As the end of 2009 approaches, it’s the perfect time to reflect on all the adventures of the past year. Did you move? Did you have a baby, send a child off to school for the first time, or have a child leave home? Even if nothing this momentous happened, you’re still another year wiser, and have another year’s worth of memories to treasure. Just how you do that is up to you, with a year-in-review album.
(Image by JessiW)
The purpose of a review album is to use a few specific moments to capture the feel of an entire period of time – most often a month (although you can do 52 weekly pages as well, you go-getter!). This takes the pressure off for perfection, since you’re going more for a sweeping overview than individually perfect photographic shots, and it also logically limits the size of your book – twelve 2-page spreads, plus a title page, and you’re done!
(Image by Joey-T)
And the final benefit of starting a year-in-review photobook tradition, comes with a little visualization exercise. Imagine with me right now, the spot on your bookshelf where the 2009 book will go. Now what about next year, tucked right in beside? Now what about ten years from now, when your shelf is filling with beautiful memories year by year? See why a year-in-review is worth tackling?
(Image by AnnAbbott)
Now that you’ve decided to take the plunge, I’ve got some tips to streamline your process as you select photos and write captions to create your Year In Review photobook! Here are four tips to help you create the best photo book:
Tip 1: Organize your photos by month to make finding easier
I store my digital photos in folders by the month they were taken, so it’s easy for me to dive in to my January folder and choose out 12-15 photos that tell the main stories for the month. Okay, the narrowing down part, maybe not so much. But the folder part, yes! I highly recommend creating a new folder in your file system for each month.
Tip 2: Choose a simple, multi-photo design
For this overview-style photo book, I like a design that crosses two pages and allows for 12-18 different photos. A multi-photo design fulfils two purposes, as well: it lets you tell more stories, and it allows your photos to “read” visually as a group. Since no one photo stands out, none of their possible imperfections stands out either. Always a good thing to reduce stress over photo editing!
Tip 3: Tell a good story even if you don’t have a photo for it
Did you go ice skating in January, but didn’t bring your camera? Be sure to save a space to tell that story in your year-in-review book, even if it’s a one-line highlight of that event. Reading your book in the future, that one line will spark a string of great memories!
Tip 4: Don’t forget the small stuff
Life has its huge moments, sure. But it’s mostly filled with the small stuff – daily happenings and events, routines, conversations, growth and change, learning and accomplishment on a smaller scale. Don’t forget that these are precious things worth remembering in a book just like this one. Maybe you want to include a list of the books you read that month, or the new recipes you tried, new routes you took in your morning run, new milestones your child passed – all the small pieces of joy that fill your life – make sure they have a place alongside the big things.
Creating Your PhotoBook
There are several ways to actually create your project:
- Year In Review, designed by Lisa Bearnson. Shutterfly has a gorgeous Year In Review photo book just waiting for your photos and text! The beautiful blue color scheme lets you highlight special moments from your year to record in a keepsake that you’ll treasure! All you need are your photos and text!
- Simple Path. This new option from Shutterfly allows you to upload a set of photos and have them instantly transformed into a book. Less control, but way faster! If you want more control over over the design layouts and fonts, Shutterfly also offers the Custom Path photo book option.
- Digital template in Photoshop. The most complex, but also the most versatile option, is to download a set of templates (or create from scratch) and create the pages of your book in Photoshop. You’ll then upload these as .jpg files and place them into the pages of a blank book. You get ultimate control over the placement of everything.
As a digital scrapbooker, I will admit that I’m pretty partial to number three. And to show you how easy this method can be with a template, I’ve created a set you can download for free! Follow the simple instructions here, or click to watch a video tutorial I’ve prepared to show you how fun and easy digital templates can be!
Download the Digital Scrapbook Templates
To get you started with your own year-in-review photo book, I’ve designed a two-page spread you can open in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and use as a template for telling your own stories month-by-month. No need to stress about design! Just about narrowing down those photos!
Click here to download.
Here’s an example of how your two-page spreads might look:
Steps: To use this Photo Book template:
- Download the .zip file.
- Unzip. The .zip file contains one left-hand page for each month, and a generic right-hand page you can change the photos and text for.
- Open the .psd file in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.
- Open the first photo you’d like to use.
- In your template, click on the first square placeholder. Then switch over to your photo.
- With your Move tool selected, drag your photo in to the template and position it just above the square placeholder.
- In the Layers palette, hover your mouse on the line between your photo and the placeholder layer underneath it, and hold down your Alt key (Option on the Mac). When your cursor changes to a little double-circle icon, left-click to “clip” your photo to the placeholder layer.
- For a video tutorial of this process, please click here. This video walks you through using a template including digital patterned papers, which you can choose to use with this template or not.
Saving and Uploading Your Book
After you’ve completed a template, save the file as a .jpg (File > Save As, then change the format to .jpg), and upload your .jpg files to Shutterfly. Place each spread side-by-side in a blank 8-inch photo book, and you’re on your way to making a beautiful year-in-review album!
And for next year, try selecting photos and filling in stories as each month ends – recording a month at a time to finish a year in review album as you go along! You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to remember those small, everyday memories. Happy Holidays, and joy to you as you look back on 2009, and forward to a bright year ahead!