Before Christmas, I wrote a post on 10 Creative Photobook Ideas, and I shared a picture of the family yearbook that I created for every year. I had a lot of comments and emails, asking how I created them. A lot of people were wondering how to start mostly, and others wondered about the process I used to create mine, since I always say how easily achievable the results are. So, I decided to write this mini blog series that will walk you through the entire process, start to finish, and break down every step so that your photos stop existing on your hard drive and CD backups – so your photos get into your homes and into your hands.
The first session in this series is the most important and will involve the most work – provided your photos aren’t organized that is. Gathering ALL of your photos in one spot is the one thing that will make all of the other steps a piece of pie. And transferring photos from one media to another, may take some time, so that’s why I say it is the most time intensive. It’s not difficult, it just takes some time.
To get started, gather all of your photos. If they are on CDs, portable hard drives, laptops, your phone or iPad, or anywhere else, gather them all in one spot. I chose to transfer all of my photos to my desktop computer.
Once all of your photos are in one spot, it’s time to get organizing. If you want to create a yearbook style photobook, you will need to seperate your photos by year. I create a folder for each year – 2015, 2014, 2013, and so on. I start it at 2005, since that’s when my first daughter was born, when I got my first camera, and when most of my photos start. I don’t really have many photos before then, so any random photo from prior to 2005 is placed in a Misc. folder, because I won’t be using them in a photobook.
Within each yearly folder, I create 12 sub folders – obviously for the months. I don’t just name these by the month though, I name them 01 January, 02 February, 03 March, and so on. The folders are usually organized alphabetically, but I wanted them in chronological order. By placing the numbers in front on the month, it ensures they stay in order, which makes it easier when I am organizing photos.
Once all of my folders and sub-folders are set up, it’s time to start dragging and dropping photos into their proper home. This may seem like a big task, but thanks to the wonder of technology, there are a few tricks you can do that will make it easier.
First, right click on the folder that is currently containing all of your photos and choose Sort By –> Date. You can choose Ascending or Descending, because either will work. It will place your photos in an order that will make it easier to move chunks.
Second, to find the date of a photo, try this: hover your mouse over the image, and a little description will pop up containing some file information. In this little pop up, there will be a date. That is the date the photo was taken (provided your camera, phone, etc. is set to the correct date when the photo was taken).
Third, occasionally the file will not have a date in the info box that pops up. This often happens with videos. You can still usually find out the date the file was created though, by right clicking on the photo or video and choosing properties. A box will pop up with more detailed information, and at the bottom of this will be three dates. The middle date (modified) is usually the date the photo was made – the created date is when the file on your computer was made, not the actual photo. One exception that I have noticed to this however is when files are downloaded from iCloud. The date will represent the date the file was downloaded onto your computer, and not the date it was taken. I haven’t transferred files with DropBox, so I’m not certain if this is the case with DropBox as well, but just a heads up if you are transferring files with iCloud.
The next step is simply transferring them to where they belong. This is the time consuming part, especially if you have large photos and videos. (I talk about videos too because as you will see later in this series, I incorporate video into my yearbooks as well – but I’ll tell you all about that later. For now focus on getting everything sorted.)
Once you have your photos organized, it’s important to back them up. I choose to back up two ways, since I can’t keep over ten years worth of photos on my desktop, or it would be super slow. (Remember: if you only have your photos in one location, it isn’t a back up. I made that mistake once by putting all of my photos onto a portable hard drive and then deleting them from my desktop. However, when my drive failed, I realized I didn’t really have a back up. So now I follow a two part process.) I backup my photos to a portable hard drive (in the organized format) and burn them to a archival quality DVD, which I glue into the back of the photo book once it is printed.
This system is easy to maintain going forward. I usually repeat this process every two to three months with the photos I have taken for those three months, and that way it doesn’t build up. Transfer, organize, back up (x2), and delete from my computer. If you take way more photos than I do, you may want to pick a day every month to do it. Pick the first or the last, or something like that to make it simple to remember.
And that’s the biggest and most important step to creating beautiful family yearbooks! Next week, I’ll be back again with the next step in the tutorial: creating the visual layout for your book. If you want to get ahead for next week, download the Project Life app on your iPad or iPhone (the android version is coming in February, so if you don’t have an iOS device, be on the lookout for that!)
I can’t wait to help you get your photos off your tech and into your hands! See you next week!
Update: The rest of the series is live! Check out the posts below:
Part 2: Planning Your Book Design and Layout
Part 3: Using the Project Life App to Catch Up on Photos
Part 4: Creating the Pages of Your Book
Part 5: Customizing Your Photobook Covers
Part 6: Adding Video to Your Photobook