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Our Family Album – 2011

2012 August 5
by Becky

I’m just now realizing I promised to share the deets of our 2011 Family Album, but never did. So here goes!

It turned out GREAT.

My standing goal is to make a photo book compilation for ever year. To date, I’ve been fairly successful, sometimes varying a year with eighteen months or so. Prior to 2003, my albums were put together with glue, craft paper, and involved pinking shears. I pulled my hair out hating every minute of “scrapbooking” but knew the end result would be worth it. I have so much respect for people who have the patience to put together those beautiful scrap books with all the embellishments…I don’t know how they do it!

2003 and on, it was online photo books all the way. Shutterfly, Snapfish, and Blurb were the standbys until I discovered MyPublisher. When the first coupon was emailed to me, I knew it was the “publisher” for me. **UPDATE: Since then MyPublisher has shown some weaknesses—the worst of which is it’a inability to build books longer than 100 pages. So I’ve started using other services since our yearly books just get longer and longer…

I love MyPublisher because it uses free downloaded software instead of Flash to edit books. I find it to be less clunky than the Flash varieties and very easy to use. No frills, just excellent software with incredible printed results for a very affordable price.

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MyPublisher provides a plethora of great page templates, making it easy to get pictures and captions on the pages quickly. You can also customize pages by resizing photos and captions. Yes, there are a few tricks to use if you are “going rouge” and really changing up the provided page layouts, but for the most part it’s very easy.

Something unexpected when beginning this year’s album was the sheer volume of photos I had to choose from. In years past, I was lucky to have photos for every month of the year, but this time I was overwhelmed with the thousands of pictures we’ve taken since Ethan was born. Let’s just say, I spent a lot of time on this book.

It helped immensely to have the expiration date of a coupon code to keep me motivated to finish…it could have gone on forever. As my friend Liz (very talented graphic designer) says, at some point you just have to stop.

What do you think?

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photo book layout, photo album layout, photo album design, mypublisher book editor, mypublisher photo books, family photo album, online photo book sites, yearly photo album

I like white space, but also wanted to pack the pictures in there. So some pages had one big photo and some had twelve little ones. The many-photo pages helped to tell stories, like the one above on the right. It depicts Ethan’s first solid food experience.

I filled some pages with multiple shots of the same scene…kinda going for a “flip book” of action effect. See Ethan and Dewey interacting above.

I spent lots of time editing my photos for color and light. I’ve always found that photo books print slightly dark, so I wanted to be sure details were sharp and bright in my submitted files. My efforts were not wasted, the colors came out perfectly.

I kept text to the bare minimum. The beginning of each month was noted, plus any specific events/holidays. The above layout depicts Ethan’s first Thanksgiving so I’ve noted that in the far left corner.

The page count steadily climbed to 95 pages. Whew! It took a really long time to go back through the book for proofreading and image-checking. Good thing I used to do this for a living! Nothing more frustrating than a stupid mistake.

I finished just one day before my deadline, grabbed my coupon code, and totalled things up. With the exception of the linen slip case, I did not choose any add-ons like premium paper or lay-flat pages

As you can see, my coupon made a huge difference! $55+ savings is no small thing.

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This same book on other photo book sites would be over $100 for sure. Even with a coupon!

The book arrived in just a few days and, as you can see, is fabulous. We are so happy with it and it feels SO good to have 2011 done.

Not only will this be a wonderful momento for year to come, but it helped me get organized. It forced me to go through ALL of our 2011 photos. Therefore, many out of focus or duplicate shots were deleted and keepers were edited. Since I save everything in a yearly, monthly, and by event folder structures (that get backed up to our external hard drive regularly—learned that lesson the hard way), it was pretty easy to find everything I needed.

organizing photography, organizing files on computer

Need motivation to get your photo book done?

Well, if you have even one kid, save your self many hours of frustration and regret and just get a book made each year. If you don’t, you will spend what will seem like a lifetime getting even one year documented later.

Nip it in the bud! Tear it off like a bandaid.

How do you organize your photos? Do you have a favorite photo book site? 

10 Responses
  1. Shannon permalink
    August 6, 2012

    It looks great! Speaking of stupid mistakes, I had a similar coupon for Picaboo and decided to use it to make my wedding album (only 4 years late-I should take your advice about getting these albums done on time!). Well, I rushed through it as the coupon was about to expire, though I made sure to take some time to quickly double check all my text and layouts, etc. Well, it arrived and looked beautiful, except I spelled our last name wrong. On the cover. So awful!! My Publisher definitely seems more affordable than Picaboo, so maybe I’ll try that next time.

    • Becky permalink*
      August 7, 2012

      AHHHH! Horrible. And I know people who have taken even longer to get their wedding album done. :)

      • Lauren G permalink
        August 8, 2012

        Or you could be like Bret and I and use MyPublisher 5 years ago (they were great back then too) and then proceed to loose your wedding album on a shelf in its nice soft sleeve… Only to discover it 5 years later when you move!

        • Becky permalink*
          August 8, 2012

          HA! Nice! That is only good thing about moving. You go through all your crap and find stuff you lost or just forgot you had!

  2. Grandpa Joe permalink
    August 6, 2012

    Great Job!
    Can’t wait to page thru the finished work.
    Sure beats the pile of B&W, and color prints, slides, 8mm, Super8, and VHS tapes of you and Mike when growing up………and now,
    trying to put them into some Media that can be easily viewed by all with technology of the moment. I’m sure a soon as I get everything on DVD,
    something new will come along.

    BUT……………I’m enjoying the memories while it’s all being translated and transferred.

  3. Sandy Schon permalink
    August 6, 2012

    Looks great. Could you organize all of our pictures?

    • Becky permalink*
      August 7, 2012

      That would take 100 years. =)

  4. Kelsey permalink
    August 5, 2015

    Hi, this may be a long shot but what website are you using now to make photobooks? I came across your blog because I was searching for family “yearbooks” I currently use my publisher but I hate that it only goes to 100 pages. Thank you so much!

    • Becky permalink*
      August 6, 2015

      I’m still using My Publisher! I was a little upset about the 100 page limit at first, but then I realized being limited helps me make better, more quality books, not just a gathering place for every single picture I’ve ever taken. So I like it now!

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