© 2012 photobookgirl

Photos and Photo Books – Why Bother?



Sometimes I get impatient looks.  Sometimes I get head-shaking.  Sometimes I feel badly for my subjects when I’m taking too long at setting up or taking too many.  Sometimes my subjects (my one-year-old love of my life or my twenty-something relatives) rebel. Yes, I’m talking about my incessant picture taking.  Not to mention some people think I’m a nut with all my photo book making. (Just call me crazy photo book lady!)  I touched upon that issue a bit in my last 365 post. Really, just a bit.  Little did I know that my side note would encourage Bethany a Photo Book Girl reader, to respond with one of the most thoughtful and inspiring comments I received since starting this blog about two and a half years ago. It made me tear up a bit (but then again I cried watching Snoopy Come Home and always get misty seeing the family’s reaction after they “move that bus!” so admittedly I am prone to sentiment).  But seriously, I was really touched by her words and wanted to share them with you.  I didn’t know how many folks would see her comment on an old post and since she said I could share her thoughts (after making them “a little more poetic and descriptive” she says), I honestly could think of no better words than her own – real and unedited.

Thanks for sharing Bethany! You made my day! 🙂

Photo Book Girl

P.S. I’m very lucky to have a very supportive family with regard to my photo book obsession.  Sometimes they tease me or make comments, but as a whole they love my photo books!

After you read it, I would love to hear your thoughts.  Please comment below!


Hi Photogirl…I read your statement about photobaby and I have two stories with one central theme I’d like to share.

I am a photobook Junkie…I do about 5-10 photo books a year.  Yep total junkie. Last year I started to get a lot of crap from people….everyone saying (even the pre teen kids when they heard adults jumped in and it spiraled)  I don’t want my picture taken.  I blew a nutty and was gonna stop doing photobooks when my mother in law after three years said i need to remove all her pictures from my facebook.  there’s 20 hours i’ll never get back…..any how i was ready to be done with photos photo books etc.  after all it isn’t easy to make the books, to take the time to take pictures and edit them….and for what i was wondering why bother….and then two things happened shortly after…i like to believe it was God giving me advise…

I work with elderly people part time in their homes.  I worked with a woman in her 90’s and we were talking.  She had a few shoe boxes of pictures and I of course love photos so we started looking together and talking.  Her kids had moved, her husband had died, and she only had two grandchildren that lived far away (life had unfolded around her).  Her kids come to visit as often as they can, a son lives locally but is busy with his own life and comes by weekly,  she told me that all she had left to remember her life of being a mother that she loved so much was those boxes of pictures….and that when she looked at them she was back there.  she wished she had more photos of herself, of her husband but vanity had prevented them both from being photographed to often…….she wished she’d taken more pictures of the daily routines because while trips had been fun and family gatherings great what she missed and remembered where the family dinners, the morning routine for school, the kids playing in the backyard and their nightly board games….things at the time that seemed insignificant but now are priceless….it was inspiring to see someone near the end and realized that all these books i do for my daughter will most likely be what brings me joy and comfort much later in life should i be so lucky to live that long…..

the second thing that happened….in summers i go to my families in nh at a lake. the cousins come and my brother (who is the biggest complainer of all and his preteen kid that  i love dearly but can be well preteeny)  I brought my collection of books from the past 5 years that had to do with us (my family not the inlaws)  we were gonna be seeing great aunts and uncles and long lost cousins so i brought the books to share the years we’d been seperated…..well, those wonderful, bratty, moody preteens saw the bag of books and one rainy afternoon they spent 6 hours lying on grandma and grandpas big bed looking at the books….laughing, sharing stories (the books span 5 years) and remembering.  The little kids were like eh…but the big ones 11-13….were so enthralled and so HAPPY…..i went out with my brother that night or a few later and with tears (he’s not an emotional person) he said to please keep doing the books and include his family too…..that in the winter etc. he and the kid will sit and look at the two or three i’ve given of the 30 some odd i’ve made)  he said he knew he was the bigest pain in the ass but that he’d try to be better and that truly for his family it was the best gift ever….

the only other thing i’d like to share is this…..i watched a show a long LONG time ago….It was one of those mindless blab shows with folks talking about feelings life etc.  there was a group of people like 5 that were adults and i don’t know what the theme of the show was but this one segment is burnt in my soul…..they were talking about their parents and the parents were dead…they were all from different families the six….and these adults who had lost their parents said something along the lines of “I wish I had more pictures of my mom.  She was always hiding from the camera because she thought she was fat, not young, her hair not done….she was my mom and to me she was the most beautiful woman ever.  Now I can barely remember what she looks like.  I have one or two pictures that are from weddings etc. and while they are beautiful they don’t catch the essence of who she was….her laughing, the way she was everyday……so i tell all of your audience to take pictures of yourself because as harshly as you judge yourself today tomorrow you may find this is the time you miss and if you have kids you are to them beautiful and always will be….”

so now even 70pounds heavier then i was when i married, even though i have wrinkles and my hair is a little grayer….every book has at least 5 pictures of me….and my brother said that to me….he said put more in of you all the kids love you and you and mom will be the women my kids love and remember (my sil is not always the best parent….she’s a little rigid and cold—-a sterotypical scientist that’s a little bit too critical hence why she’s an ex)

anyhow i wanted to share these with you…..maybe you can tweek them and make them a little more poetic and descriptive…..but please share the message if you’d like…..i’m lucky to have had these experiences they guide me and help me to make choices….not everyone has had such a life…..


