Growing up, my mom was totally on the ball with scrapbooking and memory keeping. Documenting with photos every year starting the day I was born, she created dozens of colorful scrapbooks to remember it all. Each album was bursting at the bindings, full of decorative stickers, patterned papers, and tons of photos. I have always adored looking through each one, reminiscing on fun times and learning about the ones I don’t quite remember. You can say, my sisters and I have a very well-documented childhood thanks to my mother.
My Mom passed away in 2019 to pancreatic cancer. I was 18 years old and clung to those albums more than ever before. Even though only a few photos included her face (like many moms…always behind the camera), I could feel her in each page. It was her handwriting, her girly and pastel style, and most of all, the love she put in them. They are works of art that show how much effort and time she put into each page all for me, because she loved me.
Now, as years have passed and my personal documenter is gone, I am now tasked with doing my own memory keeping… and my husbands. 😉
I have to pick up where my mom had left off.
Of course, I had many apprehensions, like many of you, on how to even get started. I have over 7,000 photos on my phone over a span of 8 years that have nowhere to go and absolutely no organization to them. However, I did it and now I want to share with you how I was able to make an entire photo album in 48 hours.
The first thing I had to realize was that no matter how hard I tried, I would never be able to replicate what my mom had done without going over my budget of time and money. Having realistic expectations set me up to win. So, here is what my mindset became:
“I want to have my significant life pictures printed and organized into a photo album”.
Because I set my expectations, I successfully accomplished my goal! Of course, I can go back and revisit this album to make it cuter and add more personality, but the most important part is done, my photos are printed and organized.
Write it on your schedule, or set an alarm to remember to start your album. I sat down for a couple of hours one Sunday evening and dragged all the photos I needed into a folder on my computer. Depending on where your photos are, there are different ways of doing this. We have phone organization tips here.
The most important thing: be picky in your selection.
The worst thing that you could do is spend all of your time collecting all of your photos just to realize that you collected your entire camera roll. To avoid this, I chose 1-2 images of each significant event. I only included two images from my sweet 16, one image from each high school year as a cheerleader, and one image from vacations. Selfies that have no context or importance did not make the cut into my album. I wanted to print photos that have meaning, memories, and significance. You can make exceptions here and there but keep it simple.
Is my album perfect? No. Is it real, yes! They are my photos, all in one place and that is what is important.
Choosing a size to print is seriously overwhelming. Trying to plan out which image goes where and at what size is super intimidating. So, I cut that out of my project. The goal was to get my significant photos printed.
I made my life so easy by purchasing a 12×12 album and two packs of 4×6 pocket pages. I made sure that one pocket page held horizontal photos and the other, vertical. This ensured my photos would fit and that I wouldn’t have to worry about where they would go. Then, I printed all of the photos I selected as 4×6″ matte photographic prints.
(Square 4×4″ photos in the Persnickety Box app make it even easier to print photos. Orientation isn’t an issue and the Persnickety Box photo journal holds 60 prints.)
I also included 4×6 card stock cards on some of the pages so that I could write a few memories or details about the pictures. You can find a bunch of free, cute, downloads for journaling cards here!
When assembling my photos and some of my husbands, there are mistakes. I am sure there are a few photos that are out of time sequence, but no one will ever know! Again, all that matters is that your photos are printed! Worry about the rest later.
I have no stress about my album. Why? Because I can keep working on it! Nothing is hugely permanent. I can go back and add more to my album. Each time I open it to remember those memories. I can switch things around or add another note. It will grow with me! This is another reason why photo pocket albums are better than bound (permanent) photo books.
So, just start! If I could do this in 48 hours, you can too! But remember, the most important part is getting your photos printed. Having your memories physically represented in photographs that will last forever is more important than the rest of it. Make it easy for yourself. If your photos are printed, you’re doing better than most!
Start making your photo album now and print your story!
Don’t set yourself up to fail, start with your photos from today, and just start! You’ll find your groove and the joy each moment.
We’re taking more pictures than ever, yet, we can’t find them when we need them, we aren’t backing them up, we’re storing them on social platforms and life is moving fast.