Creating Keepsakes - How to Turn a Year of Photographs into a Family Yearbook

If you are a photography enthusiast, it’s likely that you have a LOT of photographs! When I first picked up photography as a hobby, my camera was pretty much glued to my hand. I took it anywhere and everywhere, snapping so many moments all along the way.

When I became a mom in 2016, the value of my own personal photographs increased tenfold! My newborn baby girl was soon a babbling, spitting baby, then sitting up all on her own, and finally walking and talking. Everything about her was changing right in front of my eyes, and I became obsessed with documenting my own personal family story.

With an abundance of photos came a need to find a way to get them off of my computer and into my life. What good were these photos doing, what was even the point, if they’d just live in on a hard drive until the end of time!? Enter, the Family Yearbook.

How to make a family yearbook

Since my husband and I were married in 2014, I’ve created a “family yearbook” every single year. Each album holds photos from all the special moments and memories along the way - from simple weekends exploring our hometown, to our family vacations or adventures, each event is found in the pages of the albums.

After sharing a little behind the scenes peek into my family yearbooks on Instagram and getting so much interest in how I do that, today I’m sharing some of my best tips for putting together a yearbook of your own!

So how do you go about turning an entire year’s worth of photographs into an album?

It can sound like a big, daunting project, but with a process in place, I promise you, it’s not all that bad! Here’s a peek into my family yearbook/album creation process.

Have a Photo Organization System

This is the BIGGEST piece of the yearbook puzzle. Without a well-organized photo system, trying to navigate through an entire year’s worth of photos would be a disaster! I didn’t implement a photo organization system until about three years ago, which means my first two years of yearbook making was stressful and frustrating. Trying to find photos in random folders, and put them in chronological order left me feeling frazzled, and like this project was just simply impossible.

For the past three years, I’ve been able to create yearbooks so easily because my photos are very well organized. I organize my photos by year, then by month, then by day. This system has served me SO well as a mama who constantly has a camera in her hand, snapping away at my ever changing little girl! When I go to look in my archives for a photo of a specific day or event, it takes me about 2 seconds to find it because this system is so well organized. I strongly advise that you get an organization system in place! It’s one of those things that you don’t realize how valuable it is til you need it - and if you plan to make a family yearbook, you’re gonna need it!

If you’d like a cheatsheet for photo organization, you can download my tutorial and quick reference cheat sheet to keep handy below!

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    Create a Family Yearbook

    Spend Time With Your Camera

    You don’t needs thousands upon thousands of photos to create a family yearbook. For my personal 2018 album, some months had a lot of photos and many pages of the album are dedicated to that month - like June and July where we took a couple of family vacations that were well documented! Some months (aka my busy season as a professional photographer), only take up one “spread” or one left and right page of the album because I simply didn’t get the opportunity to document more of our personal life.

    Use what you are able to capture, or plan to pick up your camera just once a month to document whatever your family is up to! Even just a handful of images from a month of the year will help weave together a beautiful story in your yearbook!

    Choose Your Album Company

    I can’t say enough great things about Artifact Uprising. They make gorgeous albums, and also have a very intuitive, easy to use web based software that allows you to easily upload your photos and drag and drop them into your album after you select the layout you wish!

    Here are a few quick tips for creating albums with Artifact Uprising:

    1. When you upload your photos, upload a new folder for each month, and drag them into the project in chronological order. Keeping that organization system in place in their portal makes it very easy!

    2. Choose layouts with multiple images! This helps you take advantage of each page, rather than only placing one or two pictures on each page. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a nice amount of photos for your yearbook! I often reach the album page limits, so adding more images to each page helps me savor more of our memories.

    3. Try uploading once per month or once per quarter! For our 2017 album, I created a calendar reminder in my phone to upload to our yearbook each month. By the time January came around, the album was DONE and all I had to do was add it to my cart and place the order!

    Add “Fancy Camera” Images and iPhone Snaps

    Don’t get caught up in feeling like the only way to make a beautiful yearbook is with photos with your “fancy” camera. You don’t have to use a DSLR to create a gorgeous family yearbook. In fact, in our first year of marriage, photography was still very much a hobby for me, and the bulk of the photos in that album are from my iPhone. It’s still such a treasure!

    If iPhone photos are more up your alley, try jazzing them up a big with some mobile presets! My favorites are by Jessica Kettle, which I use to edit photos in Lightroom mobile.

    Take Better Photos with your DSLR

    Carve Out the Time

    If you have a great photo organization system in place, creating your family yearbook is already that much easier. All you need to do is carve out a little time to tackle the project. Perhaps you set a week on your calendar where you know you’ll spend 30-mins to an hour each day working on your yearbook. Most album creators will save your project in their software, so you can login and out and revisit the project. Perhaps you could do one month a day for 12 days! Or try the technique I mentioned above, and upload once a month or quarter.

    For our 2018 album, I used two weekend afternoons while my daughter napped - so about 4.5-5 hours total. I was able to complete the entire project in that time, and it was well worth the effort.

    Anything worth doing requires a little effort - break the project down into pieces and tackle a little bit at a time. You’ve got this! And I promise you, the results will be so very worth it.


    Want to see how I organize my own family photos?

    Snag your free copy of my photo organization guide below, and I’ll walk you through the game-changer system I use to organize all of my personal photos!


    Digital life feeling like a hot mess?

    Download my FREE guide, that walks you through the photo organization system that changed my digital life!

      We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

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