How are those new year’s resolutions going? You too, huh? 😉 It’s OK. This is a no-guilt zone! However, if one of the goals you had was to print out more photos, here’s a helping hand. I’m going to show you in easy steps how to achieve a really achievable goal that you can feel great about; how to make a family photo yearbook. I can also show you how to get that photo book at much less than RRP. I’ve never paid less than 50% off for mine. Interested?
I’m as rubbish at printing out photos as the next girl and forget photo albums, let alone scrap books but each year I give myself an entire 12 months to make a single digital family photo yearbook of the previous year. So far, so good. Many of the photos aren’t that brilliantly taken as you’ll see from the pictures. They’d never be framed but, as part of a scrapbook type project, they help tell the story of our everyday lives.
The first photo yearbooks I made were for my husband when our daughter was 1. I did one for the year she was born and a second one for her first complete year. I’ve done for each year since and they’re one of my most treasured possessions.
It’s not surprising: in her classic book The Happiness Project, Gretchen Ruben talks about the happiness that most people get from recording their own personal history. I guess that it gives us a sense of having made a mark on the world.
Our yearbooks obviously include the big occasions like birthdays and Christmas and the kids’ firsts like first steps and first days at nursery and school . However, the bits I personally love the most are the photos that I take just for us; the kids painting at the kitchen table, pics of them playing in the garden or digging up worms, baking pizza with Daddy or just walking up the road with their teddies in dolly strollers. It helps alleviate my sense of “this is all going by way too fast!” and brings back memories of those hazy. crazy, amazingly tough and yet precious and joyful days.
The kids love hauling out these books and we look at one or the other every few weeks as we tell
tales of when they were born or what they were like as toddlers. When we see friends or relatives who we haven’t seen for a while, we bring out the books to show the kids photos to jog their memories of the last time they saw that person.
We also have a page for each precious person who leaves our lives that year. So far it has just been Great-Grandparents but this year’s will sadly include a beloved grandparent. I’m actually planning a mini photobook for each child called “Me and Grandad” for them to keep in their rooms.
Our yearbooks also helps me to be grateful for the little things. Gratitude is a very important value to our family (and a key element to my mental health)! One of our books (2012) quite deliberately has a black cover because it was a truly awful year for us as a family. But the contents remind me that there were many good moments in that year, friends who created happy experiences for us and showed us their care, moments of laughter and times were we did succeed in some of our parenting goals, even though we were exhausted and bruised by the struggle of everyday life with a sleepless baby with health issues and a hefty dose of post-natal depression.
On the days when I feel like the “no-fun Mum” or a parenting fail – and, psssst! we all have them! – I have colourful pages to show my children smiled and laughed and enjoyed the goofy antics of their eccentric Mum. It makes it feel all so much more worthwhile.
So let me show you how to do this in manageable steps
How to make a family photo yearbook
- Go through last year’s calendar and make a list of the highlights you want to include e.g. New Year’s Party, Pete’s birthday, trip to Granny’s etc
- Go through your photos for the year and put the photos you want into one folder on your computer. This step can be a mixture of fun and hassle, depending on how organised your photos are. Mine really aren’t!
- (Optional) Contact anyone who may have good photos of your family on key occasions. We have two godparents who are crack photographers and sometimes you just forget to take pics. Like my Mum’s 70th. Ooops!
- If you need to edit more than the odd picture, now’s the moment. It’s possible but slow in Photobox. Cropping however is easy so don’t bother at this stage.
- Upload the shots to your favourite online photo supplier and put them in a specific folder called something like “Best of 2015” so they’re easy to find later. My favourite is Photobox. They’re not sponsoring this post. I’ve just always been very happy with both their products and their customer service.
- Choose your type of photobook. Ours are the A4 classic photobook from Photobox.I’ve occasionally got an upgrade to a fancy cover if it’s on special offer. Make sure you can add extra pages if you need them. Our books are usually between 30-40 pages long and use 200-300 photos to give you an idea.
- From here on in, the instructions may be a bit variable depending on which supplier you use but it’s the method I’ve found speediest and easiest after making about 10 photobooks (7 year books and the rest for other occasions like special birthdays). Go through your book using the text function and add basic titles to each page or double spread using your list of key events from your calendar. This forms the backbone for your yearbook. Don’t worry if you want a page for “Spring” or a page tpo feature a specific child later. They’re easy to insert.
- Next, choose the option for 9 photos for all pages. I rarely use as many as 9 but it makes inserting the photos really fast.
- Go through the book and, without worrying about design, quickly drag and drop the right photos into the right pages. Have a look at which photos are left over and see if any have specific themes. Last year I inserted a page for each child somewhere in February when we had few events and one for “Cooking up a storm” as we always do loads of cooking projects.
- Now you can get into the design part of each page. Here’s a tip: if you have 5 photos, say, on your 9 photo layout, delete the unwanted apertures first. THEN choose a layout option for 5 photos. You can usually adjust the size and shape of apertures even after you have chosen a basic layout for the page.
- Choose the background colour you want for each page. Some colour choices will really make that particular selection of photos sing and others will kill the page. Have fun experimenting. I usually avoid the page options with much embellishment but you may love them.
- Finally write in the captions for each page. I like to add in details of who’s in each photo (apart from immediate family members) as I hope my kids will keep these books after I’m gone and they might need the details to make sense of their family history. I add their friends’ names and details of places we visited. Last year I also added a page of just text with all our favourites for the year: films, albums, games and toys, special places and things we enjoyed doing regularly.
- Proofread your book and do a final edit and you’re ready to order. But WAIT!!!!
- If you sign up to the e-mail list of your photo provider, they should send you details of all their sales so you can order at a time when they have a good discount! I always get at least 50% off but have had as good as 70% discount. Totally worth having.
So, will you have a go? What memories do you particularly want to hold onto? Do you have a great photo supplier to suggest or have you got a good way of organising photos on your computer? Because please share if you do!