Every year I say I want to do it. And every year I start and then get completely overwhelmed and just give up. But I’m pumped to say that I finally made it happen, folks! I got all of our photos together from my camera and each of our phones and edited out the junk and kept the precious stuff and got it all into a big beautiful book. And I finally, finally have a totally foolproof method on how to make a yearly family photo book. Have you ever attempted an annual photo album or book? It’s a daunting task, right? Now that I finally have my act together, I can share with you a few tips that totally helped, and my favorite way to put a pretty printed book together.
How to Make a Yearly Family Photo Book
The problem that I was encountering year after year when I would sit down and try to make a yearly family album was that I was just plain old overwhelmed with images. We take a LOT of photos and I didn’t have the first clue where to start editing them. So read on for our tips below, including a detailed account of how I edit our photos to make it manageable.
Work On It Gradually
Don’t try to sit down in December and sort through 12 months of photos, because I guarantee your eyes will cross and you’ll start crying and throw your computer across the room. Instead, create some folders on your phone or computer (wherever you store your digital photos). As you take images throughout the year, move your favorites to those folders so you’ll have them at the ready when you start making your book. Bonus points if you make a folder for every month!
Here’s exactly how I do ours. I use Lightroom to store all of our images, and have it set up so that my phone photos also automatically sync there. On the first of every month, I have a reminder on my calendar to sort through our photos. I delete everything that’s trash first. Then I have a few folders set up: one for the current year photo album, one for family photos, one for Henry photos, and one for Maggie photos. I put the appropriate photos in their folders. This process probably takes me about 15-20 minutes per month. Then at the end of the year, I use the folder with all of the images that I wanted in the photo album to start making the book. I usually have to narrow down a little further, but dealing with 400 photos is WAY easier than thousands and thousands.
Pick Your Photos Carefully I know that it’s so tempting to include every single photo you took the first time your baby tried green beans. And squash. And spaghetti. But you could fill a book with just those little moments, if you take photos the way I do. So try to focus on the images that really signify something special or remind you of a time that you want to be sure to remember. Edit out photos that are too similar or you’ll end up with an encyclopedia.
Use the Right Book-Making Tool Here’s the really crucial part, gang. There are so many ways out there to put together a photo book, but the three that I use are Mixbook, Blurb, and Shutterfly. They each have pros and cons so do a little research to see which you like the best. Each of them have options for auto fill, so if you’re a hands-off type of person, you can just upload all of your images and they magically sort into a book. If you like a little more control like I do, you can also select layouts that allow you to really get into the nitty gritty of customizing your book. A word to the wise: know how many photos you want to use and the max number of pages your book can hold. You don’t want to max out your book and still have 100 photos left so that you have to start all over.
Make it Pretty Don’t just use the same layout over and over! I loved messing with the page layout options, and I especially love the a full-bleed option that really features your images in a lovely way. Mix it up and make it interesting by using different layout for your photos.
That’s it! Every time we make one of these and it gets delivered I have to stop what I’m doing and just flip through it to remember our year. I love that we have images there that we didn’t share on Instagram or anywhere else — photos that are special just to us, of adventures we were on together. There’s our first date alone after having a baby, trips abroad, and that time my niece decided we should throw her a backyard wedding so she could marry Henry (she made us do it twice because she forgot to walk down the aisle right the first time). I tell ya, as a mom, I look at this book and get a little overwhelmed about how many beautiful times we’ve had as a family.
Do you make annual photo books? They’re becoming more and more important to me, especially since so many of our digital images get taken and forgotten on our phones! I’m hoping our tricks work for you — figuring out how to make a yearly family photo book took me a little while but I’m so glad it’s something that I’ve started and continued. Hope you try it! xoxo