I receive inquiries every day about photo books and I thought I’d share this one with you. It’s a question I get often with variations here or there, but I’m sure many of you may identify with Jessica…
Q: I’ve really enjoyed your website and I’m really excited to start creating photobooks for my family. The problem is I’m really overwhelmed at this point since I have 4 kids and have been married for 11 years and have thousands and thousands of photos. Can you please help me know how to start?? What would you suggest I do-family books and make copies for each kid? I guess I’m just at a loss of what to do at this point since I’d be playing catch up for many years. Please, please, please help with your expertise. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! -Jessica
A: Jessica, thanks for your message! I’m glad you like my site. I can understand that trying to play catch up after so many years may feel overwhelming, but as with many things, recognizing there is a problem is the first step towards the solution. (just teasing a bit!) The most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s never too late to make a photo book. There’s no time limit on your memories. I’m sure your family will love any photo book you put together with them in mind, so your time will be well spent and surely appreciated.
If I were in your situation, I would suggest breaking the process down into several smaller tasks to make it more manageable.
1) Clean House – Uploading thousands of photos into photo book software will drive you batty. The first step would be to narrow them down (pretty ruthlessly) to your absolute favorite photos. Then do any photo editing you may need to do (tweaking exposure, contrast etc.). When I upload my photos, I often upload them in stages so I’m not trying to search through too many photos when I’m creating my layouts;
2) Scan Non-Digital Photos – you may need to scan some of your photos if they’re not digital. Scan at 300 dpi for good print results;
3) Organize Your Photos – Find some way to sort your photos. It can be as easy (and free) as creating several folders on your desktop, or use a photo management program like iPhoto, Adobe Lightroom etc. You can organize by month/year, occasion or topic – whatever works for you;
4) Plan Your Project – Given that you have many years that you’re trying to catch up on, I think you have the right idea about making a single family book and make copies for each kid (and yourself too). If you want to personalize each one, keep the core pages the same and just add a section relevant to each kid. I’m picturing a few spreads with each year’s school photo, perhaps an important birthday, or graduation. That way you don’t have to make 4 entirely different books. Remember, you can create one book and then just duplicate the project. You can then use that as the template for the others and just change up the relevant photos;
5) Check for Deals – My motto is, “Never make a photo book unless you get a deal.” There is always a deal running. I track them on my photo book deals page and on my Groupon page. That photo book that you thought was out of your budget, may not be out of reach if you wait for a promo. Some deals posted on my deals page right now are up to 70% off!
6) Plan Your Next Project – After you get your feet wet with this first project, you can always go back and expand on a particular occasion or theme. Maybe there was a big family vacation that you want to have its own book, or a milestone birthday, or a wedding. There’s no reason to feel that you have to do it all at once. I actually have a list of books that I want to make and every now and then I take a look at it, check out who’s got a deal going on, and get to work!
For more tips, I’d recommend checking out my multi-part how to make your own photo book series. It’s chock full of my best tips. There’s several posts, but just take a look at the topics that interest you.
Best of luck on your photo book projects and happy photobooking to all!