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  1. Cynthia
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:23 am | #

    This was a wonderful post. Recently I had been wondering who would care about the books I have made other than me. But this post made me realize this is a record of my life and the time I have spent on my photo books is totally worth it and I should spend more time! Thank you!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 27, 2012 at 12:02 am | #

      I agree with you. Your photo books are just as much for you as they are for others. I love looking back at my photo books and Photo Book Baby loves looking at them with me!

  2. Chris Fruitrich
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 11:24 am | #

    Dear PhotoBookGirl …
    I want to tell all the non-believers that if you DON’T photobook, you are in essence throwing away memories of trips, family and friends.
    We do a photo book for every vacation. I have given my grandchildren photobooks at each 18th birthday (still one to go) and even did a book of photos that show the ever-changing vistas from our balcony.
    If you don’t record it, select the best photos and lay them out as you would want them remembered, well, you are not doing those memories justice.
    I cannot tell you how much we appreciate your finding us the great photobook deals. And we solemnly vow to keep it up.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 27, 2012 at 12:01 am | #

      What a great present for your grandchildren – if I were a member of your family I would so be looking forward to my 18th birthday!

  3. Maggie
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 11:30 am | #

    Oh how I love this! I’ve always taken a million pictures (of everyone else!) and it’s just been since my daughter was born a year ago that I really believe how important it is for me to get in some pictures, too. I have almost no pictures of myself from my 20s, and it’s such a shame. I’m working hard to try to be in some of the pics with my little girl because some of the pictures that I value the most were simple snapshots with my mom and dad when I was young. I don’t care what they looked like — we were together, and that is what counts.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 27, 2012 at 12:09 am | #

      Yes, if you’re the photobug of the family, you have to make sure to get in front of the camera too from time to time. For my son’s 1st birthday we hired a professional photographer. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t stressed running around trying to take photos and wanted to enjoy the day with my baby too, so this was a must for me. But, next best is to get a trusted family member to take photos. I 100% agree with you that the photos I love to look at are the ones with my parents when I was a kid. I wish my parents had more photos of when they were kids, but photography back then just wasn’t as accessible that many years ago as it is now. It’s so easy to capture so much of our lives, so there’s no reason not to do it! Best!

  4. donna
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm | #

    I just got teary eyed reading this.

    Thank you so much for this entry. I’ve forgotten how much I love taking candid photos of my family and friends doing their normal every day things.

    I also received eyerolls and impatient sighs whenever I pulled out my point and shoot and for a long time I stopped taking pictures for some reason.

    This was a great reminder that little every day things are the stuff we will want to remember later on in life.

    And what timing! I’m going to a family barbeque in about an hour! I can’t wait to take photos of my mom, grandma, and the rest of my family!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 27, 2012 at 12:10 am | #

      I hope you got lots of nice photos today! 🙂

  5. Michael
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 9:32 am | #

    When I was 17, I went on this trip from California to Wyoming with my best friend. We had both just graduated high school and he was thinking of going to college in Wyoming. So we set out on a road trip adventure stopping along the way to see the sights. We were taking lots of pictures of mountains, hills, trees, bears, moose, etc. When we got to Yellowstone, we called my friends dad to let him know we arrived in one piece. He asked if we were taking lots of pictures. We said yes. He said that we should make sure that we take pictures of ourselves in the photos because years later, when we were older, those are the pictures we would value the most. From that point forward, we made sure the two of us were in most of the shots. Six months ago, I made a photo book of that trip that I had taken nearly 30 years ago. Those photos that had the two of us in the picture were the ones I featured in the book and the pictures that I treasure the most today.

    I am lucky to have lots of pictures of my childhood, my mom, my dad, my gradmother and my grandfather (who was a circus clown back in the 1920s-1950s). I even have pictures of my great grandparents dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. I have finally finished scanning in all those photos and printing them out in photo books. My friends think I am crazy to spend so much time working on these photo books (secretly, I think they wish they had the time and skill to do the same). I believe photo books are a great way to honor your loved ones, remember special times and events, keep a family history, etc. Sometimes, when I am in the thick of making a photo book and pulling my hair out, I wonder why I bother. But the day it arrives from the publisher and I flip through it, or the day my kids pull one off the shelf and pour over it, that is when I know. That makes me smile and makes it all worth the effort! Happy photobooking to all my fellow photo junkies!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 27, 2012 at 11:21 am | #

      Ah, I think everyone has a road trip or two that brings back good memories! There are some trips I can recall with flashes of memories of what we did and actual photos of our end destinations, but no photos of the actual road trip on the way there or back. For some reason it makes me think of those rest areas off the highway where you could actually get some pretty decent meatloaf and mashed potatoes and gravy at the cafeteria-like restaurants. Plus they always had really yummy hand-scooped ice cream. Those were the days!

