I really do love Photo Books! – they are a great addition to a bookcase or a coffee table in your home and they allow access to your photos that could have long since been forgotten on your computer – so I thought it was about time I showed you how to create a Photo Book (or at least how I create my photobook!) so that you can see what’s involved.
One of the first photo books I received was nearly 7 years ago.
When my daughter was born we created a folder on DropBox that we shared with family and close friends so that they could see photos of her. This was a great idea as it meant we didn’t have to email everyone individual photos and take up lots of space etc….
It had another advantage that we had no idea about – and that was that my best friend decided to use some of the photos to create a baby photo album for us showing our daughters first few days – and it was the best baby present we received. After all – we were in no way ready to create anything like this ourselves, and it was a really unique and precious gift.
It got me thinking about Photo Books as a way of preserving memories ever since – and in 2010 I started to create a yearly photo book with all the highlights (and sometimes low lights!) of the year.
It’s a way we can easily look back over all we did – and have accessible on our bookcase to show others should they wish to see! – and I think they will be great for my daughter to look at in years to come as a great keepsake that won’t take up too much room!)
I love the tradition of spending some time just after the new year starts, looking back over the year just gone and creating a lasting memory of that year – warts and all!
So, in case you are thinking of creating this tradition in your own home, or creating a photo book for any other reason, here is how I do it:-
STEP ONE – PREPARATION IS KEY
As with everything in life – putting in a little bit of effort in prep can make all the difference, and nothing more so in my opinion than with a year book.
Trying to collate everything from the previous year together at the end of the year can be torture – so my way of doing things breaks it down into much more manageable chunks – and that is to tackle it at the end of each month while things are still fresh in your mind.
There are 2 ways of collecting everything together – digital photos and physical paper items (certificates, artwork, mementos etc…) – so here’s what I do with both:-
Every year I start a new folder in DropBox labelled with that year – and then under it I create a folder for each of the months.
Each month I then put all digital photos from that month into the right folder.
These can be photos taken on a camera, on your phone etc… – just get everything together in one place.
Again, at the end of each month I take anything I have kept for that month together, and scan it into my computer so that I have a digital copy.
I then add to the same file as the digital photos, and either recycle/shred/keep the physical items depending on their importance (usually this is a great way to get rid of paper clutter, as the scanned copy is just as good a memento).
I do this for items such as:-
- Certificates from swimming/school/clubs etc….
- Greetings cards for special events
- Artwork from my daughter
- Writing my daughter has done that we want to keep
- Items we want to keep photos of (special outfits or toys etc…)
Creating a set of pictures for the Photo Book
Once I have everything in a folder for that month, I now have my MASTER set of photos that we simply keep safe and secure in DropBox.
You could easily stop here and wait until the end of the year to pick your photos for your yearbook – but as you can imagine this would take a lot of time to go through a years photos in one go – so over the years I have decided that the following step is also needed at the end of the month.
Simply take a full copy of your monthly set of photos and add to another folder in that years file called YEARBOOK PICS (you can see this at the bottom of the picture above).
Taking a copy means that you can simply go through your pictures in your YEARBOOK PICS folder and delete any photos that don’t make the grade for your yearbook, and just keep the ones that do.
That way, each month I create a full set of photos, and have an edited set within my YEARBOOK PICS file ready to create my photobook at the end of the year.
Honestly – I know this sounds like a lot of work – and really it is – but you will always be organised with your photos, you will know where to go to look at any photos you need at any time, and you will be ready to create a fantastic year book with very little stress come the end of the year.
I also love the idea of doing your photos monthly as it makes you more aware of taking photos, so you get more memories, and you do get quick at getting it done once you’ve done it for a couple of months….
So – you’re all ready, with lots of great photos of the year and scanned items – what next? What happens when the end of year comes around?
Let’s see, shall we!…
STEP 2 – WHEN THE END OF THE YEAR COMES AROUND…
At the end of the year you will want to sort out your December photos, and then as close to Jan 1st as possible you can then create your Photo Book.
I now choose PhotoBox** for my photo books as their system works well for what I need, and they usually have good deals on which means I can get the photo book for a lot less than their usual price – (Pick when you buy!).
All you need to do is create an account, and then you can load all your photos from your PHOTOBOOK folder into their site.
I simply create an album on their site in my account labelled “xxxx PHOTOBOOK” or something similar – so it’s easy to know what photos to use etc….
Then you choose the size and shape of book that you want – my advice here is to think about where you will store your photo book, and ensure the size you choose will go there easily. I like A4 size as this makes for an easy to read book.
If you have created a photobook before, then try and make them the same size and shape as they look great all lined up:-
Once you have decided on the type of book, and you have loaded your photos, it’s time to start the book:-
With PhotoBox** you have 2 options in how to create your book – you can either let them create the photo book for you – or you can create it from scratch.
I would advise that you get PhotoBox to create it if you are a little unsure of anything technical, as creating from scratch can be quite fiddly – but once you have got the hang of it, creating your own gives you so much more say in what the look and feel of each page will be.
Creating the Photo Book
Once you go into the editor you can start to have some real fun!
For each page you can choose lots of different things:-
- How many photos you want on the page
- Whether you want to add words to the page (and you can choose font, colour and size)
- What the layout of the photos will be
- What order you want the photos to be in (chronologically or random)
You can be as creative as you like – but what I would say is that it is easy to create a LOT of pages very quickly – especially with a year book – so just be aware of how many pages you are having. A trick to creating less pages is of course to put more photos per page – but I do like having some pages with just one large photo when it’s a particularly nice one!
I love to have the photos in date order so that it’s a true year book – and you can also have notes within the book to show things like childrens 1sts (tooth, words, walking, school etc…) which can help you remember when they happened. However, lots of people like to have a very random feel to their yearbooks so that it’s just a sample of what happened that year, and that can work really well as well.
You can see (only just, sorry it’s a little small!) in the picture above, that the pictures you have loaded are all in the bottom part of the screen, and then you create your pages in the main part of the screen and simply drag and drop the photos into each page – dead easy!
Always remember – it’s YOUR book – so you do what you want – make it as complicated or as simple as you like, and have fun doing it!
I hope that this post has helped you if you are thinking about creating your own book – and I’d love to see pictures of ones you have created!
(Want to know more about Photo books? CLICK HERE to go to another post I’ve written all about them…)