Digital photography has simplified our lives in many ways. You can easily and quickly share an image with friends and family through social media or on your mobile device. Or you can print one out using photo paper. Gone are the days of dropping off rolls of film and getting back a heavy envelope to find out how your graduation or vacation photos turned out. You also no longer have to find ways to store all of those physical photos or worry about what time will do to those photos in your memory boxes.

What digital photography has done to free up space in our attics and closets, online photo books have done to free up our shelves and storage units of heavy, bulky photo and scrapbooking albums. You can easily create a custom photo book using a service like Mixbook and have a keepsake that will last years – and take up considerably less space in your home.

Just as digital photography has made photography as a hobby and a way to document and preserve memories more affordable than traditional methods, online photo book creation has done the same for sharing and keeping those photos. Custom photo books can cost as little as $14.99 for the smaller book options.

As long as you have access to an internet connection and the digital photos you want to preserve, you can create custom photo books that showcase your favorite moments in life. Mixbook is a photo book service that offers hundreds of premade book templates in popular themes, such as wedding, travel and family.

You get to choose the size of your book, the cover material, the design and how many pages, from 10 to 399. Mixbook lets you choose from three different standard shapes of books, including landscape, portrait and square. You can go with softcover, hardcover or leather cover for your book, and the hardcover and leather options include a dust jacket to protect the photo book. The design is entirely up to you, so you can go with a premade template, start your design from scratch or edit the template to make your custom photo book unique. Whether you want to showcase a single event with only a couple dozen photos or you want to create a family yearbook with hundreds of photos, you can make the size of book you need.

It doesn't matter if you're new to design. Most online photo book services guide you through the process of creating a personalized photo book. And with services like Mixbook, you have a multitude of design choices. You can use borders, embellishments and even different fonts as design elements.

Your first plan of action should be choosing the photos you want to use. It can be overwhelming if you choose too many photos, but you definitely want more photos at the beginning so you can edit down to the right ones. Consider what you want your photo album book to say to the viewer. You're telling a story through your images, and you can include captions or blurbs of text to help with the storytelling.

Most photo book services include photo editing tools in their applications, which eliminates the need for you to invest in additional photo editing software. You should adjust brightness and contrast where you can and resize or crop, if you want to focus on certain parts of a photo. Once you have your photos edited and ready to drop into the template of your choosing, you're only minutes away from finishing your custom photo book.

Mixbook makes designing a personalized photo book even easier with its AutoMix tool that randomizes your uploaded photos in the chosen template. You can then drag and drop the photos into different locations if you prefer. Then you simply choose the photo you want for your cover and add any text you want to the front, back and spine of the book and you're done.

After you place your order, the processing only takes up to three days with Mixbook, so you could have your personalized photo book in hand within a week. Custom photo books are not only easy to make – they're affordable and thoughtful gifts. They're attractive from cover to cover, so you can show them off in your home rather than tuck them away in storage. A photo book is a great way to preserve your memories and showcase the important moments of life.

More Top Stories