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.
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.
Gabrielle C says
I totally need to do this for many different years, but mostly my wedding. Thanks for the new site to try!
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!
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;)
The Yearbooks look great – nice job! I especially like that the spines fit in with your blue and green house colour scheme :)
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….
Melanie @ Mailbox Journey 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.
Wow! I love it. What a fantastic idea. Am I way too behind with almost 16 years of marriage and 3 kiddos?
Haha nah, you can do it! It’s kind of addicting actually.
Christa, look into Scan Cafe if you want to digitize anything from film. I haven’t used it (yet!) but have heard great things. :)
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…
I meant Kate, not Vanessa. (Where the heck did I get Vanessa?!)
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.
Awww, thanks for the encouragement! I’ll look into Scan Cafe, thanks!:)
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!
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.
I love this idea! I have thousands of photos sitting around that I “plan on doing something with” one day. I may just give this a shot!
Julia @ Chris loves Julia says
This is SUCH a great idea. I have been meaning to do this since I got married … … in 2008. Is it REALLY 2012?! Oh dear.
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.
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?
Such a cute idea!
Rae Ann 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.
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!
Amy B 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!
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)
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 :)
Aw man, that stinks! Hope the fourth time is the charm!
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.
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!!!!
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!
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.
I am so behind and so need to get on this!!
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.
Ours is their standard size (not the delux, whatever the second largest is called). Hope it helps!
Tara Jane says
The standard size is really nice. I just saw the Large one and it is beautiful, although probably would not fit standing up on a book shelf.
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.
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.
We’ve checked them out too- they look awesome!
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!!
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!!
Megan @ Two Live Colorfully says
What a cute idea! I can just see these lined up after 10 or 15 years. It would be so amazing to look back on those in a few years!
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!
That sounds like so much fun to read through!
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.
Jackie K. says
Also… to go along with our yearbook, I just finished this iMovie which I called ‘Our Year in Videos.’ I plan to make some sort of pocket inside the Yearbook that will hold the dvd. I like the idea of having the entire year’s memories all in one convenient place. :)
Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/9ddfCoj_S4M
Jessica F. says
Your video is fantastic; your kids are going to ADORE THIS forever. Do you mind me asking, what camera do you use to take video?
Man… I may need to sneak to my Mom’s and grab all those boxes of photos she’s been “meaning” to organize and scan them all.. what a great birthday (July) or Christmas present!
Jennifer S says
Oh and I totally forgot. I made one for my nephew that included his first year. The cover was titled “Alex’s First Year-made with love by his favorite Aunt Jenny”. Hehe. I WILL always be his favorite. :)
Oh man! I’ve been meaning to do this! I’m so NOT a scrapbooker. We need one for our wedding photos, and I’d love to do one for our Scotland honeymoon. I think I even have a groupon for one that’s about to expire. Oops. Better get on that.
I love photo books. I have printed/created so many for clients but when it comes to my own family I get completely over anal and paralyzed with indecision about the perfect layout. This gets even worse towards the end of the year when I’m trying to Christmas shop.
My sister and I loved to flip through our photo albums as young kids so I created a method that works for me and will allow our sweet Maggie to flip through her own albums as she gets older (she already loves to look through year 1!)
I buy Kolo Catalina Album for each year of her life and every other month I choose the best of the best images and send them to my printer. It is usually 10-15 images at a time and that is not an overwhelming amount to sit down and put in an album. The album also comes with 5-10 scrapbook pages that I can use to affix items like her first birthday invitation, hair from her first haircut, her birth announcement, etc.
Printing out images and putting them in an album (vs letting them sit on the computer) is so fulfilling!
Ooh I love those Kolo albums. So pretty!
Emily Z says
I did a book for my cat, who passed away suddenly in 2010. I’d had her since her birth and she’d been through my last year of college with me, moving across the country with me, etc…So the book meant a lot to see how she was with me for all the big changes in my life. I’ve got it all in one book, and I love it.
Aw, that’s so sweet. So sorry for your loss Emily!
My husban surprised me 4 years ago at Christmas with a year book and we’ve been doing one every since. It was the most thoughtful gift ever. We use whatever company is running a special at the end of the year or use a groupon/living social deal. We also do one for big trips we take to memorialize it. I like using shutterfly because they let you customize your pages the best!
Aw, such a sweet gift!
I absolutely LOVE this idea!
I am obsessed with picture taking, have about a million jump drives full of pictures, and when I print them, I tend to lose them, one at a time.
Books are much more difficult to misplace (I still have my high school yearbooks after all, right?) so this is genius. And so fun to look back on over the years.
I have to start this this year. I think a wedding is a good place to start building photo books from.
Sara C. says
I’ve been using the Apple photobook product for the past 3 years and love it but it’s significantly more expensive than your My Publisher book. Is My Publisher easy to use when you are using iphoto? I can’t wait to get a good camera so my pictures can look as good as yours!
Oh yeah, it’s pretty intuitive with iPhoto!
I love photo books. I first saw them on a double decker bus in London and came back knowing I had to memorialize my trip that way. Since then I’ve made all my vacations books, wedding guest book and wedding album.
