One of the many hats you wear as a mom is memory keeper. No pressure, but those little snaps on your phone are what preserves your kids childhood. Ever felt stressed when it comes to, ‘what to do with all those digital photos you’re pilling high?’ Perfect! You’re in the right spot. I’m going to walk you through my best tips for making a family photo album.
Imagine this if you will. You take an adorable photo of your toddler with birthday cake all over their face. The photo is safely sitting inside your phone. Later that night you thumb through the days activities and can’t believe he’s another year older! Ugh the time!
You set your phone down and flip on Netflix cause, well it’s been a day! Go to bed, and morning comes too fast. The next day happens and then the next and that little photo with the birthday cake gets piled on. The memories of each day after. Then 15 years down the road you have a teenager. He’s driving!! If only you could go back. If the two of you could sit on the couch one evening and flip through that birthday and the cake and the little hands and bath time and reading on that very same couch The Little Blue Truck for the 900th time!
But you can’t. Cause those photos, those memories from today are buried under thousands of other memories.
If this is giving you a little bit of low level anxiety and the fire in your belly to get something done today then great! That’s what we’re going to do. I want to go deep with you into this issue because it’s more important than we may think.
This week on the Unhurried Life Podcast I take you through the best tips for making a family photo album. Tips I’ve learned and figured out from the past 7 years of doing this process. A family photo album has become one of the best gifts I give myself and those that share the same 4 walls with me!
How Do I Create a Family Photo Album?
Lately my 2 year old has come up with the phrase, “Mommy, it’s too hard for me” when I ask him to do simple tasks like put his socks in the dirty clothes basket or put his shoes away. I’m thinking somewhere along the line I did ask him to do something that was hard and so I helped him, probably by doing it for him. Now, that’s all he can think of, “too hard, mommy do”.
Sometimes we have a task ahead of us that seems too hard and so we want to pass it off to someone else or just not do it at all. This is super common and I’ve found myself in this place often. From where you’re standing the task at hand seems “too hard for you”. Let me come in and show you the steps. After you get through them you’ll look back and say, “oh, that really wasn’t hard at all” you just needed a friend to show you the way.
ORGANIZE YOUR PHOTOS
This is a strange analogy but makes a lot of sense so stick with me. In our family we wear a lot of socks. My boys tend to go through several pairs a day and my husband wears dress socks to work then changes to workout socks when he gets home. These boys and their socks.
On laundry day I have a LOT of socks to find, pair, and put away. But what if I just dumped all the laundry into the drawers and didn’t take the time to sort? (I wish!)
Creating a family photo album starts with finding the photos and sorting them before you can put them away in a nice neat yearbook!
In case a small wave of dread/low level anxiety hit you when I said, “organize your photos” don’t worry, this is my specialty and I have the perfect step by step guide for you.
What Are the Best Photo Albums?
I’m one of those ladies, the scrapbooker. I used to love spending hours with my best friend after a trip we just took (together) pasting single photos onto a 12×12 page. Perfectly laid out and all the right color coordination. When my oldest brother moved off to college my mom turned his bed room into the scrapbook room and we went nuts with it.
We had a whole closet of papers, embellishments, stickers, and more. We even had a special printer that printed on 12×12 and a giant work table with scissors, hole punches, markers, and more. We had tubs of photos and to complete one album must have taken around 973 hours!!! Yes, this was before I had children if you’re wondering.
Scrapbooking was so fun, it was a creative outlet and I loved doing it.
But then I had kids. For me, creating 1 album at 973 hours for about 37 photos wasn’t going to work anymore. (Insert monkey covering his eyes emoji!!! haha) Now I had about 973 photos that all needed to fit into 1 album and 1 hour to do it!
MAKING A SCRAPBOOK
When it comes to picking the best type of family album for your life you have a few things to consider. Scrapbooking is for sure a fun route, and a creative one. If this is where your passion and heart lies, I say there is nothing wrong with it.
But if you’re making a family yearbook scrapbook try to have all your photos printed before you even start so you can see how many pages this will take. There is a lot of planning that goes into scrapbooks and if it’s what you want to do I say go for it. Scrapbooking is so fun. Me and my kids enjoy looking through these scrapbooks because they were all we had “back then”. 15 years ago there were not a lot of options. I’m so thankful for the high school and college memories I preserved and can now share with my kids, thanks to scrapbooks!
So when it comes to making a scrapbook to hold all your memories there are a lot of fun ideas and the process is much more in depth. Going the route means a little more planning but there are some great resources out there!
CREATING A DIGITAL PHOTO BOOK
Creating a digital photo album seems to be the way the world is trending these days. There are a lot of reasons for this. Digital yearbooks are fast, easy and quick to duplicate. And since most of our photos are digital it makes the process flow much easier.
Once you have all your photos sorted and organized this process can be a breeze. I make my family photo album in about an hour to 2 hours every January 1. The feeling of dragging and dropping, month by month into my template and then adding quick captions is so exciting. I press order and we all wait with anticipation as the album company prints our little life up and mails it to our door!
The choice is yours when it comes to deciding which is best for you.
Creating a digital Photo book is the route I take and so I have a lot of tips and tricks that make this process seamless and easy. I have a 1 hour free workshop where I go into this process much deeper. From organizing to digital photo book to printed photos. Click here to sign up for it!
HOW MANY FAMILY PHOTO BOOKS SHOULD I MAKE?
