what makes Photo & Story Treasures the best

When I started as a Heritage Makers consultant in 2005, nobody asked me this question! EVER!  That's because nobody had ever seen a personalized hardbound book before!  It was UNIQUE.  When Forever came along in 2013, it offered a similar high quality with additional storage and digitizing services.  Photo & Story Treasures recommends both Heritage Makers-YPhoto and Forever. 

But nowadays you can make photo books at drugstore and big box company websites, so people want to know:

What's the difference between Photo & Story Treasures (which includes Forever and/or Heritage Makers-YPhoto) and other seemingly similar options?

I have never used anything but Heritage Makers-YPhoto and Forever, but I actually get a lot of feedback from my clients.  So here are EIGHT things my clients have told me over the years that make Photo and Story Treasures (including both Forever and Heritage Maker-YPhoto) better than anything they've seen before:

Why waste time and money on something that won't last?  While freebies and gimmicks can be tempting when looking to preserve photos, memories, and stories, the most important thing you should know about what you're getting is the quality.  Never settle for anything less than what you can get with Forever and Heritage Makers-YPhoto:  heirloom-quality products that can be passed down to the next generation and the next.  All products are printed on high-quality papers that are acid-free and lignin-free.  The hardbound books have a stitched binding.  (Beware of companies that glue pages in books because regular glue yellows and cracks over time, causing the pages to fall out.)  Softbound books (and Forever hardbound books over 60 pages) use a binding method superior to glue called the PUR method, also called "perfect binding" in publishing circles, which acts like glue but is actually a chemical bonding process.  These bindings are the best there are.
I have several clients who came to Heritage Makers after trying something else that didn't last very long.  Quality is a big deal at both Forever and Heritage Makers-YPhoto.  With Photo & Story Treasures, we're not out to offer a product or make a sale--we aim to offer heritage.  

With Heritage Makers-YPhoto:  Projects stay in your account indefinitely (unless YOU delete them), as long as you maintain an active account (used at least every 18 months.  So create a meaningful and impressive gift or preserve your cherished photos and memories with a family photo-story yearbook once a year, and you'll always have an active account.)  Plus, every project you make with Heritage Makers is protected by Heirloom Assurance--if anything happens to your project, you can get a replacement copy at half price!!  (That means my job isn't saving people from burning buildings--it's saving people from having to run INTO burning buildings after their photos!)  Heirloom Assurance is personally very important to me!

With Forever:  Projects stay in your account indefinitely (unless YOU delete them).  In addition to photos and photo projects, you may also store videos, PDFs, and audio files, all of which are guaranteed to outlive you by at least 100 years.  (See more at #5.)

Because Photo & Story Treasures offers both Heritage Makers-YPhoto and Forever, it's easy to find a high-quality home for your photos and memories that fits your preferences, needs and style.  Whether you like full creative ability on each page or a more straightforward process, it's here.

With Heritage Makers-YPhoto:  The Heritage Makers software program, Studio, is a drag-and-drop format (similar to Canva) that allows you to add photos and text anywhere on a page.  You are not limited at all.  You can add pages to books up to 99.  Every page and both covers are COMPLETELY CUSTOMIZABLE.  What I hear most is that Heritage Makers is just more personal.  You have lots of options for creating, and I have made many video tutorials (think of them like me sitting down with you and walking you through all the buttons and features).  Heritage Makers offers templates along with design-it-yourself products, and even templates are 100% editable so you can personalize your book exactly to you.

NOTE:  Heritage Makers' Studio has run on Adobe Flash since its inception in 2004, so with Adobe's announcement of the discontinuation of Flash, new software is in the works which will be called YPhoto.  There will be a Simple Editor with available templates to quickly personalize, and Full Editor which will be much like Studio.

With Forever:  To meet a variety of needs and preferences, you have three options for preserving your precious photos and memories with Forever.  
  • AutoPrint will auto-populate a book (or other project) with your photos and a simple background of your choosing.  From there, you can adjust the photos as desired and add captions.
  • Design & Print has designer pages with a simple digital scrapbooking look.  Choose a template, then choose a pre-set design for each page that will fit your needs.  Add text in designated locations to tell your story and preserve the memories.
  • Artisan is Forever's digital scrapbooking software.  I might describe it as a combination of Heritage Makers' Studio software and PhotoShop.  It's full creativity and the ability to place photo, text, and embellishments anywhere you want on a page and covers.  Artisan is a program you purchase and download to your computer.  It currently operates on Windows 10 and 11, and can run on Macs with partitioning.  A Mac version is in the works, but no release date is announced yet.  Something some people really like about creating with Artisan is that the program automatically saves a PDF version of your project right to your computer.  You own the PDF, so you can print it anywhere, share it digitally, and have a digital backup of your project.
Both Heritage Makers-YPhoto and Forever have an impressive offering of beautiful digital art.  (See Forever's here and Heritage Makers' here.)  Both art collections are enormous, but there are some differences to consider.

