PastBook for travel photo albums

By Cynthia Kenyon
This item appears on page 16 of the July 2018 issue.

When traveling, I take time each night to edit my photos on Facebook and create a posting of five to 40 photos with captions.

I abandoned making scrapbooks years ago. I then tried making custom photo books after trips, but it took lots of time to look through photos and layouts. My big discovery was that I can use my Facebook postings to easily create a quality photo book.

To set up a photo book after I return from a trip, I use PastBook ( The book can be created and ordered in 10 minutes by just stating the dates from your Facebook account that you want to have in the book, then selecting the book size, choosing another cover photo if you don’t like the one they’ve selected and answering two upgrade questions. Then you just pay for it with a credit card, and the finished book arrives in the mail within a week and a half!

I’ve been fairly pleased with the photo books I’ve created from my Facebook entries* for my last three trips. However, while the quality is good, the order of the photos is not in the sequence I want. The order of the pages in each book corresponds to when the photos were posted, so they’re not always in the order of when they were taken on the trip.

Also, inside each posting, the photos are from most recent to oldest. If you want the photos in chronological order, you must spend extra time to rearrange them by using the “Customize” setting.

The caption (if I wrote one) and the date are printed in the margin below any horizontal picture, but the caption is superimposed on the bottom of each vertical photo, making it more difficult to read.

While captions do get printed, the overall comment at the beginning of a post sometimes doesn’t get printed. For example, “Sanok, Poland — Open-Air Folk Architecture Museum” didn’t print, while the caption for each picture in the post did print.

Captions that are too long get cut off, with a maximum of 350 characters per post. I keep these things in mind when I craft my captions.

For our month-long trip to Poland in October 2017, I created 31 postings. With six of the larger postings (each of which contained 30 or more photos), all of the pictures did not download into the book. I’m not sure why. I could have laboriously included them by using the “Customize” setting, but I didn’t.

I did use the “Customize” setting to customize the book to my satisfaction. It took me eight hours to put the posts as well as the photos within each post in order and rewrite some captions. This was much less time than I previously would have spent creating a photo book after a trip.

There can be up to 300 pages in a hardcover book and 500 in a softcover. There are two sizes available, small (8½"x6") and large (8½"x12"), each able to hold one to four photos per page. For a large, hardcover book with 286 pages (I chose two photos per page), I paid $81.50. PastBook offers discounts on the site and special offers via email.

When I submitted a request for help from their website, I got an immediate response.**


Portland, OR

*Photo books can also be created with photos taken on Instagram.

**To obtain answers to questions about PastBook, click “Help” near the top of the homepage, then on “Submit a request” in the upper-right-hand corner. A form will appear, allowing you to ask your questions.