I’m a memento pack rat so in a 5 years I’ll make another book similar to my wedding guest book that is similar to your family album but with scans of ticket stubs and special wrapping paper. I love having all my images in one place.
I love that one day their will be a book shelf full of images that catalog your family. :)
Robin @ Our Semi Organic Life says
Yes I made a very similar 2011 Family Yearbook through MyPublisher too! I honestly love them! I used them for Christmas cards too! My book was a little smaller and I couldn’t wait so I made it back in November since they had a great sale! I love how year after year they can all line up on the shelf, so cute!
So funny you posted about this, as I was just going to Facebook you about photo storage!
Are you saving/storing prints at all? I love the way photos print on nice, matte photo paper — such a different quality than books (and yours is GORGEOUS by the way!!!).
So I definitely want to design photo books, but do I also want an album of just tons of 4×6 prints? Especially if I have photo books too — those will be so much more fun!
We save them all on flickr so they’re backed up (personal albums that we block for privacy, which is nice).
Rebekah McGowan says
Our little pumpkin has half a heart. So since he is a miracle, he is easily the most photographed child on the earth. We are doing two photobooks a year. One is from a professional family photoshoot and the other we call Goofy Lucas. And make an 8×8 book filled with silly pictures of him dressing up like a pirate, or a cowboy, or a fireman, or generally being a goof ball. Here is a link to the latest one:http://share.shutterfly.com/share/received/welcome.sfly?fid=ec00504892981553f12f12eb75ef82b5&sid=0AbtXDdu1Ytmbyg
We also made an awareness video last year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Arg3uIGG7Iw I’m currently working on the 2011 video for CHD awareness month starting next week.
Amazing! What a miracle boy! So sweet.
This is a fantastic idea that I’m pilfering like a Norwegian viking :) I already have a photo project in the works to take photos of my 16 month son Caleb every day for the entire year. (Trust me when I say I’m more amazed than anyone that I’ve been holding myself accountable to this project.) And although I’m bad at taking pictures sometimes, I’m even worse at printing pictures. It’s a sickness. And the cure is Mypublisher photobooks! Thank you so much for sharing!
Andrea @ the yellow cottage says
I used Blurb for my wedding album a few years ago. It took a while to get the dozens of high res professional photos into a file size small enough for the program. The Blurb program was pretty easy to use but you had to select a layout for each page – I would have preferred to freely lay out the photos myself. But at about $40 for the book, it was a great deal!
Jessica F. says
I used Blurb for my 2009 Wedding book and was able to custom design each page creating image and text boxes freely using Blurb Booksmart, it was a lot of work but totally worth it. Not sure if this started in 2009 (so maybe it wasn’t an option when you made yours?), but they since gotten even better with options. :)
There are now three options under “Select Your Bookmaking Tool”, two of which allow you to customize the book how you want and one. http://www.blurb.com/make/
Hope this helps others. My Publisher is great too, but it does have a page limit.
What a great idea! I spent part of last week surrounded by old family photos that I was scanning to make a tribute video to my late father (You can watch it here if you have 9 minutes to spare) and I was so sad thinking about all the digital photos my husband and I have taken over the last 7 years that never get printed out, and what a pity it was because I wouldn’t have all these great photos of my Dad if they weren’t in hard copy form. And the expense of printing them can be overwhelming. Well of of course, Sherry Petersik saves the day again with another great idea. You guys ROCK! Thanks so much!
Aw, so sweet. I’m so sorry for your loss Jyl. What a gorgeous thing you’ve done with those photos!
Thanks but it’s okay! The best thing about looking back at old photos and seeing how happy you and the people in your life were. His life was too short, but full of love and good friends and many accomplishments. Even better I get to know things about my grandparents and even my great grandparents from all the old photos he left behind (he was always a shutterbug) Keep on snapping those memories!
Aw, so sweet.
Nette @ This Dusty House says
I love this idea, guys! My BFF is putting together a photobook for her hubby for Valentines day. And perhaps I should put one together as well… I’m not sure we have nearly as many shots of ourselves though… plenty of bits of renos and our house, but those shots tend to lack people… Thanks for the extra inspiration!
Any chance you would share how long it took put together each book? I need to do this and an estimated time frame might help me get motivated! Thanks!
Maybe six hours total for each one, broken up into three two-hour evening events?
What a fabulous idea, guys. Thanks for the inspiration! Our five year (eep!) anniversary since we met is coming up, and I think a first five years album (followed by annual books) is a brilliant idea. As always, so grateful for your letting us see into your lives.
A little follow up – is there a reason why you’ve chosen My Publisher over other options like Apple’s?
We’ve just heard a lot of positive things from more savvy photographer friends and bloggers who use them so maybe the image quality is higher? We love how crisp everything looks!
Do you guys write a lot in the book or just do pictures? I also never know how to categorize…. do you do it chronologically or do you do it by category (being silly, water fun, etc.). How long does it take you to create a book (a few hours or here and there over a few days, weeks, etc.)?
We just wrote that first page and the rest is all pics! It took us about 6 hours total to make this book (maybe three two-hour sessions in the evening?).