My life motto since having kids has been, "Done is better than perfect." Maybe there will be time for perfect some day (I won't hold my breath), but in the meantime this motto applies to just about everything, including making photo books.
Many of us start our parenting journey with Pinterest-worthy plans of documenting our kids' childhoods. We may even have special baby books and keepsakes from that first year of milestones. Maybe we even kept it up a second year. (Or maybe we never even got to our wedding album.) Then life happened and all our plans sort of fell apart.
If you're like me, despite your best intentions, you're a year (or a few) behind on printing photo books for your family. I don't have any magic remedies to check all the books off your list, but I do have a few tips to ease the backlog (and the mom guilt) a bit.
Choose an event instead of a whole year.
Like any big project, breaking it into pieces makes it more doable. You may have thousands of photos throughout a year. They're probably on multiple computers or multiple devices. It's too much to go through in one sitting. You have to break it up into manageable chunks. My favorite way to do this is to have special photo books for vacations or family visits. (Bonus: these make great gifts for family members.)
You could also do this by breaking the year up into sections. For my phone photos especially, I find that printing one or two months at a time is much more manageable than organizing a whole year. If you use a service like Chatbooks, you can set up an automated feed and print whenever you reach a certain number of photos.
Go date forward.
Start of with a win and go date forward rather than picking up where you left off with your last album. Maybe one glorious day you'll have time to go back and fill in the gaps, but for now just celebrate the small successes and work your way to the bigger ones. Start with a fun summer album and work your way through each season.
Embrace cloud storage and organization.
I use OneDrive to back up all my photos. The phone app automatically backs up all my mobile images to the cloud (and cleans up space on my phone), which makes me rest easier knowing my photos are safe in case I lose or damage my phone (like I just did while on vacation).
I can access these images from either my phone or my laptop when it's time to make a book. I also love that you can share folders as well. I have real-time access to all my husband's pictures and can add them to my own folders for albums.
Don't totally forgo digital.
Printing is really important. Having all these images collecting digital dust on your hard drive or your phone is a waste, but you don't have to shun digital altogether. One thing I love about using Lightroom to make my photo books is that I can easily create and save a PDF version to my hard drive. We've set up email accounts for our boys (don't get me started on my lofty plans of writing letters to my kids every birthday...) and I can send them the files as an added measure in case the hard copy books ever get lost or destroyed.
Ditch perfection and celebrate whatever you're able to accomplish.
I may have left off yearly albums after my oldest son's first year, but I have managed to print vacation and family visit books. Not only do they make great holiday gifts, but I love seeing the growing stack that each of my kids have in their closet. I keep one set for my husband and me that is on our bookshelf. Lately my oldest has added these albums to his reading rotation. The other night I walked by to hear my husband reading some of the captions from his first year. And it made all the work that goes into making these books worth it.
And if you haven't managed to print any books, don't despair. Back your pictures up and they'll still be there when you get around to it.
Nicole Sanchez Photography works with busy parents in Northern Virginia, Washington, DC, and Maryland to create stress-free photo sessions that take all the loving, fun, and chaotic moments of family life to make beautiful photos and films that families will love looking at year after year. Contact me today to start planning a custom photography experience that's perfect for your family.