  6. Brenda
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm | #

    My dad would have been 100 years old this summer. I will be 60 this fall. I am planning to do a photo book using old pics,but just haven’t made it a priority. This was a great post. In the back of my mind, this would be a good book to help jog my
    Memory as I age.

    My latest photo book celebrates my grandson’s first year. I am really blessed because today in the mail I received the “other” grandma’s photo book of my grandchild with some pictures I had not seen before.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm | #

      What’s great about making photo books, is that it’s never too late. At some point I plan to go back to scan some old photos and make photo books from them!

  7. Helen Kreitzer
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm | #

    This a great post. Obviously I’m the one taking the pics and making the books (I also scrapbook -but not as I once did since I started making photo books). I’ve gone back and scanned pics from previous vacations and make books. I really believe that different people come to awareness of their personal history at the times of their life when they are ready –for joy or thru sadness. Keep up your posts I really enjoy then!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm | #

      I’m glad you enjoy my posts! Thanks Helen!

  8. Ann Scott
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm | #

    This inspires me to do the every day books. i have mainly done special occasions like holidays and trips, but that really is only part of the story. And I do need to make sure I am in the book too even if I don’t always like the pictures of myself.

  9. Lesley
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 10:04 pm | #

    I have had a camera in my hand since 5th grade. People used to make fun of me but then when graduation came around people would ask me “do you still have that picture of _____” That was years ago and I still get made fun of but I love having the memories. I only wish someone else in the family/friends circle would have this passion too. It is tiring being the one with the camera 100% of the time and unless I ask I am never in a picture. I don’t ask very much b/c it sounds so vain and I am not liek that. In my eyes, cell phones are nice to have for an occassional photo but pictures with a real camera are so much better.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 30, 2012 at 11:21 pm | #

      Make sure you get in some photos! 🙂

  10. Fatima Carvalho
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 11:16 am | #

    What a inspiring story! I have to confess that I do not photograph people very well, except for the two books I did focusing on a baby and then a toddler but your experience encourages me to keep trying to get everyone in the family involved.
    Earlier this year I made a book about a beautiful old colonial house I stayed while visiting my relatives in Brazil – I tried to portrait some of that colonial town, its traditions and details of the house. I plan to bring the book as a gift to my cousin to celebrate her dedication to this historic house. So my point is that even everyday objects can touch someone’s soul too.http://www.mixbook.com/photo-books/interests/casa-de-cultura-vovo-ninita-7425029

  11. Michelle
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm | #

    Photobooks are the best gift you can give to someone. I am currently creating a photobook for my mom who lives out-of-state and she had our boys for several weeks during the summer. She sent me a CD of about 400 pictures and in return will give her a photobook of her memories of our boys. These books will be treasured long after the boys are back with us. Can’t think of a better ‘thank you’ gift than that.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted September 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm | #

      Well said! Photo books are going to go the grandparents for Christmas this year. I also had a professional photographer take family portraits at Photo Book Baby’s birthday party for the purpose of gifts as well.

  12. Jamie
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm | #

    I just found this blog entry and immediately started to tear up. Due to me discovering this wonderful resource, I have been inspired to do yearly books for my family as well as a giant tome of old pictures my Grandmother had. I just finished the photo book of my Grandmother and Grandfather’s childhood, courtship, marriage and their general *life*. I never knew my Grandfather, he passed long before I was born. But the making the book, seeing the pictures, made me feel like I was learning his story. It was bittersweet to see my Grandmother change from a baby to the woman in a wheelchair at my wedding. She now suffers from dementia and her stories are lost in a jumble of confusing comments. However, because of the photo book, my children will know she loved to bowl, was an avid watcher of Soaps, had great family holidays and liked to give hugs. Thanks Photo Book Girl! Could not have gotten here without you!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm | #

      I’m so glad that you happened upon my blog. It’s very touching to hear about your grandmother. We enjoyed our grandmother’s stories for many years (she was 98 when she passed – she was even a great great grandmother). Every time we’d visit, I’d take my video camera and ask her all sorts of questions about her childhood, moments in her life etc. At some point, I will edit it into a nice home movie. She wasn’t able to come to my wedding since the trip would have been quite hard for her at her age so I made a photo book with photos from our wedding which she enjoyed very much. She passed last year and my brother made a memorial book of her. He made one for each household (our uncles and aunts) to keep and to pass on to the next generation. It’s such a nice way to remember her. I’m so glad my blog inspired you to make photo books. I’m sure your children will grow to cherish them! Best!

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