your photos to sync over. If you took a lot, it may take several minutes, even on a fast Wi-Fi connection.
  3. If you don't use iCloud, or you want to go even faster, connect your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to your Mac using your Lightning or 30-pin Dock connector and sync your Camera Roll to iPhoto over USB.
  4. Select the photos you want to use in your book.
  5. Click on the Share button at the bottom right.
  6. Click on Book.
  7. Choose the format (hardcover, wired, etc.), style (picture book, journal, etc.), size (L, XL, etc.), and color of the book project you want to start.
  8. Click on Create.
  9. Click on each page to edit the photos and text.
  10. Click on Buy Book once you're done.

Making your holiday book your own

Apple offers a ton of options for your book. You can choose between hard cover and soft cover, and whether you want it wire bound or not. You can pick the theme by either using the drop down (handy if you already know which one you want), or the carousel to browse them all (handy if this is your first book).

You can choose the size at the bottom left, either large (L) or extra large (XL), and the paper color at the bottom right.

Once you've picked all that and created your new book project, you can still change your mind about the theme using the "change theme" button at the top right.

iPhoto will pre-populate your book with all the photos you chose. If you haven't chosen enough photos to fill the book, you'll need to choose more photos, change the page layout to show fewer photos per page, or even repeat a few of your favorites.

Click on a page to change the layout, photos, arrangement, options, or text. Click on a photo or text block to move or edit it, or click on Options to add things like borders or captions.

Once you're done and happy, click Buy Book and Apple will get the process started!

Bottom line

The holidays come and go with amazing, sometimes alarming speed, but the photos you take can last a very long time. Keep them on your iPhones and iPads, by all means, but if there are some you really love, or think your loved ones will really love, then make yourself a Photo book, or make one as a gift for your friends or family. That way, it'll be cherished for years and years to come!

Made any books using iPhoto? Making one now? Let me know what you made and how it turned out!