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. Lilly says

    get out of town, am I from mars? I’ve never seen anything like this for family pics. Seriously u guys need to stop being so awesome. Its too much. U guys r ridiculously awesome. U guys should be voted like people of the year or something.

    • says

      Bwahahah. That comment made me laugh because it’s ridiculous and hilarious. We are probably the ones from mars and have no place being people of the year or even people of the week anywhere. Haha.


  2. says

    I LOVE My Publisher!

    As parent wedding gifts, we promised my parents and my in-laws a beautiful photo book of our wedding photos. We didn’t want to skimp out, but didn’t have a lot of money, so we waited a few weeks after the wedding until one of the “free extra pages” sales was going on and went all-out with the largest size, the linen cover, and 100 pages of wedding photos. I used some backgrounds they already had to make the pages prettier. They turned out amazing! We saved about $400 from the sale and were able to buy one for ourselves!

  3. Carol N. says

    This is wonderful! I think I’ll get together some of the pictures of ancestors up to current and make books for my cousins twin babies to have in the future. So they can see where they came from many moons ago!

  4. Debbie C says

    I love this idea! A good friend of ours does the same for his family. Guess I better start organizing our pics…

  5. mariela says

    Wow! What an inspiration! My husband and I just got married about 2 months ago and we bought our first house in July. This is such a cute idea!! I MUST start making photobooks, so years from now we can go back and reminisce!

  6. says

    For our wedding favors we hand made recipe books that included family recipes from both sides of our families, plus from each of our bridal party. They were simple and just text that I printed and bound together at home, I am currently working on turning it into a hardback book with pictures from the wedding so that we can print one up for us, and our families… who knows, maybe we’ll print smaller ones for our bridal party as a special “Thanks for being in our wedding 5 years ago” gifts. :)

  7. says

    Love your albums — I did, however, notice that John’s head is a little chopped off on the cover photo. That has happened with my photo albums at times, too. If the proof you looked at did not have that, I would go back to the printer and ask for a reprint. You want the cover to look perfect!

    • says

      Oh no, we don’t mind a cropped photo like that. Haha. Usually because of our height difference (and especially with Burger in the shot, who’s so small) someone gets cut a little. Haha. But the proof showed that I think!


  8. Amanda says

    Holy crap! I LOVE this! I am such a photo-nut. I so want to go home from work and do this right now. lol Yours looks so beautiful.

  9. Maria says

    We got a promotion for a free Shutterfly book (via Best Buy when we bought a Christmas present) — so we are definitely doing this!! We’re going to start with last year’s photos, then as other promos come along we’ll go back in time. That is SUCH a good idea to keep a folder as you go…thanks! Your books look awesome!

  10. Claire says

    I *just* finished sorting through the 1,000+ photos from a 9 day trip to Europe for our first photobook. While I have a giant collage wall (thanks for inspiring that, too) already it just can’t hold ALL of the favorites! Now I have it culled down to a manageable 250 images. Can’t wait to put it together!

  11. says

    I started doing that when son #2 turned 1–I realized the kids had NO photos around to look at because they were all on the computer and while I love to scrapbook, I am S-L-O-W. :) So we’ve done a yearly one since 2006 (and have managed to add 2 more kids in there!). I just finished up the one for last year. I love it, its fun to pull out and remind the boys what we did or how each of their baby brothers looks like one of them when they were that age. And it is fun to go back and try to pare down some of the massive number of photos I take through out the year. :)

  12. Sharon says

    I LOVE photobooks and have created them for all of my major vacations over the last few years. A few ideas/suggestions: I use Shutterfly, but I’m sure other publishers have the same options for multiple sizes and paper/cover options. For smaller/shorter trips (like a long weekend visiting friends) I have made a paperback 5 x 7 version and sent a copy to my host/hostess. They have been greatly appreciated.

    My other suggestion is to do a family history for your parents. I scanned in lots of childhood photos and made a book of my family over the years. I gave a copy to my parents and to each of my siblings. Everyone loved it! I also made one for my sister and her two daughters. Every photo in the book included only her daughters over the years (they were 15 and 17 when I made the book). I didn’t want any grandparents or other family members thinking they were not fairly represented so the book only had the girls in it. I gave one to my sister and to each of her daughters and they opened them on Christmas Eve and said it was a wonderful family bonding time. They sat around for a couple of hours telling stories and remembering the good times.

  13. Jill-O says

    We’ve been doing this since we got married in 2006. Love it! Although with two kids I’m a little behind (still need to do 2010 and now 2011)…oops.

  14. Jessica says

    Love the annual yearbooks! We started doing them three years ago… it’s so much easier and tidy! Looking good!!

  15. BrookeJ says

    Wow, thank you so much for this post, I AM DOING THIS! I have become so horrible printing pictures and putting them in albums, but this will get me back on track! (so very excited can’t you tell!!!)
    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Brooke

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