I’m a big fan of systems. This might be amusing to the system extremists I know who view my life like it’s a never-ending hailstorm of benign chaos (Lane, Liam – I’m looking at you) but do find that everything in life gets ten times easier when there’s a set process for getting it done.
It’s far easier to keep your home clean when there’s room in your closet for all of your clean clothes, a hamper for your dirty clothes, places for coats to be hung up and toys to be put away.
It’s not just tidying, but general organization, too. Every year after I file my taxes I make a new file in my filing cabinet for the current year. As I get receipts, notices of assessments and other relevant tax documents, they go into the file. Come tax time, I don’t have to go hunting around for all of my paperwork, it’s all there ready to go.
I have a similar system for our family yearbooks, and when I mentioned it on Instagram a few days ago it was suggested that I do a quick blog post about it. This is that post!
It’s important to me to collect memories through family photos – I love being able to look back and review the incredible things we did each year, the adventures we took, the milestones we reached and occasions we celebrated. Buuuut the process can be a bit onerous.
A few years ago I hit on a method that helps me actually make photobooks rather than just thinking about it every time I see digital photos.
Here’s how I make the creation of photo books a simple task, rather than one you put off forever and never actually get done.
Step by step – here we go!
- Make a file. Ooooh! Exciting! I use the free photo software Picasa to organize my photos, and each January I create a file called “To Print 20XX”.
- Add photos. Throughout the year, whenever I upload any photos to my computer I select a handful of my favourite photos and add them to the “To Print” file.
- Create the book. I find that actually creating the book is the hardest part, and for someone like me who agonizes over the tiniest decisions, it could easily take weeks to create the perfect layout. So instead, I automated it.
To keep the creation process simple, I created a layout I liked (two portrait photos on top with a larger landscape photo underneath, reversed on the opposite page). I apply this layout to every page, upload the entire contents of my “To Print” photo file and then have Blurb auto-populate the book by date.
It takes about five seconds and the only thing I do after that is to go through the book and swap a few photos where it would improve the layout. Making the process easy like this takes all of the decision-making effort out of the process and once I finish the cover and text, it’s done in about fifteen minutes.
- Order. Blurb has sales every few weeks, so once I’ve created the book I wait for a sale. There’s usually an offer for 35-50% off, and when that sale starts running I place my order.
- Done! Your book is filled, ordered, and sitting on your coffee table filled with the best memories from the past year. Now you begin a new file for next year!