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. Veronica says

    I just did a 1 year book for my 15 month old. It was a blog I started and has all the fun firsts and random daily stuff, and a ton of cute baby pics. I used blurb. Mine was (I think) 112 pages finished. Which is text and pictures. It only cost my around $55 but I did a 7 in square book this time around because a lot of my pictures were web sized and wouldn’t have looked as good in larger format. It should be here at the beginning of next week and I feel like a little kid waiting on Christmas for it to arrive (that is awful grammer but I cannot figure out how to make it right. oh well)


  2. Kathleen says

    I actually just made a book for my niece’s 1st birthday through Shutterfly of her first year of life (through Auntie’s eyes, of course!). Unfortunately- I am (very impatiently!) waiting for my FOURTH book from them b/c a misprint in the 1st book has been reprinted… 3 times now. I love the look of your yearbook… and am going to look into MyPublisher for my future photobook making :)

  3. says

    I love photobooks. I started when we got married. I made one photobook for all the photos from our engagement to the honeymoon from all our wedding events. Its nice to see them all together.

    My next project is scanning photos from high school and college. I’d like to make a high school photo book and a college photo book.

  4. Jackie K. says

    I’ve been working on our 2011 Yearbook for a couple of weeks now… finding time here and there (naptime mostly). I’m building mine on Shutterfly and have reached the 100 page limit and I’m only into the middle of October. Grrrr!!!!

  5. says

    Oh, I can’t wait to start my very own collection of yearbooks. It is on my to-do-list for when I get my own family. Thank you for a wonderful blog!

  6. etcetera says

    Way to take advantage of the “free extra pages” promotion! I’m a huge fan of MyPublisher.com and pretty much did all my Xmas shopping there this year. One great deal to watch for is a steep discount on re-printing books you’ve already designed. once you upload and order a book, they automatically email you in about 48 hrs to offer you maybe 50% off additional copies of the same book. so if you’re making one for family, order one for yourself, wait 2 days, then order all the rest and you’ll get a great deal.

  7. Stacy R says

    I’ve started working on one for our wedding and honeymoon based on your recommendation the first time. Just waiting for a promotion to order the book.

    What size is the book you guys ordered? Also do you ever worry about the quality of some of the photos, I know you guys probably edit most of your photos, but for the average person I’m worried some of my prints might look dark even if they look okay on my computer screen.

  8. Jennifer S says

    After reading about your project with MyPublisher I too made a book for my family. It also helped that I bought a Living Social coupon. I got around 300 pictures of my girls into a 35 page book and paid $20. It was awesome. We treasure it. I will continue to do this in the coming years.

    My nephew and his new wife made several for the grand-parents and parents this Christmas. It was a total hit. I just love it for the plan fact that it’s easy digital picture storage and right at your fingertips when you want to view them.

  9. says

    Have you heard of Blurb.com? They are a little bit cheaper than my publisher and give you a lot of creative freedom. And, they always have a deal ging on.

  10. Kim says

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS IDEA!!!! Something i would like to implement!! Lets hope i can be HALF as organized as the two of you! :) AWESOME AWESOME!!

  11. Kate says

    I just finished a photo book documenting all of the GOOD memories from my pregnancy with my daughter who was born in October – telling the family, birthday celebrations, vacations, baby showers. On each page I tell her what we were doing and how many weeks pregnant I was in the picture. Not that all of the pregnancy was carefree, but the book makes it seem that way!!

  12. Laura L. says

    Love this! I made one for our wedding and including some words from the “script” (i.e., opening prayer, Bible readings, vows, ring exchange, etc.) along with the photos of the ceremony, so it sort of feels like you’re re-living it when you read the album. I also made smaller custom versions for each of our families. The one for my in-laws had mostly photos of their family and vice versa. Our parents loved them! In regard to the general “yearbook” type books, the mother of some little boys I used to babysit kept a calendar on the fridge and she’d write little milestones or fun activities the boys did each month. She did the year-end albums and was able to write a little paragraph about the highlights of each month of the year to accompany the photos. They were cool to read through!

  13. amyks says

    I love your yearbook idea!!! We have been taking at least a picture a day of each of my kids since they were born(one is 11, one is 10, and the baby is 6). Currently the photos are just uploaded onto our computer and also stored on a separate device, but every year I make calendars from Shutterfly for my parents and in-laws and me using monthly pictures from the previous year. The calendar becomes a “mini scrapbook”, and as much as I would love to do the yearbook idea, I would be at a loss for where to start.

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