our 2012 family album {blurb photo books}

Why yes, it is 2014 tomorrow and I am posting about our 2012 albums. Typically, I order our family albums in January for the previous year. That did not happen January of 2013. While the boys were on their ski trip, I took advantage of the quiet nights to finally get our 2012 album finished. I’m often asked about how I compile my books, so I’m going to answer a few common questions here.

  • Company – This year I created my book through Blurb
  • Size – I did the 12 x 12 book for our family book and the 8.72 x 11.25 book to compile all the adoption posts I wrote.
  • Paper – I had to use the standard paper because my book got too big (250+ pages) and I no longer had the option for upgraded paper. However, I am very happy with the standard paper.
  • Design software – I used the Blurb BookSmart software. The BookSmart software does allow you to create custom layouts. Typically, I create about 5 and save them under “My layouts” in the software.
  • Cover – I did the hardcover image wrap on the smaller book and the dust jacket on our family album. I wish I had done the image wrap on both.
  • Photos – I use DSLR and iPhone photos. I typically have 300-600 photos per month to sort through, some months even more. This is after I’ve deleted all the ones I don’t like! I create my book month by month. For instance, in July I try to keep the month chronological but if I have a few photos that don’t fit with others, I’ll add them all together at the end of the month.
  • Extra copy – I always order 2 yearly albums. One is tucked away safely. The other is left out for us to enjoy. I don’t harp on the kids to be so careful that they are afraid the thumb the pages. I want them to enjoy the books…as they enjoy photos they are more willingly to continue to not mind my camera out all the time.
  • Text – I do not add text to my books, simply because I would never finish them if I tried to add text. I figure it is better to have the book with no text than to have no book at all. Hobby Lobby sells archival pens that don’t smudge – every now and then I will write something in the book. Very seldom though because I’m just happy to actually get them done.

I actually ordered two books this year.

1. a 12×12 family album of all our 2012 pictures

2. a 8.72 x 11.25 book of all the blog posts I wrote regarding our adoption journey12.13blurb-1

As far as how I lay out the pages – it is different on each page. If I have several photos that all fit together, I will do a spread (2 pages that face each other) using the series of photos. This the the most common way I create my books. It makes for big books, but I really enjoy having some pages with large images.

12.13blurb-212.13blurb-4During the duration of taking these photos I think I told him 20 times to get off the table.12.13blurb-5

12.13blurb-3On other pages, I compile several pictures that ‘fit’ together either by theme or chronologically. The spread below goes from our time in Hong Kong to the day we met our youngest daughter in China.12.13blurb-6It is hard to believe, but I think the kids might enjoy the books even more than I do. It is so much fun listening to them re-live the events.12.13blurb-7

Below is an example of a custom spread. I used the BookSmart software to edit the layout to make the one you see below. I used this layout design several times in the book because it allowed for 2 verticals and 8 horizontals. Sidenote – Little One has really been pointing our her cleft lip in old pictures. I wish I could get in her head to know what she is thinking! Someday.

12.13blurb-912.13blurb-10She knocked over the plant in her excitement to see the book. Also, the pages below are instagram pictures. I created this layout to hold 25 square photos per page and had several pages at the end of the book of my favorite Instagram shots. They are in chronological order.12.13blurb-11I also always add images of things I made that year and pictures of how the house was decorated. I think those will be really fun to look back on in the decades to come….when my grandkids call my diy projects vintage.12.13blurb-12

I made the smaller book for Little One. Maybe one day she’ll want to read all those blog posts I wrote regarding how she joined our family and how I was feeling while waiting. It is heavy on the text. I added more personal parts as well…not just stuff from the blog. I also included ALL of your comments from the post when we announced we were adopting and the post where we held her for the first time. Those comments take up half of the book. I debated including them or not, but ultimately think she might really like to see how many people were rejoicing and celebrating her life.

It is such a big book – over 300 pages. There are so many questions I’ll never be able to answer for her. I hope this book will help her to know how deep and fierce and loved she is by her family.12.13blurb-1312.13blurb-1512.13blurb-1612.13blurb-1712.13blurb-18Once they finished the new 2012 book, they started pulling out old ones and cracking up.12.13blurb-1912.13blurb-20Years later and they still think it was so funny to stick their fingers in the fan.

It is deeply important to me that our family pictures do not just sit on my computer or a hard drive. They tell the stories that my tired brain has already forgotten. They take us back. Make us cry and laugh and smile. They bring up gratitude. They remind us of how good we’ve got it…

***I have purchased albums from Blurb for a couple of years now. The albums above were purchased by me and were not provided for a review. I was not paid for this post. However, I have recently joined the Blurb affiliate program.***

SnapShop Online Photography School exists to help others gain the tools they need to be able to capture the beauty if their days through photography. Whether you recently purchased your very first DSLR and aren't even sure how to turn it on or if you have a little bit of a grasp on terms like aperture and shutter speed - SnapShop courses and lessons will propel you forward on your photography journey.

A Few Favorite Posts