With Heritage Makers-YPhoto:  You don't buy or download any of the digital art.  This means you have access to almost 300,000 pieces of digital art any time you login to your Heritage Makers account.  Everything you need is right in your free account.  The Basic Art Collection is free for all Heritage Makers users, and the Premier Art Collection is free for Club HM members (which is awesome because Club HM is just pre-paying for your published items and getting a little free--so every penny goes toward books and other products, and then you get the enormous Premier Art Collection free).  You may also purchase Premier access if you prefer.
  • pros:  You don't pay extra for digital art.  You don't need extra room in your computer memory to store digital art.  You can access "your" digital art from any computer with an internet connection.
  • cons:  You can only use the beautiful digital art for printed Heritage Makers projects.  Some people get overwhelmed at the amount of digital art there is (though there is a search field to help you find what you want).
With Forever:  All designs and digital art in Design & Print templates are already included and do not cost extra.  If you use Artisan, there are several free art collections, but you'll most likely want to buy some digital art collections.  With Forever, art collections are purchased and downloaded to your computer.  (Also, Forever has a digital scrapbooking group called Pixels2Pages where Forever Artisan specialists called "Pixies" give you ideas, videos, and trainings.)
  • pros:  You don't have to sort through digital art that isn't your style or preference while looking for what you do want--you just buy what you like.  Because you download the digital art, it's on your computer and you can use it for anything you want to create, even if it's not a Forever project.
  • cons:  You do have to spend money on digital art (unless you want to stick with only the freebies).  You will need extra storage space on your computer for your digital art.  You can only create with Artisan and your art using the computer they're downloaded to. 
NOTE:  One great way to save money on digital art (and everything else at Forever) is to make sure you click the yellow Deals tab.  Almost everything is on sale almost all the time.  Another great way to save money is to use your referral link.  When you open your (free) Forever account, you'll have a referral link that you can share with friends.  Each time your friends open a new Forever account using your referral link, they get a $20 coupon and so do you!  So if you love Forever and you have 3 friends you think will love it, too, (and they open accounts), then you've just earned $60 free!  (I've bought a lot of digital art that way!)

Both Forever and Heritage Makers-YPhoto reserve NO rights to your photos.  (Imagine my surprise when a client told me that this is not true with all "photobook" companies--some retain rights to your photos to use as they wish!  Read this scary article for more details on companies using your photos.)  

Your photos are stored in full resolution in your Heritage Makers-YPhoto and/or your Forever account.  Because photos are stored in full resolution, you can download them back to your computer or hard drive at any time and retain the original quality.  (I was also surprised when another client told me that some "photobook" companies actually charge a fee for you to download your own photos!)  

With Heritage Makers:  Photos published in your projects are stored for free in your Heritage Makers account.  You have additional storage for unused projects (25GB for Club HM members, 2 GB for others).  You may buy additional photo storage.  You can share photo folders between Heritage Makers users.  You may download your photos back to your computer for free, one at a time.

With Forever:  All Forever account holders have 2 GB free photo storage.  One of Forever's unique goals is to give people access to free, full-resolution, private photo storage.  Beyond 2 GB, you buy photo storage, which means that you OWN it!  You don't rent it or pay a fee.  You can share photos with others, set an additional administrator to your account, and store not only photos but videos, PDFs, and audio files.  Photo storage owners also have the amazing benefit of updated file formats.  That means that if a file format (like .jpg or .mp4) ever becomes obsolete, Forever will update them.  You may download your photos back to your computer for free, 50 at a time.  Forever storage also allows for tagging of photos and other organizational options.

NOTE:  Forever also offers digitizing services, so if you have VHS tapes you want made into DVDs (or just digital files) or film you want made into prints or 12x12 scrap pages you want scanned, you'll get white-glove service through the Forever Box.  Forever offers video streaming plans as well (like your own private YouTube).

Both Forever and Heritage Makers-YPhoto are committed to not skimping on quality while retaining competitive prices.  Best prices are through Club and sales.  Here's how each one works:

With Heritage Makers-YPhoto:  
  • Club HM gives you free Premier Art access plus $10 free publishing every month you're on it.  Best of all, it's FREE to join!  Allow Club HM to renew month after month, and you can save up Publishing Points (they're like Heritage Makers dollars) to spread out the cost of publishing a larger or more expensive item, or multiple copies of something.  Club HM is $50 for 60 Publishing Points (so, 10 free), and Points expire after 2 years.  Join and quit Club HM as you like--no commitment.  Club HM started in early 2012, and I've been on it every month since!  Get all the details here.  
  • Sales on Heritage Makers products vary by month (see the "specials" tab here along the top at this blog for the latest).  When you publish specified products during that month, they are 15% off.
With Forever:  
  • Forever Club saves you 5% on everything at Forever from printed books and photo storage plans to Artisan software and digital art.  Forever Club is also FREE to join!  Forever Club Dollars never expire.  You may join and quit Forever Club as you like--there's no minimum commitment--but if you stay on the same level for 3 consecutive months, you earn free storage (as long as you have purchased some storage).  Forever Club has four levels:  $25, $50, $100, and $250, each with their own amount of free photo storage included.  You can also mix and match (like $25 and $50 if $75 is your sweet spot).  I like that I can use my Forever Club Dollars for anything--trying out Pixels2Pages for a month, buying digital art, ordering a mug or calendar or book, etc.
  • Deals on Forever products and services are at the yellow Deals tab at the website.  Just about everything is on sale at Forever just about all the time, so if something you want isn't on sale, just wait a couple of weeks.  Check back at the Deals page often, too, because there's a Daily Deal every day as well.

The benefits of having a real-life person to consult any time is very valuable!  From just asking basic questions to bouncing ideas off of, a consultant (ME!) can help you have a fabulous Heritage Makers-YPhoto or Forever experience every time.  Your consultant is your go-to person--not customer service on the other side of the world.  (And if you're curious, both Forever and Heritage Makers-YPhoto do have customer service, but it's here in the U.S.)  Here's my contact information.
Photo & Story Treasures (ft. Forever and Heritage Makers-YPhoto) REALLY IS better than anything you've seen!!  You'll get exactly what you want in highest-quality products at competitive prices while maintaining privacy.