Our Family’s Picture Storage Solution: Yearly Photo Books

We’re working on hanging our new pendant lights so we’ll be back to share those pics in the morning. In the meantime, let’s talk about something people ask about all the time: photo storage. Ever since seeing Katie Bower’s family photo book two summers ago, we’ve been drinking the photo book Kool-Aid – starting with our very first Family “Yearbook” that we made last summer (you can read about that here). And now that another year has wrapped up, well, let’s just say this arrived last week:

It’s one big glossy photo book stuffed to the gills with all of our family photos from 2011. Except the perk is that while it has around 600 photos, it’s only about a half-inch thick. Which is awesome for storage purposes (way less cumbersome than thick overstuffed photo albums that only hold 100-200 pics each). We ordered it through MyPublisher and thanks to a promotion they were running for free extra pages, we got to max out their page limit (100) and pay nothing extra. The discount (which has ended since we received our book – but they tend to pop up pretty frequently) actually saved us $79! And we’d easily pay $44.99 to print all those pics (not to mention having to buy a bunch of albums to put them in) so a photo book can actually end up being quite the deal. And no, they didn’t pay/perk us to write this, we just like our photo books. Haha.

We did our last “yearbook” way after the fact (like mid-2011), so it took a bit of backtracking to organize all of the photos. But for 2011 we planned ahead and kept all of our photos in one iPhoto album (which automatically kept them in chronological order for us), which is why it only took a couple of weeks into the new year to actually get this one done. So let’s take a quick look through all one hundred pages… just kidding. We’ll just take a peek at some of the highlights – like our opening page that we edited to include some text to summarize some of the, well, highlights from the past year. We think we’ll love looking back on it (and having a summary of the whole year on one page).

We also tried to group big events, holidays, and milestones – like the several spreads of Clara’s 1st birthday party. Check out how dark our kitchen was in the bottom left corner!

We also used the preset page designs to give some really special photos the layouts they deserved, like the ones Katie B. snapped when we visited the Bowers in June.

And since it’s not hard for these albums to turn into a Clara-fest, we paid special attention to making sure Burger got plenty of love as well. He even scored a few dedicated pages throughout (every album needs a good Burger-montage or three).

We also thought it was fun to put all of the photos we took for our Blogiversary “Day In The Life” post into the yearbook in order. That way in 15 years we can look back and sort of remember what a normal day was like way back when…

We nearly ran out of pages by the time we got to Christmas (darn 100 page limit!) but managed to make room. Heck, we even squeezed in a collage of a bunch of our holiday card outtakes. Yeah, we’re kind of into our kiddos.

So since we’re on a family yearbook high – especially now that our collection is two albums strong! – we’re already excited to make the 2012 version.

But because that’s not possible yet (unless we want it to be 3 pages long) we’re thinking that we may try to organize our old digital photos and make one or two books that’ll hold all of the photos from 2005 (when we met) to 2008 (right before our 2009 album picks up). Maybe we’ll work on those books once a certain manuscript is in the can.

Oh yeah, and here’s our favorite photo bomber again, just trying to get in on the action.

Anyone else making photo books or albums to document the past year? Or any other event or period of time? We’d love to hear other systems people have for organizing and displaying their family photos.


  1. says

    We just did a similar thing (photobook) for our honeymoon pictures. Since we went to Hawaii, there were too many gorgeous pictures and I wanted to document them. Plus I had a certificate for a free 25 pager from Shutterfly. I think that making photobooks would be great, since now everything is digital. We don’t really use those old photo albums like our parents did.

  2. Anne says

    Just recently drank the photobook Kool Aid! I put together a travel book of photos from the four months I spent in Asia back in 2006, and can’t wait to start working on another from when I was in Europe! I never could decide which photos of the thousands I took to print, and the photo book made it way easier to organise and not exclude anything!

    I will have to give My Publisher a shot, but I did my first book through Blurb (similarly using promotions to spend only $44 on my 120 page book!), and I couldn’t be happier!

  3. Leigh Anne says

    I adore this idea!! Way better than my current haphazard shoebox collection of photos spanning through the years. I vow to do this one day when we have a kiddo of our own. Nothing like a little procrastination to start off 2012;)

  4. Hannah says

    The Yearbooks look great – nice job! I especially like that the spines fit in with your blue and green house colour scheme :)

  5. Kathi says

    Thanks for the reminder – I’m a couple of years behind (still need to do 2010 and 2011) but I LOVE the my publisher books. I used to be a scrapbooker, but lost the time and energy to keep up with it so these digital books are a great alternative. I also love how little space they take up and that they are “real” books….

  6. says

    I’d love to make one of these. I just keep putting off the tasks of going through my 5,000 pictures to pick and choose which I want prints of and which I don’t. I do have most of mine printed though, but the books they are in take up a good amount of room on the bookshelf, and I’m in need or more of those albums. So, I’d love to eventually switch over to photo books.

    • Kate says

      Christa, look into Scan Cafe if you want to digitize anything from film. I haven’t used it (yet!) but have heard great things. :)

    • Susie says

      I’ll second Vanessa’s recommendation of ScanCafe — they digitized hundreds (yes, hundreds) of old slides I inherited from my parents. They do great work!

      Oh, and Petersiks, as usual you’re full of great ideas!! Must get started with the family yearbooks before I get too far behind…

    • says

      Susie .. if you look right before this reply thread a Vanessa commented. So maybe that’s where you got Vanessa? Haha! It’s funny what our eye catches.

    • Renee says

      Do one per child, or one for family vacations through the years… since you have so many years of pics accumulated (like me) create books by categories, not years!

  7. Vanessa says

    This is such a good idea. Wish I could go back and organize 10 years worth of pictures. I guess its never too late! You will love looking at these years from now.

  8. Carole says

    Great idea! We were planning to do the same as well. We first started to organize our photos by year and now we are trying to sort through the “best of” 2011. I like the format you used for pages.

  9. says

    My sister-in-law does this every year and makes copies for all of her kids. So one copy to sit out on the coffee table, three copies (one for each kid) that they will get when they’re grown. Great idea, huh?

  10. says

    I LURVE My Publisher! I have made a family album with them every year since we got married in 2004. As for organizing, I have an elaborate folder system on my computer. Each year has 12 months, then every time I download, I put them in the appropriate place. Not ground breaking. Then, I pull a year at a time and cull them ruthlessly. The ones that remain, I upload all at once to My Publisher so I can see what I have to work with.

    • Cindy says

      This is an awesome idea! I am so stealing it! ;-)

      The digital age is wonderful and all, but we have about eleventy-bazillion digital pics all named with the default setup. That means I am going to be spending a loooooong time trying to sort through all those photos so we can a few of these nifty family yearbooks.

      I *love* this idea and I’ve never heard of it before now. Can’t wait to do this for us, too!

      Thanks for posting about this Petersiks and thanks for the great organizational tip, Rae Ann!

  11. says

    I love this! I was just checking out MyPublisher yesterday- but the thought of attempting to tackle the 10,000 PLUS photos in my iPhoto made me a little dizzy. I love the photo book idea so much, I guess I just need to suck it up and do it!

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