Every year, I create two categories of photo books--a family photo album and my children's school work (more on school books here).
In an effort to help you organize those 2020 photos (though they may be a bit scarce and feature a lot of the inside of your home), I'm going to outline the steps I take to create our family album. Full disclosure: I realize this post will make it sound like I've got it together for a working mom with two kids, but please know that I often don't get to the previous year's album until November of the following year!
I start by creating a photo on my external hard drive for the calendar year--in this case, called "2020." When I capture photos on my DSLR, I load them into the folder according to month, and I usually go through and edit after each event. When the photos are from my cell phone, I upload them all into one subfolder within 2020.
I also create a list of all important events for the year, starting in January and going through the Christmas holiday in December. I include events like dance recitals, vacations and school field trips. Holidays and school pictures are also included on the list. I make sure everything is in chronological order.
After making sure all photos are in the 2020 folder, I painstakingly go through an initial culling. I place a copy of a few of each event and holiday into yet another folder which I appropriately call "Favorites." This folder will also include some favorite photos from the year with family and friends that may not fit into a specific event or category (more on that later).
Next, it's time to begin designing. I have always preferred a square photo album, and the 10x10 size fits perfectly onto a shelf and also allows for photos to be big enough to enjoy. Mpix provides a great quality photo book, and offers them in a variety of price ranges and sizes (I recently ordered a 10x10 economy photo book). Their layouts are a bit limited, but they offer some manual manipulation of the design that allows for more variety. I've also used Shutterfly in the past, but they've recently discontinued their 10x10 photo books.
Upload your photos into an album on your preferred online retail site. Slowly and carefully start placing them in order of the calendar year, saving the inside cover (first page) for special photo(s). Generally, I place school pictures in the September/October time frame. I often have a "Summer Fun" page for all those silly pool pics and backyard barbeques that I want to include. After the events of the year are documented, there will likely be some favorite pictures that just didn't quite fit into a specific page. I add these to "Friends" and "Family" spreads using layouts that allow for a bunch of photos.
Did you have a favorite photo or photos? I generally use these for my intro page, and I add a caption below with a title and calendar year. For example,
The Jones Family
I also go back and add captions to pages where a bit more explanation is needed, especially when you go back to look at the photo book years from now.
Then, and this is the hard part--I let it sit for a few weeks. Often, I remember some sports photos I ordered that I want to add to the book, or I think of a photo that a friend took on her cell that I need to request and add. I'm always happy I waited so I can get those last few photos in!
That being said, don't expect perfection. In the end, there is usually something I've forgotten or a teeny tiny typo somewhere in the book. I've managed to get over these, because I'm so glad to have years of photo books on my shelf!
I also adhere a little clear pocket to the back cover of each book. This is a great place for adding in the family holiday card or a special ticket (or a picture that you forgot about until after printing). One year, I included a pair of those eclipse glasses as a fun memory!
Finally, look for some promo codes and place your order!
Summary of the process:
Upload photos into a "2020" folder
Create a list of all the year's events and holidays
Copy and paste your favorite photos into a folder within "2020" called "Favorites"
Select your photo book printer and upload photos
Place photos in book starting from January and going through December, then add Friends and Family spreads
Add title page and captions as needed.
Wait, and do a final edit.
It is very easy to get overwhelmed with this process. There is no deadline and therefore no hurry. Try and enjoy reviewing your memories, and know that you will be glad you completed your annual book. Let me know if you have questions about the process, and I'll do my best to answer them.
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