- Find a system/platform and stick with it. I’ve used Blurb Booksmart since my very first photo album I created for our wedding. Seven years seems like ages! There have been times I’ve been tempted by a new system or coupon codes for another company, but at the end of the day I want my books to look cohesive. I like that I have the same fonts and the same photo spreads for all of the books, and it makes me more accountable to finishing them! Do your research beforehand and find a system you love!
- Make uploading photos part of a regular routine. It is ridiculously easy to get behind in creating photo books. A combination of taking five million pictures of your darling baby (or cute husband, or adorable house, etc.), being busy with living life, and choosing to watch Netflix over uploading photos, can lead to your grown children moving out of the house while all your family photo memories are tucked onto hard drives. The good news is that you can watch Netflix while you upload your photos.
Intentionally choose a time when you know you can upload your photos and follow through. Maybe this is daily, weekly, or monthly (I don’t recommend going longer than monthly). Upload photos from your phone or camera onto your computer, organize them by some sort of system (I tend to do months–folders marked January, February, etc.), and then pop them into your book. I tend to upload and put them in the photo book about once a week. You could also upload photos weekly, and then arrange them in the photo book each month. Whatever works well for you; make sure you have this in your calendar/planner to accomplish regularly.
- Use a theme to guide your content. Maybe you divide your book by season or month or event. Your memories are important to you, and you know how you’ll want to remember them. Do you want a photo book that just highlights any events you participated in that year (birthdays, holidays, vacations), or do you want to include daily photos and little reminders? Maybe a combination of both?
I divide my book by month with a full-page spread diving each month. Within the month I’ll do spreads of specific events or holidays; sometimes these will be one or two pages, and sometimes five or more (our trip to Lebanon took up a ton of pages!). I also have pages that fit 9-12 smaller pictures, and I fill these up with little random daily moments I want to remember, but ones that don’t need a whole spread. Okay, sometimes my daughter is so cute she gets a whole spread for one little moment–one I know I will want to remember.
- Decide whether to journal or not to journal. Do you like writing? Do you have a bad memory and need notes to remember what was happening? Most systems include photo/text combination spreads, so you can add journaling in your book. You could also order your photo books without text, but leave blank space to write in your journaling (handwriting can be especially sweet memories). Or maybe you like the clean look of no words and want to let the pictures tell the stories.
For my daughter’s first year book, I included journaling on most of the pages; I wanted her to know my thoughts about the events or moments I was chronicling. But for our family yearly photo books, I just include one page of notes that highlights what we did. It starts “In 2016 we…” and then I continue with big and small things “celebrated Thanksgiving in Wisconsin with our family” or “played outside as often as possible all summer long”. This has been helpful for me; I like having some notes, but want the photos to be the centerpiece.
- Print your books and put them somewhere you will look at them often. The most important step is to actually print your books and look at them! Most systems have coupons from time to time, so wait for a great discount and then print your books. We keep ours on the coffee table and look at them at least monthly. As our daughter gets older and can flip pages without tearing I know we’ll be looking at them even more. These books are an investment of time and money, but one you and your family will love for years to come!