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How To Create Photos Yearbooks Your Family Will Adore

I love taking photos. The stuffed files on my computer will tell you the same thing.  Problem is, with so many photos, I can’t possibly frame, print, scrapbook, or have made into coffee mugs all these photos. 
How to create photo yearbooks that your family will adore!
It used to be that every few months I would print a few months worth of my favorite photos and then slip them into photo albums to look at later.  And we do look at our photo albums over and over again.  But several years ago, I tried making a family yearbook and my first one or two were…yes, pretty cheesy, but I have learned a few things along the way. Now, our family yearbooks are some of our very favorite things. My family adores these and it makes me so happy to give these gifts.

How To Create a Family Yearbook 

I use Shutterfly.com to create our books. Blurb.com is another good company that I’ve used. 
For me, I’ve always got a coupon code for 50% off or some offer of some form or another from Shutterfly, so I usually go with them. 
There’s several sizes to choose from and my favorite is the 8×11 inch.  It is large but not too large and I always choose the hardcover option, but you can choose soft as well.

Choose your “Style”

You can choose from many, many themes and styles. 
I always choose a style that’s just black and white.  I don’t really want my books to look “scrapbooked” so that’s why I go that route, but there are a bunch of really creative templates, colors, and embellishments you can choose too if you like that. 
I just choose a simple style because I’m a simple girl.  Then you can choose “custom path” or “simple path.” Custom will give you blank pages and you fill them in how you want to.  You choose the layout and then put your pictures in.  The simple path is, yes, much simpler.  There’s already a chosen layout on each page and you just put your pictures where you want.  You can even choose to have the pictures automatically slide into the layout.  I’m way too picky for that, but it would be super fast to choose the simple route.
How to make a family yearbook with your family photos
These books do take me a long time to put together. Currently, I am behind, but I’m determined to catch up this year and have made it part of my goal list for this year. 
This is a very therapeutic and creative project for me. I don’t mind that it’s time consuming because I enjoy it. Usually I get all gushy and emotional remembering over the year. *Sigh*
How to create photo yearbooks that your family will adore!

Organizing Photos to Make Family Photobooks Easier

When I upload photos, I organize them by date, month, and then by year.  So right now, I have a big fat folder of all my photos from 2013, 2014, 2015 and so on.  When I click on that, I have 12 nice, neat folders, one for each month. 
I also label them like “2-2013” for each month, so they stay in numerical order by month, taking out any searching around for anything.  Then when I click on the month, I have several folders from that month.  I didn’t always do that, but it didn’t take very long to sit down one day and organize my photos.  I back everything up on an external hard drive every so often, in case of a crash.
When I create my books, I organize those pictures into months and usually in chronological order within the month as well.  Once in a while, its weird because I have a picture of a school project next to a sweet baby moment, but that doesn’t really bother me because I remember that the sweet baby moment happened the afternoon we did a fun project about blood in school. 
At the beginning of each month, I usually have  a still life photo with the title of the month.  Sometimes I will add a quote that was special that month.  Like for this one.  This April was super bittersweet for me.  So much going on.  I added a quote that really stood out to me on a really difficult day in April and I added it to the month’s title page. 
I know I’ll associate that photo/quote/month with what was going on in our lives years down the road. 
 photo 031_zps429eccfb.jpg
How to make a family yearbook with your family photos

What to add in addition to photos

Next, I just put in the photos from that month.  I don’t add a whole lot of narration, but I do a little.  Here’s some things I add:
  • Short notes to the kids on their birthday page
  • Favorite quotes
  • The KIDS’ quotes: funny things they’ve said through the year
  • Poems we’ve memorized
  • Itineraries from trips
You might not be able to see it, but I added Sophia’s quote about shedding her training wheels last spring.  Now its not just a photo, but a preserved moment and it makes me immediately remember that day.
How to make a family yearbook with your family photos
How to make a family yearbook with your family photos
How to make a family yearbook with your family photos

Special photo books

I’ve also created some special photo books that are just for certain experiences, like a trip. 
Noah once took a ton of photos on some Boy Scout trips. I took those photos and created a book for him as a surprise.
Then for Sophia, I wanted to save some of her art into a book.  I did this one in a big size of 12×12 inches.  I used a layout called “Little Masterpieces” in Shutterfly.  It was perfect for this project.  I added lots of fancy art terms and such, like “original art done in oil pastels and watercolor” and an artist’s bio at the end.
How to make a family yearbook with your family photos
How to make a family yearbook with your family photos
How to make a family yearbook with your family photos
How to make a family yearbook with your family photos and kids art.
I also added some of her quotes and favorite colors, etc. as well as some famous quotes about art.
How to make a family yearbook with your family photos and kids art.
How to make a family yearbook with your family photos and kids art.

So that’s it! I love our photobooks and the best part is, if anything ever happened to them, I can reorder, as they’re always saved in my projects in my account. 

Hope you enjoyed!


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  1. I do photo books too! I am also a few years behind, but that is because I took way too many picture back then and I have a hard time choosing which pictures to use ?

  2. We do the same! Actually, we just got our photobook yesterday! Always excited and the kids look at them ALL the time! We love using Blurb to publish ours.

  3. LOVE the photo books, you have really got me thinking about the "how" of "organizing" them. My biggest problem is the time it takes to upload the photos from our computer to Shutterfly. It takes SO long and sometimes just stops the process because it is taking so long. Do you have any tips? Could it be our WiFi or is it Shutterfly's site? Are there other things like condensing the files, etc. that I could/should do? Thanks!

  4. My favorite part of your blog has always been your creative and beautiful photography! I love these! Since I've started my blog, I've printed each year's posts into a hardcover book. My kids love to read and look at them and it only takes seconds to do online!

  5. Oh my gosh, I love these! I have made several for family members from shutterfly and I always love them but you motivated me to make so e for us for each year…I haven't scrap booked in ten years so my son doesn't even have much of a baby book…how sad. And now I am not into scrapbook ing and instead love these books so much more. Thank you for the inspiration, motivation and the how to on the organizing….that part always gets me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. LOVE it! I would love to start doing this. I was looking at some photos from back-in-the-day just this week and couldn't believe how much the kids had changed. I think I will start making this part of my evening ritual. Thanks for the great ideas! xo

  7. This is such a great idea a Yearbook! You are awesome Vera Mae is growing so fast I will have to remember this for our grandchild ha sounds funny!

  8. I had to come and read this again on something larger than my Iphone. I truly enjoyed this read. I have spent the past 8 weeks – evenings usually with a cup of tea like you – getting the annual books done.

    I have been so far behind because I was trying to be a creative control freak. So I was doing the layouts in Photoshop. And it took forever. And I became overwhelmed by all the details. And it took another IG'er (MelodyJoy1983) to gush about using MyPublisher. And boom, in 6 weeks, I knocked out 2 books.

    And now, today I'm back at it working on another year, getting sentimental once again. I love getting glimpses of books and knowing how mamas like you make them extra special.

    Thank you for sharing! You've filled my tanks!

  9. Big giant wow for your photo books! I wish photo books had existed way back when my kiddos were small, but I made one for my daughter when she turned 21 with photos all through her life so far and I'll be doing the same for my son. I must make more because they look so good. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas

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