Being our family historian and capturing our life moments is important to me. Each year, I create an annual family album or family scrapbook that chronicles our year in review. I print one copy for each of our children that I can hand down to them someday. Ideally, I like to create the album for the past year in January once that previous year has ended. However, sometimes time (and a new baby!) get the better of me which is why in November 2013 I just finished scrapbooking my family album from 2012.
Here are four scrapbooking tips to create an annual family album:
1. Choose Your Method for Scrapbooking.
I like to have our annual family album as a hard, bound scrapbook, but if you prefer you can have a digital album that you share electronically with family and friends or save to a hard drive for long-term archiving. To create a hard bound album, you can use traditional paper scrapbooking methods or use an online tool to create your scrapbook digitally. Personally, I prefer to create the scrapbook digitally. You can read six reasons why I choose digital scrapbooking in a previous blog post.
2. Organize Your Photos.
As I take photos, I transfer them regularly to our computer. Each time, I edit the photos, cropping, removing red-eye etc. for optimal viewing. I then organize the photos into folders or albums by month. I use iPhoto on a Mac, so my photos actually get placed in an “event” for each month. I’m also able to label the faces of each person in the photo for future reference.
I then have all the photos together in one spot so when the time comes to create my annual family scrapbook, I can easily look through every photo from that month and select which ones to use in the album. I usually pick my favorite photos and those that can be placed together on a page to illustrate a story or event from our year. My Dad always says in the long-run people care more about photos that show people; not just places or things.
If you use a traditional scrapbooking method, you could then print the photos you’ve chosen for your album. In my case for digital scrapbooking, I import my photos into Picaboo, an online digital scrapbooking tool.
3. Tell a Story.
Once I have my photos ready, I group them together on a page based on the event or story that they illustrate from our year. For a traditional scrapbook method, you could create little photo piles. For digital scrapbooking, I drag and drop the photos on to each page, not worrying about layout or design as I do so. I place all my photos into the album first. This allows me to see the big picture of the year so I can determine whether some stories need to have more pages while others may need to be edited further, deleting photos that aren’t as relevant to telling the story.
I then go through page-by-page choosing the background, arranging photos and adding headings. I continue to rearrange and move all the elements around the page until I have achieved the desired look I want to tell a story. The annual family album should capture all the important stories or events of your year from January through December, like a yearbook. For my annual family albums, I make sure that each month has at least a two page spread, but can have six to eight pages if we’ve gone on a vacation, celebrated a birthday/holiday or had a special outing. I make sure I have an even number of pages for each month so that each month can start on the left side of a two-page spread.
The cover page of my family album always showcases our best family photo from the year. I also include a two-page introduction at the beginning of the album highlighting the biggest, most important stories from our year. The last page in the album is always our family Christmas card.
4. Think Long-Term.
Once I have all the photos placed and arranged throughout the album, I go back through and add captions in a smaller font to identify who the people are in the photos. I use their first and last given names, not just “Grandma” or “Uncle Michael”. As I create the annual family album, I like to think of my audience as my great great grandchildren. I envision my sons passing these albums down to their children and then to their children’s children and so forth as special family heirlooms. I don’t want my future ancestors to have to guess who’s who in the album!
Once you’ve gotten all your captions in place, have someone else proofread to make sure there are no misspellings or errors then you’re ready to print!
What else do you do to archive your family moments for posterity?