Making a Permanent Family Album

Our family has acquired thousands of photographs over the past 100 years. Some are in albums, some are on disks, some are in permanent (dead) digital storage. If you are wondering how to get control of your photos, I’m here to help you turn those overwhelming and often under viewed photographs into a beautiful album you can share with your family.

My fear is that at some time in the future, one of my children, or their children,

are going to look at those boxes of slides and photographs and throw them in the garbage.

Or in the case of digital photos, of which I have thousands, push delete.

But a printed, annotated book? I bet they’ll not only keep it but cherish it.

I use Shutterfly to make  gorgeous hard cover albums using the company’s online system. It allows you to upload your photographs and create the book right online using their easy program, which includes a variety of templates and page backgrounds. Then you can print in in a variety of sizes, and invite other family members to view the book online and print their own copy. Over many books, I have always been very happy with the results and the quality.

My daughter Rosey and I made an album together (we also designed my covers together) to commemorate the sale of the cottage that had been in the family for 50 years. We pulled together slides,  prints, color and black and white, as well as pictures that had been printed on alayout2 printer and pinned to the cabin wall for many years. Oh yes, and video stills. But despite the wide variety of qualities and color casts, the result was amazingly homogeneous. That’s why I trust Shutterfly. And since my husband’s 4 grown brothers and sisters and their children had all grown up at the cottage, they were each able to download as many books as they wanted for their families straight from Shutterfly without our having to be awkwardly in the middle.

As I’ve been working on this ongoing family photo project (I have a lot of photographs and have divided it into a number of books), so many people have said to me, “I have so many pictures, too. I’d love to do something like that.”

So I decided to share the process.

If you have another company you trust, by all means follow along and use them. I have no stake in Shutterfly, but it’s the company I use so it’s the company I’ll use in this series of posts.

So, let’s get started.

Step One: Your assignment this week is to pick a topic for your book, gather up all of the related photographs, either digital, slides or prints, and start looking through them.

layout3If you are considering going back to your childhood or, like me–horrors!–your parent’s childhood, contact other family members who might be hording boxes of pictures too. But I warn you that this is an overwhelming task. You would probably be wise to set some parameters and start with your immediate family, or a trip you’ve recently taken (another of my favourite book topics and much easier to make!) Then once you’ve made one and got the process down, branch out to other trips or more extended-family albums. As a photographer, I’m asked to make wedding books too, which is a lot of fun.

So are you with me? Just pick a topic for your book, gather the photos, and start sorting.

What kind of photo collection do you have? Just a few, or have you, like me, ended up with the bulk of the family photographs?

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5 thoughts on “Making a Permanent Family Album

  1. I was a Creative Memories consultant, so I’m well versed in creating albums. I do the traditional type, not the digital type. I’m currently working on 2 albums that will be given at Christmas. One for my dad and the other for my niece’s little boy.

    1. These albums do make wonderful gifts. I”m hoping to get my own ready for a Christmas present for my mother. I have too many slides to do a traditional book, and have too many old books that need amalgamating. But there is something very nice about seeing the original photographs, and I will definitely not be throwing anything important out. In fact, I will be making an actual album from the old pictures too.
      Thanks for commenting.

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