Over the weekend I finished our family yearbook. I almost died. (if you are a regular reader, you know that I almost die on a daily basis. Shoot…the other day I almost died just from doing routine eyebrow maintenance. In my defense, they were trying to claim the upper forehead as a northern province.)
But I am proud to say that I am finished and the order is officially in.
What is a family yearbook? It’s the photobook diary of our entire year. Each year I combine all our pictures in one spot and actually print out the book. I know…gasp…hardcopies of photos are almost nonexistent these days. This way it forces me to print and I know all my favorite pics are in one place.
I started this tradition four years ago and these books are one my most precious possessions. You can read about my first experience with printing out the books by clicking here.
I use MyPublisher to create the books (this isn’t sponsored btw) and I really love that I know exactly what the software does and what to expect. I used them to make Will’s family name book if you recall. They have a limit of 100 pages which isn’t my favorite…I could stand to have 20 more pages But it does force me to pick the cream of the crop photo-wise.
All you do is download the software available on the site and then access it through your computer. After it is done, you can order it through your account and the best part is…it’s all backed up right there…so if you want to reorder, you can. That means, if there is a fire in the house…I don’t even need to save the books…that’s good news for the boys because otherwise I’d have to leave the weakest behind. #sorryLJ
If you are like me and make these books or are thinking of making a family yearbook, here are some tips to help get your pages going…
- Reflective Layouts
As you can see in the photo above, the mirrored image layouts works really well for a two page spread. It makes the pages tie together and gives it an overall balanced feel. I recommend making sure that photo neighbors (like the crab and the overhead of Weston) are not exactly the same in scale or background so that it gives some separation but they still feel like a cohesive group.
- Dedicated Pages
I have so many photos of the boys together from 2013 that it was really hard to not get bored with looking over the hundreds of pics…so one other layout option is to separate your absolute favorites into dedicated pages. One is my favorites for Weston…the other for Will. Since both pages have the same layout option (6 large verticals), the spread has a lot of balance but each photo gets more attention because it only has five like it (instead of eleven that are vying for attention).
- Use Non-people Photos
I have spreads dedicated to a lot of holidays (Easter, Halloween, Christmas) and it creates interest when some of the photos are of the activity or of non-people. You could really use anything…landscapes, favorite toys, food, flowers…really anything that tells more of the story. Plus, it will be fun to look back in the future when things are sooo different (remember how fun it was to look back at your family album and see you in CareBears bathing suits and sitting on green shag carpeting? I’m talking to you Jeremy It’s the same concept).
- Go Big and Go Multi
The “big & multi” combo is one of my favorite. I save the big photo for my favorite and then the multi tells more of a story. The pages above are of our visit last year to the Pittsburgh area to visit my grandparents (I didn’t blog about that, did I?). The one of the tractor is so special to me because that tractor is one of my Pappap’s and Will’s favorite things and this was their first drive together.
- Instagram FTW
Our lives are on our phones these days…but that doesn’t mean they aren’t special pictures. I had probably 10% of our book as square phone shots…and one of our vacations (we visited Destin with the Petersiks) was a perfect opportunity to recap all in Instagram photos. It was especially effective because it made our other beach vacation last year (Gulf Shores with my family) look so different.
- Backdrop it like its hot
The backdrop is great for parties and it’s even better if you want to actually group all those photos together for your yearbook! Our Halloween party was at night, with poor lighting, and had a variety of ‘unique’ pairs. But since the backdrop was there, everyone was on board for taking pics and they were great to tie together for a full spread.
- Achievement Spreads
I like having some pages that commemorate the big achievements in the boy’s lives….like this one where Weston took his first steps (at an indoor soccer facility…he knows how to kick crawling to the curb!). I decided to make the ‘timeline’ a nine photo page of him developing from laying to rolling to crawling and then put the grand finale photo in a place of honor making it larger. Even though the soccer facility photo isn’t a photographer’s dream picture, it was the moment when he took his first steps at 8 months and it is always better to be real than perfect
- Grab Attention with White
Our eyes get tired or bored just like other parts of our body and sometimes throwing in a visual break helps create interest. How do we do that in a book of 100 pages of Bower boys? I do it with white backdrops. The boys costumes got front and center attention without any other distractions with a white backdrop. There are variety’s of ways to do that…my favorite is a large piece of white flannel clamped to our garage door and then I do this method to edit the background away.
- Like with Like
Don’t have enough photos to fill an entire spread? Or perhaps the pics all look too busy? Try breaking them up with like-minded photos…similar to what I did above with leaves and pumpkins. Separating the leaf photos helps make them less busy and I didn’t have enough pumpkin photos to do a full page that I loved so I filled in with Will throwing little leaves (I call it boy glitter) and riding his tricycle through leaves and hiding in the bushes and suddenly I have a two page Autumn themed spread.
- Edit Specific Events Differently
I don’t normally edit all photos the same – they are each different and I try to do what looks best for THAT photo regardless of my personal style. But in this case (my sister giving birth to Clay), I purposefully chose to edit her birth photos so that they were all the same and specific to her story. All of a sudden, my mom holding just another baby is a part of this special day…this special story. Editing can be very powerful in specific scenarios and this is one of them. Oh and birth photos generally work really well with sepia and black-n-white because of the blood and guts factor.
So those are ten different tips for family yearbooks that look great and create interest and keep all eyes on deck. Have you been making family year books? Or maybe you are a scrap booker? Or a voracious album keeper? How do you document all these short years?