I've ordered a few photo books from Shutterfly (NASDAQ:SFLY) over the years, but I'm not so sure about chronicling another summer with the family that way.

After all, the end result of a vacation is no longer exclusively a collection of slick snapshots and hokey city-branded T-shirts. I took the family for a trek through three cities in Florida last week and came back with more than just a flash memory card of digital photographs.

  • I had two different cheap -- but HD -- pocket-sized video cameras with me, recording key moments along the way. Obviously I can't fit that into a static photo book.
  • When I didn't have my digital camera with me, I just used my Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone to take pictures. It works in a pinch, but I don't want to blow up iffy snapshots from a 2-megapixel camera into a keepsake photo book.

Maybe Shutterfly is way ahead of me. The company's flagship photo-sharing site began allowing video uploads Monday. In cahoots with Motionbox, Shutterfly is allowing users of its free Share sites to upload as many as 10 videos. Users can pay $29.99 a year for a premium account, with unlimited HD-quality videos, though that is probably going to be a hard sell as long as Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube is around.

However, just as photo-sharing sites like Yahoo!'s (NASDAQ:YHOO) Flickr and American Greetings' (NYSE:AM) Webshots have gone on to allow limited video uploads in recent years, it's about time that the photofinishing specialists like Shutterfly catch on, even if their marketable products are strictly photo-based merchandise. Kodak's (NYSE:EK) Kodak Gallery site also allows video clips on its user pages, but they can't be bigger than a minuscule 15 megabytes apiece. Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE:HPQ) Snapfish only accepts video uploads from paying members.

We're years -- if not decades -- away from a future of battery-based digital scrapbooks, where clips, photos, and other sensory ticklers combine to form something out of Harry Potter.

However, sites like Shutterfly can't afford to ignore the growing popularity of video until then. Social networking sites like Facebook are making it far too easy to be the resting place for unlimited photos and videos. If the photofinishing specialists aren't careful, social networking sites will be the new gateway to tomorrow's photo books.

So congrats on the evolutionary step, Shutterfly. Now let's see how long it can get away with offering just 10 videos for free.

Three more related snapshots:

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has never tried to shake it like a Polaroid picture. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.