5 Tips to a Great Year in Review Book

by Lara H Posted on October 06, 2010

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I can’t believe fall is here and with it comes initial thoughts of the holiday season. This reminder is not meant to cause stress but to inspire you to begin to think about making your Year in Review book. It’s too early to finish as there’s still a lot of photography to come this year – the end of the fall sports season, Halloween parties and parades, family Thanksgiving gatherings, maybe even a get-away on your calendar – but of the photos you’ve taken already, you can begin to sort and sift to find the images you plan on making into your book.

Here are 5 tips that can get you started today and make the process easier along the way.

1. Get inspired by a couple of examples: I always start in Gallery when looking for ideas and inspiration. There are some wonderful photo book makers and fantastic photographers that plant seeds of ideas in my head. Check out a couple of the Year in Review posts that are there.

Happiness Is by SusanC101 was a themed album (which you can guess by the title) with carefully selected images – 1 per month – to illustrate the theme. Do you have a theme for your year or can you use this one?

These Kids and Their Facebook by KatharineM96 used images and status updates from her Facebook feed to recap her year. Do you use Facebook, a blog, email with friends to share your memories that you can reference as you begin this process?

Mack’s Second Year in Review by JessiW has wonderful headlines and memories as captions that make me want to annotate my images thoughtfully. Do you have headlines in mind to recap your year?

2. Take some time to review your images: Now that you’ve seen what others have done, start to review the images you have available.  With Simple Path, the images available to you go beyond your Shutterfly albums and can also include images from you or your friends on Facebook, your Picasa albums, and share sites you are  a member of.

3. Put the best together in an album: Start to sort your favorite images into a new album. This process may happen several times in the process, so don’t agonize too much with this initial review. Just take a quick pass and begin to filter your favorites together.

4. Think about your theme: Think about the organization of your story. How will you organize your images – by theme, by time, by family member?

5. Start writing up notes: If you have a Facebook feed or blog, then you’ve got a great beginning for some of the headlines and captions you might want to include. If you don’t have those things, just start writing some down. I open up a word document and jot down some initial thoughts as I review images. More will come to me, but this process begins to get my juices flowing and I can quickly cut and paste into text boxes when the time comes to make my book.

Have you made a Year in Review book in the past? What process did you follow in making your book? What advice can you share (or lessons learned) with others? I can’t wait to here!


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  1. Joey Says:

    I love that Facebook YIR book – its very clever and unique. I have done a couple of Year In Review books. The book that seems to be the biggest is my Summer book as i take the most pictures then. Last year i used one of the Creating Keepsake template books and I did some journaling and picked certain pictures throughout the year. Trying not to add every photo. I really like Shutterfly’s new layouts. I also started a Picture of the Week on my Share Site and may make a book out of those photos once the year is up- some of the weeks have more than one photo!
    When i do start my YIR book, i go to my picasa pictures and pull ones from there that I’d like to use in my book.
    These books are fun, they give you a chance to look back at the year that was.
    Great tips and article.

  2. BarbaraJ Says:

    You have a great article and it give me so many ideas for a year in review. I have not done one. This fall will be a first, with the help of ideas from our gallery. Thank you for sharing these ideas. Barbj

  3. mberthia@comcast.net Says:

    I like to apply YIR to making personalized calendars which make great Christmas gifts.

  4. AnnAbbott Says:

    I start to up together a highlight pre-book and pull of my favorite photos from the year, so when the last two months come down I am ready to put the book together. I always end my book our traditional Christmas tree shot. I put the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving and plop the kids down and take a shot. I use it for my Chirstmas card for the year and the last page in my annual book.

  5. AnnAbbott Says:

    ….then if these books are gifts you have time to order and wrap them before the big day.

  6. Tiffany M Says:

    Great tips and I love your choice of examples. All of them are awesome! Very helpful post.

  7. angies5 Says:

    YIR is how we/I started out making shuttefly books, as an alternative to paper / digital scrapping. I was running out of time, as a mother of two toddlers, working two jobs, etc. Shutterfly was the perfect solution for me to make a YIR. I have done this several ways – themed pages to highlight months, events, and milestones; photos from each month tagged with quotes; and books that follow a theme as only include our ‘best photographs.’ I have loved all of our books! I often start thinking about the year end book far in advance and then begin to work it out on paper on within my Shutterfly albums. I have found that this makes the final creation process much faster and rewarding. I have not yet committed to a theme or layout this year, but am running with several ideas. The trouble I always run into, is that we also create albums for Grandparent’s Day. It is hard not to overlap and duplicate. Although, can one really have too many photos of their grandchildren? Or too many photobooks for that matter?

    Great article! Thanks!

more about Lara H

By way of introduction, I’m LaraH. I’m a long-time customer of Shutterfly (beginning in January 2000 with the birth of my first daughter) and now an employee (since mid-2004). I’ve been making photo books since we launched the product in June 2005, but in that time it has evolved from a work responsibility, to a hobby, and dare I say passion. Most of the books I make revolve around my children and our family journeys, so I thought it was a fitting way for you to get to know me better to see “ My First Photo Book.” http://community.shutterfly.com/gallery/post/start.sfly?postId=/gallery/1/post/GMGDBgyYNGLdg5ZgLl7Adq. It’s the story of my daughters’ first few years, told mostly through pictures.

View all articles by Lara H »

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