I love that feeling of wrapping things up as we come to the end of every year. That’s why I find December is the best time to start working on my Annual Family Album. The period between Christmas and New Years is often quieter, with time to reflect on the year that is finishing and plan for the year to come. I find this is the perfect time to work on personal projects! Here are the steps I follow to prepare for making my Annual Family Album:
- Download and organize your pictures. I gather all my photos into a folder in my Digital Photo Hub and rename them to the date they were taken. This allows them to sort chronologically within my folder.
- Select your favourites. Each month I review my photos and flag the ones I want to use in my book. During December I do a quick review of the photos I’ve flagged from each month to be sure I’ve identified pictures for each story I want to tell in my Family Album. I create a new folder called “2022 Family Album” then copy all the photos I’ve flagged into this folder. If you haven’t selected photos throughout the year, or you find more photos you want to include in your album, simply flag your favourites and copy them to your Family Album working folder.
- Do any editing. I do minimal photo editing, but this is when I improve the look of any photos I’ve selected for my album. If I have edited a photo, I change the name of the image to have -edited at the end. This way it’s easy for me to find the pictures I’ve edited if I want to copy an edited version back into my main collection.
- Design the pages. I create my pages in a program called Artisan. Once I have all my photos selected and edited, I begin designing the pages for my album. I assign a page for each story I’m telling, group the pictures on the page and write a first draft of the text. Often, I can have my entire book, up to December, drafted within a few hours.
In January I make sure I’ve collected and organized all the pictures from the year. I select my favourite photos from December and add them to my Family Album working folder. Then I book a few hours on my calendar to finish working on my Family Album. I include a lot of text in our family albums, so I like to make a draft copy then let it sit for a few days before I come back and edit. If you are not including much text in your album, you will be able to finish the entire book in a couple of hours.
I like working on my Family Album as I review the year and set personal goals for the new year. It reminds me of all the fun things we did together over the year and gives me ideas for the things I want us to accomplish in the coming year. As a bonus, it also helps me make sure I get my book finished (and in time for the print sales in January!)