How are you; are you having a lovely weekend? Mine began with a delivery I’ve been feverishly anticipating; a copy of the family photo yearbook I’d assembled and ordered, capturing all of the best bits of 2013. Creating it was a labour of love which filled the long evenings between Christmas and New Year, but the result is 132 pages (count ‘em!) documenting the big and small things which together made up what was a wonderful year. It was the first time I’ve done this even slightly methodically; here are a few thoughts and learnings I picked up along the way…
1. Don’t worry too much about chronology
It doesn’t matter if you get the exact sequence of events right (was our day at the seaside before or after Auntie Jean’s birthday?) – no-one will remember anyway. Instead, I grouped pictures according to season, using photos for each section that I’d taken during the year and which I felt captured the essence of the months ahead; snow for the first quarter, then nests and eggs for springtime, and so on… it creates a feeling of the passing of time without you losing sleep over chronology…
Christmas was such a fun and activity-packed time it warrants a section of its very own…
2. Capture the little things as well as the milestones
Whilst holidays, birthdays and events of course feature, some of the loveliest moments for me were the little things; growing sunflowers, racing scooters, feeding ducks; the minutiae of the everyday at this time in our lives – and the ones most likely to make me sentimental in the years ahead!
3. Think about your year in the broadest sense; memories don’t have to have people in them
Regular followers will know that we are gradually renovating our house (very gradually; it is the archetypal money pit…), so at various stages of our book I added pics of completed projects like our bathroom below;
4. Flex your layouts to make the most of the pictures
On some pages of the book, I’ve used a myriad of pictures which reflect the pace and busyness of our lives at that point, like the run-up to Christmas below. At other times, I’ve used a double-page spread for a single photo, like this one of Harry on a beach in Newport, when it felt like the horizon was infinite and we had the place entirely to ourselves.
5. Think beyond photos and use the yearbook as a family archive too.
Possibly my favourite section is at the end, when I’ve added a miscellany of things which were very meaningful to us, whether or not they came with photos.
…like a letter my father wrote to me on my birthday, saying how ‘at this landmark time, I am incredibly proud of you’. A letter so special that it warranted capturing in my book of the best bits of the year…
…and on a different note, cuttings from the 50yr old newspaper we found in a cupboard when excavating an old shed; comically politically-incorrect and charming at the same time, it gives a lovely insight into another era.
This post back in October generated some lovely reminisces of children’s sayings, and I couldn’t miss recording some of Harry’s in our yearbook – immortalising them to remind us just how fleeting the magical pre-school years are;
The archive section also contains a gallery of Harry’s artwork from across the year, which allows me to be a little more ruthless about what I throw away; we now have a permanent record without needing to store boxes and boxes of artistic efforts in the loft.
5. Use your completed Yearbook as a one-stop shop for Grandparents (and everyone else…)
I was slightly astonished when I watched my book upload to the server to find that it contained 756 photos. I struggle during the year to keep up with sending interesting family pics to relatives without either overwhelming them or having them miss out. Now, I can sit them down with a glass of wine and our family yearbook and get them to stick a post-it note on any they want copies of; rather like viewing your wedding photos after the event and choosing only the ones you love!
6. Order a copy or two..
Photobooks, particularly thick ones, can add up financially, but I’ve ordered an extra copy to begin to build a set for Harry that I can give him when he leaves home. For my generation of pre-digital childhood snaps, the only way of looking at pictures is by visiting your parents and going through their albums; I want Harry to be able to have a copy of each of our yearbooks and not have to wait to inherit them. It also gives us a back-up copy in the event that we lose or damage this one (and with the country currently shoulder-deep in floodwater, it’s a very relevant thought…)
Finally, in the category of I-wish-I’d-thought-of-this-earlier; I wish I’d archived photos as I’d gone along, choosing the best each month and putting them in a folder (I use iPhoto, for Mac). Sorting and sifting an entire year’s worth of photos was painfully slow, so my New Year’s resolution is to exert a little more discipline and order for 2014; I now have a folder for each month and am gradually dropping photos into it for January as the year unfolds.
Do you make photo yearbooks or do anything similar? I’d love to hear (and learn ideas from those who have been doing it longer).
And now with Monday looming I will allow myself one more wander through the pages before firmly setting it aside and focusing on the week ahead; I hope that you have a good one.
p.s. I used BobBooks software to make our yearbook, which I chose because I’m familiar with it – but shop around for good deals and the formats you like.