Is it just me or have digital pictures taken over your life too? Right now my phone has over 1,500 photos on it- and that’s not including the hundreds, probably thousands, that I’ve deleted from it trying to free up space. The card in my camera is completely full, and I struggle to delete just enough to make it useable as new events occur. Most days, I am a housewife and dog mom and people often ask what I do all day. The answer: organize pictures. It’s seriously become a full-time job. I’m slightly obsessed with managing my pictures. It’s funny to me that storing/preserving our digital files has become such a big deal since we didn’t use to obsess over how to save our negatives in the days of film developing.
To me pictures are SO important. I am always the one taking pictures rather than just “enjoying the moment”. And really, I like it that way. Memories and experiences are awesome, but pictures preserve those moments. I have never regretted taking a picture, but I often regret not taking one.
Over the years, I’ve gone through several digital photo organizing systems. Right now, I’m in the process of uploading them all to Dropbox so they are out there and accessible and if our house burns down we have them. I also have them on an external hard drive and they will soon be on a USB to stay in our fireproof box. Like I said, obsessed.
So that’s all well and good that I have the digital files protected. But what about actually enjoying them? My photos sat in digital form for so long, and that made me sad. I don’t want to always look at them on a computer. So I pondered. I could print them out and put them in albums, like people have done for years. But the albums are so bulky and you have to make hard decisions about which pictures to print for cost and space reasons.
And then I came across a post on Pinterest from the eighteen25 blog (I can’t find the exact post again) about making family yearbooks! I immediately fell in love with this idea. All the pictures from the year, all in one easy-to-store place. I was hesitant for awhile, just feeling sad about not having actual hard print pictures, but after serious pondering and discussing it with some people (y’all, this was a really big decision), I decided to go ahead with the books, and also print out a few pictures from each year- the “important” ones.
In July 0f 2012 I began creating the photo books. I started with the year 2009 because my husband and I met in January of that year, so it seemed fitting to start there. At some point I hope to go back and do my college years and before, but for now my focus is catching up to present day. I have completed 2009-2012, and am about 3/4 of the way through 2013.
After much research I chose to use Blurb for the making and printing. It is definitely not the cheapest or best quality of the options, but it has a large page limit (400) and a “portrait” option for the book versus landscape. (I will say that I had a program issue at one point and lost an entire book, but their customer service was outstanding and I received a $150 credit, enough to cover a couple of my books. And I think the issue was probably mostly my mistake). Overall, I have been very happy with my books, the design program, and the pricing. I average about $70 for each book, which seems pretty good for an entire year worth of pictures!
In creating the books, I don’t use a specific “style” or plan. Sometimes I put 1-2 pictures on a page, sometimes 6-7. It all just depends on the event and the pictures. One thing that I LOVE about this is that you can add random pictures that you may not choose to print out and put in an album, but fit into the book. And with phones we all take so many pictures throughout the day that we’d like to have forever. It has really freed me to feel ok about taking many pictures. (please excuse my bad iphone pictures of theses pages…)
I have also seen where people with kids include scanned pictures of their drawings and such. I definitely plan on doing that! When my husband proposed he wrote me a poem and I scanned that and included it. So many options for things that can be preserved in these books!
For the covers I always use one of our “professional” pictures from the year (we always have pictures taken in November for our anniversary/Christmas cards).
So, in summary, I LOVE my yearly photo books and HIGHLY suggest this approach to deal with the thousands of pictures we all have. I am sure there are things I have forgotten to cover in this post so please ask questions!