Creating family books

Are there family albums at your parents’ house? Do you flip through, and do your kids? We LOVE going through the albums at my parents’ house, and at Mark’s, and I feel like I can swim for hours in those pages, marveling at what we looked like as kids and especially what my parents and sister looked like then!  I’m worried that some of that is getting lost in this digital age.  In 30 years, will we still be using laptops and jpgs?  I’m not sure.  But I’m certain that we will still treasure printed books.  For that reason, I’m making books – marked by year or by special trip – for our family to have and pass on forever.

Here are the barriers to doing that as I perceive them, and maybe some answers:

1 – It’s way too much to organize to get this done

I’m not going to lie and say this isn’t a project.  But it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds.  Take a look at my previous post about organizing your digital files.  Most likely this is a task that feels like it would take 100 hours but that you could actually do in just a few. Once you have your folders organized by year, you’re all set with the organizing part!

2 – I don’t know how I could possibly narrow the photos down to album-worthy ones

My favorite way to choose is to go with gut emotion.  Make a subfolder in the “year” folder and copy/paste the photos that give you an emotional tug into the “for my album” folder.  Or – if you don’t have THAT many photos anyway, like maybe in the hundreds rather than thousands for a single year – then maybe just include them all!

3 – Laying out spreads will take me 5000 years (though I might enjoy it!)

There is free software on sites like Blurb that lets you do the layouts yourself!  Don’t try to make this a one-week project.  Just try to tackle one single year of photos this month.  Then maybe in July you might do another.  There’s no specific rush!  If you are serious about layouts and don’t mind spending some money for professional software, there are some great programs out there that make layouts easy (I love Fundy Designer).

4 – Laying out spreads is my worst nightmare

I can help you with this!  You would send me your entire folder via (free/easy), and I would design for you.  Drop me a line if you want to chat about it!  I should have time for projects like these this summer…

5 – My photos aren’t good enough to be album-worthy

This is NOT TRUE.  When you look at your parents’ old photos, do you critique them?  Do you tear out the ones that have crooked horizon lines and dramatically dispose of them?  Are you embarrassed by your messy room and hide the photo from your kids?  OF COURSE YOU DON’T!  In fact, I LOVE the messy photos in those albums – I scrutinize them closely, looking for my old Snoopy in the background of the photo, and the more I see in them, the more meaningful they are to me!  You are not trying to create a piece of art for a museum.  You are trying to preserve your family in photographs.

6 – I have no idea how to print an album even if I do manage to organize it

If you use an online designer like Blurb, you can order directly through them!  If you have other album companies you’ve used, I’d love to hear what has worked for you!  If you are ready to turn this project over to someone else, then I can do the printing for you too – I have lots of options for hard and soft cover books at all kinds of price points. Here’s a little time lapse of me making one of ours!

Stephanie designing a book and then opening it!

Making family books is one of the things I am most passionate about in photography.  I have not caught up with my own yet (right now on my list I still have the first half of 2012, 2016, and 2017 to do–my pre-2012 books are slip-in photo style!), but I couldn’t be more committed to getting them done because I love the ones I have so much.  I hope I’m convincing you to tackle this project too, either on your own or with help. 🙂

Serving Guilford, New Haven County, Connecticut, & beyond