Birmingham Bargain Mom gets inspiration credit for another IDO post. The other night on Facebook she posted this ::
"I have a personal blog about my kids, their nuances and life experiences but I find myself doing bulk posts, just like I did when I was filling out their baby books. How do you document your family's experiences and life - blog, diary, Facebook, photo galleries?"
Which led me to comment about how I also use some of those things - blog, FB, baby books - to document our family, but I also do an annual photobook. Why haven't I posted about this before? Because I am so dumb. I am very dumb. For real. (Ten thousand bonus points to the person who names that tune in the comments.... and my sister can't play.)
So, here it is, an overdue discussion of how I document our lives. In Real Life. You know, as opposed to clicking through jpegs. Which we do sometimes. But, hey, this post is about hard copies. :)
When my firstborn was a year old in 2006, my first mommy friend, Chelsie, showed me her photo book that she made for her son's grandparents for the upcoming Christmas. It was so clean, and neat, and showcased her photography beautifully. And, like I have with countless numbers of her other good ideas.... I copied her. And I have kept copying her every December since then.
A shot from that first album in 2006. [And lookie, my littlest brother Marc (in the red shirt) holding his nephew, my son Tucker.]
In the first album, I didn't have any text. I guess I wanted it to be *extra* tidy looking. But, I think that was a mistake. In subsequent albums, I use some minimal text to label certain family members or events.
In the past, I used to print up 4 x 6 prints and do regular photo albums with more photos (this was in addition to the photo books pictured here....craaazee), but have since given that up. I think that happened when Calvin was born in 2009. Daaang, it's true what they say about second-borns. Sorry, buddy.
Speaking of "used to's".... I also used to scrapbook. Years and years ago. I gave it up for a number of reasons... it's expensive, took up too much time, and the albums become huge behemoths. And frankly, it just stressed me out.
So, if you'd like some hard copies of your photos, printed photo albums are a nice way to do it. Some tips, and then a few more photos of my books.
- These are AWESOME gifts for my kids' grandparents. They look forward to receiving the books.... they were worried this year because I sent the books just *after* Christmas instead of right at Christmastime as usual. [And actually, I think I will keep doing that. I liked having our Christmas Day shots in there.] I always order 3 books... one for my parents, one for Dave's parents and one for us. I will have to order more when we bring home baby #3.... that way when all the kids are grown, there will enough copies in existence that everyone can have one.
- I use Snapfish, but Birmingham Bargain Mom suggested a few others as well.... Shutterfly, Mpix, Winkflash, and Walgreens.
- Don't order the fabric covered books. Get the leather, or leather-ish option. I have mostly fabric covered books and they do not hold up as well as the leather. (Duh.) They have various marks on the covers that can't be rubbed off.
- If you can, stick with ordering the same style and size every year. They will look clean and neat on the shelf.
- You can get great deals on these books if you get emails from the company and watch for the sales. Last year, I believe I made all three of my books for something crazy like $25, by using coupon codes and Christmas sales.
- Keep the pages neat. It's tempting to jam as many photos as you can on each page (because after a certain number of pages, at least on Snapfish, you start adding significantly to the cost), but your photos will mean so much more if you can actually see the photos clearly. So, maybe use just a few of your best shots on you kid's birthday instead of ten okay shots documenting every mouthful of cake.
- I have enjoyed being able to view the photos in chronological order. Snapfish has an autofill option where it puts in the photos into the book based on the date the file was created. Saved me a ton of time this year. And btw, I spend several hours making the book every year. This year it was probably 4 or 5, but I had to reorganize most of the files and folders on my hard drive to make sure I chose all the photos I wanted. I am sure it can be done faster if you keep your photos organized on your computer.
- Also... and this is strickly an opinion from an anti-clutter nut job... don't clog the pages up with too much text and detail. Let the photos do most of the talking. When you are looking at the book with your family, simply having the photos there will remind you of all the details you can verbally share with them. [Have you ever seen some scrapbooks that have tons and tons of writing? It can overwhelm the photos, in my opinion. But, on the other hand, there are some people who think that every detail should be preserved in writing. To each his own.]
- In a super quick search, I ran across this post on how to make an album from FB photos. There's probably other great resources out there, too. Feel free to share more ideas in the comments.
- Of course, you can always just skip the annual photo books and get your blog printed up into a book. My friend Jennifer's husband did that for her.... she blogged about her twin daughters' first five years. Talk about a baby book! I saw the book and it choked me up because it's so special. There are loads of resources online to do this project, so if you try it, let me know in the comments which site you did it through and if you were happy with it. I may want to do that someday.
- So, how do you document your photos in real life? The creativity abounds, no doubt! I mean, this *is* the internet. Please feel free to link to your blog in the comments. If I was cool, I'd do a Linky, but I have no idea how to do that yet. ;)
|[And, hey, it's Dr Techno!]|