photo album

Printing Family Photo Books

Printing family photo books

For the last few years, every holiday season, I’ve made it a point to create a family photo album. It’s a highlight reel of the most recent year, with our vacations, our birthdays, our seasons and walks and daily routines all documented.

My family photos albums were so important to me growing up. For many years, a lot of my childhood photo albums were somewhere I couldn’t get to them. It was only in the last seven or eight years that I got ownership back, and I made it a point to scan all those childhood pictures for safe-keeping (digital is relatively fire proof, as long as you have a good stable backup).

Going through those old photo albums was satisfying. I feel like I got my childhood back. And today, while we still print individual photo prints of the family, the idea of a photo book—a collective annual history—is a tradition I want to carry on. I look forward to making our photo book each year.

Another tradition: making a photo calendar and giving it away to family members. That’s become an annual tradition too, and it’s fun to see a year full of family photos and memories up on relatives’ walls. It makes for a great Christmas gift.

This year, I want to try something new: give away photo books to family members. With my daughter turning one this week, I think a photo book of her first year might make some family members pretty happy.

These are the types of things that keep memories alive.

This year, with the photo book idea, I can keep our collective family history going – and make sure that if one collection of pictures gets lost, there’s another copy floating around somewhere.

A Year of Printing Photos

A year ago, I made it a goal to print more of the photos I make. Prints, books, calendars — whatever. As long as they were physical things living in the real world, like photos used to be.

So far, it’s gone well. I made a photo book looking back at 2013 last January, and just received my book for 2014. I also signed up for Snapfish’s mobile app that lets you order 100 prints for free each month. All you do is pay $5 or so for shipping.

I use my local photo printer, too, to print film shots, and produce the high-quality 8x10s I can frame and give to family members.

What can I say? I’m old school.

And I miss the feeling of flipping through photo albums. I printed photos religiously from high school through college, and have albums full of memories from that period of my life. It’s a personal history. I cherish those albums.

But in the digital age, prints have been few and far between. So I meant to fix that, and after a year of printing photos, I’m happy with my decision.

Now that I’m doing more film shooting, getting prints is a natural step, too. For every roll of film I drop off, I get the prints and the images scanned on CD.

I don’t have a good organizational system just yet, but I’m okay with that. A simple photo box full of prints is good enough for me.

As a side benefit, I can print photos of friends and give them out the next time I see them. It’s a little gift from me to them, and it didn’t cost me a thing except a shutter click. I also order photo calendars for my family each Christmas, full of photos from the past year. They look forward to the calendars each holiday season.

There aren’t many excuses these days for not printing your photos. Flickr is printing, VSCO will soon be printing, Apple and Snapfish let you get creative with your photo printing projects. Most of this you can do right from your phone.

As for the cost? As Chris Plante says in his Verge article:

Is this worth the money? For me, yes. Absolutely. God, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me having these photos of the people and places I love.

So $5-7 a month for memories that won’t get lost when a hard drive crashes? That’s an easy budget line.

Especially for someone as digitally old fashioned as me.