How To Create a Family Yearbook: Controlling the Chaos of Digital Photos

If you're like me, you have a hard drive full of photos, a cell phone full of the same, and a nagging sense in your brain that they're just going to keep piling up over the years — yet you keep on photographing… you can't stop! I decided a few years ago to tackle the mess and start a yearly, well… yearbook. Yes, occasionally I print the odd photo here and there for display, but most of my photos — even the photos from my phone — get printed in our yearbook.Throughout the year, when I download photos from my camera I put them in their yearly (and then monthly) folders. Sometimes I don't do anything with the photos at all until yearbook time! Then, once a year — usually in January — I compile the past year's photos, edit them down a bit, and throw them all in a book in chronological order.

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I've used several print-your-own-book companies in the past, but the past two years have been with blurb, and I've been very satisfied. A few years ago I designed my layouts individually in Photoshop and InDesign, but that took way too long — recently I've taken advantage of blurb's publishing software and used it to compile and design my spreads.

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I've been very happy with the result; my family and friends have loved grabbing a yearbook off the shelf and sitting down on the sofa to flip through a year of our lives. It also makes the little shots here and there worthwhile — previously, a shot of decorating the Christmas tree or making a pumpkin pie with the kids would have been tossed in the digital archives and never heard from again. But now, our 2008 Christmas tree — or 2010 pumpkin pie — fill the pages of a yearly chronology, where you can see the seasons change, our kids grow, our adventures unfold, and our life together evolve.

MORE PHOTO ORGANIZATION IDEAS ON APARTMENT THERAPY:
Organizing Photos
Organizing Digital Photo Clutter
Store, Display or Scan: How Do You Keep Your Photographs?

(Images: Sarah Dobbins)

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