How to Create an Annual Family Photo Book

Printed photo books have become more common than photo albums over the past several years. They can store more photos in one book than an album while taking up less space on your bookshelf. It’s easy to see why moms are going that route.

But, how do you get started on family photo books?

What should you include? How many books should you make per year? And how do you not waste your life away trying to put them together?! 

How to Create an Annual Family Photo Book

Most moms get those random “free photo book – just pay shipping!” emails from photo book companies, so they rush to their computer and whip up a photo book of random photos from over the past couple of months. Over the course of a year, they’ll continue this process, and by the end they’ll have a bookshelf full of random photo books with no real purpose, and even missing some of the most important photos.

Putting together an annual photo book sounds daunting, but I’ve got it down to a science that not only makes it less overwhelming, but actually really fun! 

Step 1:

Organize your photos in your computer by month and year. Within the “pictures” album on my computer, I keep a folder for each year. When you open up that year, you’ll find twelve folders labeled by the month. Sometimes there’s only two photos in the month folder (does anyone actually DO anything in March?!) and sometimes there’s hundreds. (Hello, Christmas!) This makes it simple to know when the photos were taken, and where they are located.

Step 2:

Upload pictures one month at a time. If you upload a whole year’s worth of pictures into a photo book company’s site, you are going to feel overwhelmed really quickly. My guess is that you won’t come back to your photo book. Start by uploading January’s photos. Since doing an annual photo book makes the most sense to do chronologically, starting one month at a time is the easiest way to go. You may find that it only takes you fifteen minutes to upload and organize January’s photos into your photo book, so then you can upload February’s photos!

Step 3:

Once you’ve uploaded and designed the whole year’s worth of photos, click “preview” so that you can see what your photo book will look like in print! This is always my favorite part. You can make sure that all of the layouts you’ve chosen look good, and that everything will fit within the pages without getting cut off. After previewing your book, click that “add to cart” button! Photo book companies tend to run discounts often, and they rotate them out. Wait a few weeks to see what kinds of deals they run, and what will save you the most money. While a “free shipping” coupon sounds good, it doesn’t sound as good as 50% off, or if you’re like me and you fill that baby to the brim, the “free extra pages” coupon is gold!

Some of my best family photo book tips include:

1. Buy a hardcover book.

Since you’re only buying one photo book for the whole year, this book will be looked at by lots of people for many years to come. A hardcover book will last much longer than a softcover, and it will take more damage. (I’m looking at you, toddler!)

2. Do a basic edit on photos.

This is not a requirement, but it can make your photo book look a little more professional if you sharpen, brighten, and crop your photos to be more pleasing to the eye.

3. Let the photos do the talking.

I try to only note major accomplishments at the beginning of the book, while letting the photos be the star throughout. Most people only look at the pictures anyways!

4. Don’t forget the detail shots! 

Posed family shots are beautiful, and I always include them in my books. However, it’s also fun to include detail shots, because the details really tell the story!

5. Work on the book monthly. 

I try to upload photos into my photo book at the end of every month, then at the beginning of January all I have to do is upload photos from Christmas, and my book is ready to be ordered!

6. Choose a professional photo for the front cover (if you have one). 

Professional photos are higher quality, so they can take up the whole front cover while still looking sharp and bright.

7. Pluck a color from your front cover for the spine and back cover. 

Lots of photo book companies give you the option to actually select a color out of your front cover photo for the spine and the back. This is a great way to make your book look high quality!

8. Upgrade to the lay flat pages! 

I can not express how much I love lay flat pages! They give you the ability to spread photos across both pages, and make sure you aren’t missing any details in the seam. 

How to Create an Annual Family Photo Book

There is nothing I love more than seeing my kids look through our photo books together. Kids often don’t have access to social media, so knowing they have memories sitting on the bookshelf they can look at any time they want is so refreshing! And hey, with the coupons you find, you’ll probably end up spending less money annually on one book, than you will on all of your “free book- just pay shipping!” photo books!

Have you tried making a photo book?

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