Everyone deserves to have a photo album all about them, even if it’s you. Your life is interesting and important and your keepsake album, with journaling and pictures, will tell your story long after you’re not able to do it yourself.
Do you have hundreds of photos and no clue where to start? Are you overwhelmed with the daunting task of finding and organizing mountains of photos hidden in your home? The pictures were important enough to take, and for many people have been a big investment…the camera, the film, the developing, the computer, the disks, the software. But what next? Most people want to share these photos and memories with family and friends but just don’t have a step-by-step plan to get it done. Getting started isn’t as hard as it sounds and anyone can do it.
Your first step should be deciding what it is that you want to accomplish. Do you want to have all your printed photos in albums to enjoy, or is it your goal to complete one special album? Regardless of your choice, it’s always helpful to know the facts about how to care for printed photos. Your photos want to live where you live to have the longest life possible. Heat, humidity and light are harmful to photos and can sometimes cause irreparable damage. In spite of this, many people store their photos in hot attics and humid basements.
If it’s your goal to have all of your printed photos in albums, then your next step should be to locate every picture and set up a table to pile them all up, and then start organizing them. Put them in chronological order, which can often be a challenge. Most people don’t take the time to label their photos with important information. This should be done as soon as possible after they are printed because details, dates and even people from photos are easily forgotten.
The organizational step can easily take a few hours to complete, especially if it’s been years since you’ve thought about your photos. Don’t despair. It didn’t take one day for them to get in this mess and it will take some time and commitment to sort them all out.
Try to set up a spot where you can work on them for a certain amount of time every day without having to pick everything up (like a folding table in the corner of the living room or in a spare room). Decide on an amount of time you will work on this project every day and stick to it. You can also grab a small pile of pictures every day and work until you’ve sorted, labeled and organized the photos you selected. Whether you decide on a certain amount of time or a specific amount of photos, just make sure you work on it every day until the job is completed.
Now that you have all your photos organized, the rest is a breeze. If you want every single photo that you own in an album, then you should start current and stay current. Working with the most current photos is the easiest and also the most fun. Chances are, if you didn’t take the time to label your photos you will remember almost all of the details from the current ones. Select only the very best photos to include in the album. Dark, blurry and out-of-focus pictures should be tossed out, they will not add anything to your completed albums. If you have to concentrate and squint your eyes to see what is in the photo then it isn’t worth saving.
Also, be selective when you are including photos from the same day or event. (e.g. birthday party, soccer game, Christmas) Most people take several photos of the same thing to ensure they have at least one or two really good pictures. You don’t have to use them all in the albums. Pick out the very best ones and then save the rest for your kid’s school projects, craft projects, etc. There are often times when your kids will be looking for pictures for different things and you’ll be glad that you have some extras.
If you decide to complete one special album, that will be much easier because there are only a certain number of photos for a special album theme. Wedding, vacation, Christmas, sports, hunting or fishing are some ideas for special albums. They are fun to do and they also make great gifts.
Make sure you trim all of your photos to get rid of unwanted and unnecessary elements or “dead space” in the picture. Some people hesitate or are unsure about cutting their photos (also known as cropping). But when you crop your photos you end up with a picture where the subject is the main focus. You can also fit more pictures on each page since some of them are considerably smaller.
Choose an album style that allows the photos to be adhered directly to an album page with page protectors you can add after you’re finished. Then all of your photos can be facing the same way and you won’t have to turn the album around to view your photos. You can choose to embellish your pages with colored photo safe paper and stickers or leave your pages plain. Either way your photos should be the main focus of your album. Family and friends are interested in the photos not the pretty paper and fancy decorating.
Enough cannot be said about journaling in your albums. Your albums should tell the story as if you weren’t there to tell it yourself. Your journaling should tell who, what, where, when and why about your photos. At least some of your journaling should be in your own handwriting. You may think your handwriting looks awful but someday it will be really special to your family. Journaling is the most important item you will include in your albums.
Remembering good memories has many benefits and we can provide those memories with completed albums. It’s important to preserve the past, enrich the present and inspire hope for the future through family photo albums. Everyone should have an album to remind them of how much they are loved.