If you love to take pictures of your kids like I do, you probably have hundreds of pictures laying around your house "waiting." Waiting to be put in an album, waiting to be scrapbooked, waiting to be organized. Just looking at those piles and boxes used to turn my stress level up a few notches.The photos I loved were slowly becoming just another item to add to my to do list. I needed help!
To the rescue came a good friend and fellow photographer who gave me a great idea that I want to share with you. She told me to stop printing out all the hundreds (OK, thousands) of pictures I was taking and to start creating a yearly family album instead. Now I hear you saying, "But that sounds like a lot of work!" which is what I first thought when I heard the idea. But actually it is a major life and time saver!
If you are not a member already, join one of the many online photosites. I personally love and have used Shutterfly because they are user friendly and have the best customer service. But you can choose what works best for you. Once you join, begin uploading your photos into albums. So for example, after your son's birthday party, simply upload all the pictures you took (or others took) to an album marked "Sam's Birthday Party 2011". Not only will this help you organize your photos, but it gives you back up for all your precious memories in the likely event that your computer ever dies on you!
Now you will have all of your photos uploaded into one place and organized. Time to start the family album for the year! Go to the option on the site to create a photo album and choose your size and cover preferences. That is all you need to do for now. Then, when you are ready, comes the easy part. At the end of each month, create pages of pictures from events that happened that month. So for January, you may have a page for New Year's Day, one for the family snowball fight, Uncle Sal's 50th birthday, and the football game you took the kids too. Whatever you want to remember and took pictures of that month create a photo page for. When you are done, hit save and log out. That's it! Then when February comes to a close, create pages for that month and save. Do this for all the months of the year until you get to the end of December. After you do your New Year's Eve page, you can edit and review your book, hit save and order. And in a week or so you will have a beautiful family album full of memories of the past year - and no boxes of photos staring you in the face or on your to do list.
Now of course this method is not set in stone. The first time I tried this, it was already June so I had some catching up to do for the year. Also, there are times when I have let a month or two (or three) slip by and have not done any work on the photo book. No problem, I just plan a catch up day and work on it then. Some years it is done in December, some years not till March of the following year. Doesn't matter, because it is saved and stored on the website so I can work on it at anytime I choose.
Another great thing about these sites is that you can share photos between families and friends. So my yearly photo album often contains pictures that other people took and shared with me. My dad has talked about doing a yearly album for his 5 kids and 10 grandchildren in which we all upload photos to a share site, and he will make one big "Lovelett" family album each year that we all can order and have for our own. Lots of fun and easy ideas are available.
This idea has given me some time and sanity back, which I am all for! My kids love looking at these books, and I love not having piles of photos everywhere just waiting for me to do something with!
If you want to give it a try, but have some questions, just ask! I'll can also email you an example of my photo book for the year for some ideas. email@example.com