For the last two years I have been creating a “Denning Photo Album” that includes all of our pictures from the year. The book begins with New Year’s Eve, ends with Christmas and includes everything in between. It’s anchored by our annual vacation and any other travels, but it also includes the everyday events that we capture like home improvement projects, birthdays or holidays, and this year I added a 2-page spread with my favorite Instagram pictures.
I hope I’m not sounding like a pro because I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not an easy project for me and it was extremely daunting the first time I opened up MyPublisher to get started. I’ve never been one for scrap-booking or photo books in general; that was always my sister’s strength. But ever since we got our new camera and started taking more and more pictures, I realized what most people realize – that they were going to waste just sitting on our computer’s hard drive. So I picked the same program that our wedding photographer used for our album, sat down, and just started dragging and dropping. The hardest part honestly was finding and organizing the pictures, the rest just sort of came together naturally. But I have learned a few things along the way that might help you if this is the first large photo album that you’ve attempted. So here are my tips for getting started with an annual photo book:
- Take lots of pictures! Be the person who carries the nice camera with her to all occasions and snaps lots of pictures.
- Be selective. Every time you upload pictures to your computer or hard drive, only keep the good ones. Make sure you have enough photos to create a summary of the event, but nothing more. You will have enough to do to create the album that you won’t want to also go through all of your pictures then picking out the best ones.
- Organize with folders. Create folders that start with the year and month and then as you are saving pictures, store them in the appropriate folder. There will be no question about which pictures should be included and in what order.
- Know what you like. Take some time to look through examples of different album styles to determine whether you like text or no text, patterned backgrounds or solid backgrounds, collages or full-page photo spreads.
- Forget about the number. A lot of photo album sites have a set number of pages that come with their album before you start incurring a per page cost. Don’t worry about that number. If it takes you 20 pages or 100 pages to capture a year in the life of your family, it doesn’t matter. Don’t limit your book while you’re building it. If you need to trim it down, do it at the end.
- Wait for the sale. If I bought my 75 page book at full-price, it would be quite the expensive project. But because I build the book no matter how many pages, I create it and then save it until the right sale comes along…and it always does. Then, I can usually get up to 100 pages for the price of a typical 25-30 page book.
I’m sure my albums will evolve over time, but these are the basics that make an otherwise daunting project pretty manageable. I hope it inspires you to think about getting those pictures off of the hard drive and into print. Even though I’ve only got 2 albums at this point, I can already see what a great memory they are going to be. We’ve already looked at last year’s album and exclaimed, “I forgot we did that!”.