This seems to be a question that comes up frequently. When you start thinking down the road and factoring in your kids (because creating a family yearbook is mostly for your kids!) you wonder, how many books should I make? One for each kid? One for us and grandparents?
My answer is one for your family. In most cases printing one photo album for your family is all you need. I have a simple system for organizing all your photos and getting in the habit of printing photos off your phone and organizing those too. Since we’re talking about albums here I don’t want to veer off track too much by going into photo organization but it is a key factor.
Printing a second book to use as a gift for grandparents is a great idea but that means the book leaves your house. Your house will only have one yearbook.
5 Tips for Creating Simple Photo Books
Now let’s dive into actually creating the photo books. I’m going on the assumption you will be making a digital photo book and your photos are all ready for you to drag and drop into the book.
First, pick your album company and stick with them. This helps with consistency and uniformity as well as templates.
In case you’re like 98% of the people out there I talk to and you want me to tell you the best album company to choose, I’m happy to. I use Blurb to create my albums.
Are there other companies that do a great job and look amazing? Yes, of course. But I started using blurb years ago and have stuck with them. They’re great however I have a few other recommendations that I’ll talk about in the free Photo Organization Workshop coming up as well!
Second, create “personal templates” instead of using the pre-made ones to make sure your pages look and hold what you want them to. I’ll admit, some of my personal templates are designed to hold 30 photos on one page. There are some months that a lot happens and I want to get them all in.
Third, think simple and modern when laying them out. Could you keep the background white and use the same font throughout? The more colors and font changes the slower the process becomes. Also, 10 years from now white will still be in, I promise!
Next, keep captions short and sweet, this is not a novel, remember a picture is worth 1000 words. Keep captions full of facts, names and locations let the photos do the talking. Keeping captions full of facts instead of telling drawn out stories means you don’t have to spend time thinking back and captions can be fast and simple.
Lastly, set a goal print date, a date the album must be completed by and DO NOT MISS YOUR DEADLINE! I always make sure that one of my husbands birthday gifts is our family album. His birthday is in the beginning of February meaning I have about 2 weeks to work on the album and it usually takes about 2 weeks to print and ship!
SHOULD I MAKE DUPLICATE FAMILY YEARBOOKS?
This is a complicated question and can have a variety of answers. If you’re talking about the family yearbook, I think it’s best to make one book. With most companies they keep your digital album on file so you can go back and print another one later.
In fact, one year my family album had so much TLC that by March I had to go back in and reorder due to sticky fingers, ripped paper and sharpie … yea sharpie! Initially its fine to order one album. One album insures less physical clutter. You have to think about where you’ll be storing or displaying these albums as the years build and your albums multiply year by year.
HOW TO MAKE A BABY BOOK
Baby books are my exceptions to the rule of one. Every year I make one book. I used to print a yearbook and then also create and print vacation books. Not anymore. I print 1 big book that has it all except for when one of my babies turns 1. That year I create a baby book for that child.
The baby book contains all my pregnancy photos, maternity photos, hospital, first meetings, monthly photos, and the Birthday party. Right after the party I put the book together and print it up. That year we have a family photo album and a baby book.
I use a template for this book and I pay to get extra thick pages that will last and last. Every year on that child’s birthday we get to cuddle on the couch and talk about what their journey into the world and first year here together using photos to spark memories!
When you’re making a baby book for your child make sure you have all the photos and a good template!
Why Should I Make a Family Yearbook?
Your purpose behind making a family photo album is going to be what keeps you going on the process. Think for a second, put yourself in your shoes 20 years down the road. Technology will be totally different than we’re used to today. Kids will be older, homes will be left, grades will be completed, and you may even have new additions.
What will you have to reflect on from today?
This is how you can meet your deadline. This is what will keep you going when it comes to sorting years past. Knowing your why and who this book is really for. It’s for your kids. It’s for the generation growing up right now. Amidst the pandemic and ever changing government. These kids of today have YOU to show them what their childhood was about. What growing up in 2020 was really like, inside your 4 walls.
KEEP THE PROCESS SIMPLE
I’ve worked with a lot of women and sorted tens of thousands of photos with them. I’ve gone through so many different processes and systems and I’ve found what works best. The best tips for making a family photo album and getting all your photos sorted are all here!
You need some quick wins. It helps when you have a guide, a map and a plan to tackle this task that’s been in the back of your head for years now. The new year is here and you have a fresh start. Don’t let this one fly by and this resolution be on the list again.
Join me for the live Photo Organization Workshop: 3 reasons why organizing your photos is actually way easier than you think and get this one crossed off you list!
The simpler and fewer roadblocks you have the more likely it is that you get it done!
To sum up all we’ve talked about today here and over on the Unhurried Life Podcast I’ve got 4 tips for creating a family photo album you can remember easily! O.D.C.K!
4 TIPS FOR CREATING A FAMILY PHOTO ALBUM
- Organize your photos
- Decide on the type of book – scrapbook vs digital photo book
- Choose your purpose for making a book – Who will the book be for?
- Keep the process simple
I want to invite you to get all the steps and best tips. Getting memories organized, preserved and safe so that our kids (the next generation) have a story to tell – this is a big deal and I know it’s something you’ve been wanting to do for a while now. After 10+ years as a professional photographer I’ve done all the work when it comes to best practices for organizing your photos and getting them backed up and safe.
I want you to join me for my very first live workshop designed to share your story for years to come. Each and every one of us have a story to share, but too many people have no idea where to begin when it comes to telling their story with photos. Which is where my workshop comes in. It’s totally free so come save your seat!
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