I create an annual photo book and it is the perfect way to showcase our entire year of photos. Instead of pictures stuck on my phone or camera that never get printed, they are all together in one nice book that can be enjoyed by our whole family. I’m going to share some of my best tips for creating a family photo book.
Start With The Most Recent Year
Deciding to take the plunge and start creating family photo books can be an exciting decision! But then you realize you have over eight years to catch up on it can feel very daunting. It might seem logical to start from the beginning, but my suggestion would be to start with the most recent year and work your way backwards. I think this technique works because it is fun working with your most recent pictures because everything is fresh in your mind. And I think people are more likely to give up on the project if they start working with photos from eight years ago because it might feel like you will never get fully caught up.
Use Pictures from Social Media
My husband and I have gotten into the good habit of saving most of the SnapChat images we send to each other pertaining to our family happenings. Last year I placed all of these SnapChat pictures in our family photo album and they ended up being some of my favorite pages in the entire album.
These twelve pages of SnapChats feel like a true, candid glimpse into my family’s day-to-day lives. Some of the pictures are of our boys crying, a delicious home cooked meal, spilled milk, or a cool lego tower. I’d recommend including some of your candid photos from SnapChat, Instagram, or Facebook in your photo album.
I scan documents and use in my book to give it more of a “scrapbook” feel. Some example of things I’ve scanned are birthday cards, swimming lesson certificates, daycare art projects, our annual Christmas card, and hospital birth certificates. And if you don’t have a scanner you could easily lay the document down on the floor and snap a picture. I think including these types of documents really adds a personal touch to the photo book. I never know how long to hang on to birthday cards, so I like that I can scan them, add them to my book, and then toss the cards out.
I have a good technique for collecting all these documents I want to add to the photo book; in our mudroom I have a magazine holder for each of my boys with their name on it. Whenever I have papers or other things I want to save for our book I simply toss it in their magazine holder. Then, when I have time to sit down and work on the photo book I just grab the magazine holders and I know that everything is in there ready to be scanned. It saves a lot of time not having to dig through drawers looking for old papers, or worrying about losing them.
Don’t Spend Time Making It Perfect
I am a graphic designer so I thought I would create cool, custom photo book pages. But I quickly discovered how much extra time that was going to take. Maybe in a different season of life I will sit down and create custom layouts, but right now with two little boys I don’t have that kind of time. So I let go of perfectionism and decided to make each page look as good as I could in the shortest time possible. I think you might lose some sanity if you pour too much over every page and little details.
Using an online photo book company with pre-made layouts saves me a lot of time. I use Mixbook to create our family albums and I start out with a blank book and then for each page I choose a different theme. For example, I add a blank page and change the theme to a summery design I like, then I place my summer photos and text to complete that page. Next, I might add a blank page and change the theme to a Fall design and create a two-page spread all about our trip to the pumpkin patch. I like using the method because you can change the design to fit all the different events in your year rather than just choosing one theme that will be throughout the entire book. But obviously this is just personal preference. I have used both Mixbook and Shutterfly in the past and they have a ton of great themes to choose from.
I hope these tips gave you a little inspiration for creating your own family photo books. Our family really does get a lot of enjoyment from sitting and looking through them. I know these books will be keepsakes for years to come.
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