Making a photo book to remember the events of the previous year? Here are my six best tips for making one (and actually finishing it!). Plus you can use the code EREAD40 for 40% off any photo book through 4/1/2021.
A few years ago, I started making annual photo books for our family.
One of my plans for the holiday break a few weeks ago was to make both my 2019 and 2020 photo books but . . . it got away from me so I’ve been working on them this week.
And I feel great about this.
Once the new year rolls over, it’s the perfect time to do it – there aren’t as many things going on in January or February, generally, and with cooler weather and early darkness, it’s an ideal indoor activity.
Plus, the previous year is still fresh in my mind.
I’ve always done mine through Mixbook because they have beautiful print quality (after years of seeing photo books with wildly pixilated and dull colored photos from other printers, Mixbook is always a breath of fresh air).
For my 2017 book, for example, I did a full cover spread of my three big girls holding Tally the day after she was born and every time I pick that book up, I’m thrilled with how crisp and sharp it looks. I love every detail about it, from their little eyelashes to their tiny painted nails and their chubby cheeks.
I also think Mixbook has the easiest online editor to use – some of them are SO tricky and make the whole process so unnecessarily painful.
Now that I’ve done it for a few years in a row, I’ve picked up some tips for making it as quick and easy as possible.
If making a photo book is on your to-do list this year, I hope these tips will help you make it happen!
6 Tips for Making a Year in Review Photo Book
- Remember that ANY photo book is better than no photo book. Guaranteed, in 10 years, you won’t look back and think “I forgot to add this one photo. I wish I didn’t have this book at all.” You will be thrilled you did it and so will your family, so don’t stress yourself out about making it absolutely 100% perfect. Everyone loves looking through photos of people they love and great memories – so pretty much no matter what you put in, it’s going to be a hit!
- Stick with 20 pages. I mean, you can certainly add pages (it’s usually around $1.30 for each extra page, so very reasonable), but I tend to feel overwhelmed, so knowing that I only have to do 20 pages made it feel super feasible. This doesn’t need to be an encyclopedia of your year.
- Use your social media feeds to remind you of the highlights. You can connect directly to your Instagram or Facebook feeds and it’ll show you all your photos. You can even just pull your own whole feed in and Mixbook will auto-populate your book. Because my Instagram feed has a bazillion book photos on it which I don’t necessarily want commemorated in my family photo album, I just browsed through, it selected the photos I wanted and let that remind me of the highlights of the year – a quiet spring at home, backyard movies with our inflatable screen, trips to Las Vegas to see my parents, a trip to Lake Powell, the first day of school, Halloween, Christmas – then dropped those photos in.
- Don’t feel like you need to reinvent the wheel. Mixbook has really talented designers, so pick a style of book and use their templates. I tweaked a few things on mine or changed the layout, but mostly I just trusted them to have made it beautiful and didn’t waste tons of time starting from scratch. Plus, they have way better taste and a sense of style than I do.
- This is for you. After I added the photos from Instagram, I went back and found photos that Bart and I had texted to each other. They weren’t the kind of photos I’d post on Instagram, but they were fun and sweet and things I didn’t want to forget, like a goofy photo of Star with the scariest panda eye makeup and a white dress-up dress from her cousin eating an entire plate of plain whipped cream at Halloween. It wasn’t really an Instagram-worthy photo, but it was definitely a photo I knew we’d love seeing every time we looked through this for the next 50 years.
- Set a deadline. One thing I love about Mixbook is how simple the whole process is – you pick a Year in Review book, you import your photos, write a few captions and place your order. Done! But it’s easy to let it drag out forever or never quite click that order button. So set yourself a deadline and add it to your calendar with a reminder a few days before. Or decide to give it to your spouse or children or parents as a Valentine’s gift so you need to have it ordered in time for it to print and ship. You’ll be glad you made it happen.
I’m always SO happy to get my photo book done and printed – my girls are just growing up so fast and I want to make sure I have a tangible record of our travel, our biggest events, and our quiet days at home.
I don’t want to miss a moment.
Any questions about making a photo book? I’m happy to answer!
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Photos by Heather Mildenstein