My husband and I constantly lament that we have thousands upon thousands of digital images just sitting around gathering dust in our cloud. While there's comfort in knowing that they should be safe from disasters like floods or fires, and I'm sorry to get morbid, but how will my kids know how to get those files if something were to happen to me? So I've started creating family yearbooks to preserve our memories. I'm so proud of them, and can't express how happy it makes me when my son asks to look at the "baby Jacob book" or the "big boy Jacob book." I'm finishing up my daughter's baby book now, and with her about to turn 2, I can't wait to see her reaction!
Having created a few family yearbooks of my own doesn't make me an expert by any means, but I have learned from my mistakes, and picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that I hope might help someone else starting this undertaking!
Know Your End Goal
If Jason and I have done our job, one day our children will leave the nest. I want each of them to have a set of photo books, or what I'm referring to as family yearbooks, that represents each year of their upbringing in our family. Not only that, but if I'm really on top of it, I hope to document not only the little things in our day to day life, but also what's happening in the world around us.
Work on it Gradually
Making a family yearbook is completely daunting at first. Especially when you dive in without having planned for it ahead of time. The first time I made a photo book, which was my son's baby book, it was a Herculean undertaking. I didn't have images edited or saved in any particular place. It took months of gathering images, editing them, and then compiling them into a cohesive story.
After that experience, I decided that I needed to be more organized. And if we're being honest, I'm not THAT organized, my method is kind of lame, but it does the job.
As a photographer I take a lot of photos. And for some reason, editing photos is intensely relaxing to me. I really enjoy snuggling up on the couch after the kids have gone to bed, with my husband in the armchair next to me, a glass of wine, and my laptop. I try not to let my personal images go more than a week without editing, so as the weeks and months pass by, I edit my personal pictures here and there, and save them with an addition to the file name showing the date. So "IMG904.jpg" becomes "Mar 5 2018_IMG904.jpg", then I drop them in a folder on my desktop called "2018". Once the time comes to make a photobook, I've got the images organized by month, so it's pretty painless to upload a month at a time. You could also do this on your phone, or wherever you keep photos.
At the same time, I write little notes on the notes app on my phone about each month. Funny things the kids said, little stories, etc. This helps jog my memory when it comes time to write certain entries. Of course a more organized person would probably have a better system, but like I said, it works for me.