Digital photography allows us to take a lot of photos any time. We can get just the right shot even if it takes twenty tries. The downside, though, of digital photography is that we often have way too many photos to even deal with. It can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, this situation is a common one, and many people don’t even know where to start when they think about actually preserving their photos, memories, and stories. One of my favorite solutions to this problem is a Family Yearbook.
What’s a Family Yearbook?
Simply stated, a family yearbook is one year’s worth of photos preserved in one book. This method is one I recommend often, especially to people who just have a lot of photos and don’t know where to start. I love this method because:
- It makes logical sense. You know where to start and where to end: January 1-December 31. Everything from that year will go in one place.
- Because it’s chronological, it’s easy to break down a mountain full of 400 pictures into sections (organized by month). From there, it’s easier to decide what’s worth preserving and what’s extra.
- You only have to work with part of your pictures at a time. Instead of staring down 8 years’ worth of photos, you’re only dealing with ONE.
Family yearbooks can be created physically (with paper or albums) or digitally. The most important aspects of a family yearbook are high quality and journaling (write the memories that go with the photos). I prefer high quality digital family yearbooks because, among other reasons, it’s easy to get multiple copies.
A Great Solution for Catching Up on Photos
Having a lot of photos that you know need to be preserved can be overwhelming. It can really be a daunting task sometimes. Family Yearbooks really break things down into doable parts. Start with some of the basic tools you’ve seen here on #familyhistoryfriday posts to organize your photos, and then start creating your own family yearbooks, one year at a time.
One of the best tips I’ve ever heard for catching up on your photos is to have a 2-in-1 plan. If you spend this year preserving the photos from 2012, then you still haven’t preserved the photos from this year. So if you can take out two years in one, you’re getting ahead and you’ll catch up! Preserving one years’ worth of photos in six months is the perfect 2-in-1 plan, like this:
- FIRST MONTH: Preserve photos and memories from January and February from your chosen year.
- SECOND MONTH: Preserve photos and memories from March and April from your chosen year.
- THIRD MONTH: Preserve photos and memories from May and June from your chosen year.
- FOURTH MONTH: Preserve photos and memories from July and August from your chosen year.
- FIFTH MONTH: Preserve photos and memories from September and October from your chosen year.
- SIXTH MONTH: Preserve photos and memories from November and December from your chosen year. REPEAT AS NEEDED.
My Favorite Family Yearbooks
My Favorite Family Yearbooks are from Heritage Makers because there are so many templates available. They are available in 12×12, 11.5×8.5, and 8×8. You can see some page-by-page examples at this link and at this one. Each Family Yearbook template has a two-page spread for each month. So, there are two pages for January, two pages for February, and so on. I think this makes organizing photos –and, therefore, publishing them– so easy! If you are creating a 2015 Family Yearbook, for example, and you come across a photo from Halloween, you already know what page it goes on! No thinking required.
Other reasons Heritage Makers Family Yearbooks are my hands-down #1 recommendation for people with lots of photos to catch up on are:
- The templates are completely editable. If you need to use 3 pictures but there’s only space for 2, you can change things around. If you don’t like quite so many flowers on your pages, take them off. You really get exactly what you want. That is personally very important to me.
- Heirloom Assurance means that the digital version of your project is saved in your (active) account indefinitely and that if something happens to your book (dog chews it, house burns down), you can replace it for half price. I love that it’s basically insurance not just for my digital photos but for my actual books!
- Quality is a big deal to me. If I’m going to spend time on something, not to mention spending money on it, I don’t want it to fall apart next year. Especially when we’re talking about precious photos and memories! I always recommend Heritage Makers because the books have a library binding and are bound with a metal stitching (not glue). The word “heritage” is in the name of the company for a reason.
Creating Family Yearbooks is the best way I know of to preserve your photos when you have a lot of photos to preserve! It can be a really neat and meaningful family time if you create your family yearbooks together, or it can be a fun surprise gift from you on your child’s birthday. Family Yearbooks provide all the benefits of memory-keeping that we need so much, and the connections they create help children and parents alike.