Why take pictures if you’re never going to look at them? Or share them with family and friends? I have always enjoyed looking at pictures and I knew that having a baby was a golden opportunity to start fresh, without shoeboxes. . .
So 17 years ago when I was pregnant with my first, I hatched a simple plan to manage the rolls of film I knew I would be having processed weekly. I found these albums at Target and bought a few at a time.
It was a little embarrassing that they filled up so quickly, but after the newness of the babies wore off, I got down to filling about 2 per year. And it was easy to mark the dates and keep everything organized. The photo lab lady at Walgreens became a personal friend as I visited her at least twice a week!
For a long time, we had built in open shelving, and it was amazing how often we reached for an album and paged through it while guests were over or we were just hanging out in the family room. But then digital cameras came out, and, like most people, our photo printing slowed to a crawl. I ran into the photo lab lady, and she nearly cried that she missed us! So hubby came up with the new plan: every year, between Christmas and NYE, he goes through the photos that we’ve uploaded to our computer from our camera and phones and makes a file of the year’s best 100 or so. Then I upload them to a photo printing site and create a photo book for that year. Splitting the work between us makes it a less daunting job. And the kids like to add backgrounds and doodads to the layouts once I get the pictures and captions in. It’s a family project!
It’s worked great; they are very thin and sit out on this tray in the family room to be picked up and thumbed through frequently. I love having each year of our lives at a glance. To be honest, we are a few years behind, but we sat down and did 2010 today, so I am feeling accomplished and thought I would share. Each book ends up costing between $30 and $100 depending on how many pages we include, whether we do a premium cover, and whether they have a 50% off deal going.
We have also made photo books dedicated to specific events or trips. Sometimes we have them mailed to my in-laws’ house as they are out of town and not tech-savvy, so that they can see our pictures before we do. 🙂
One of my best brainstorms came as I tried to inspire a young niecelet to enjoy the local art museum. I offered her my phone to take pictures of all of her favorite pieces — there were probably 200! to comb through — and then when we got home, we made a photo book online together and had it mailed to her house. She took it to school and told her teacher all about her trip — and hopefully her newfound appreciation for art. 😉