photo book fail {but print win}

Each year I make family photo books. Well, that is the goal. I started in 2007 and have books through 2012. Then, 2013 came and went. And 2014 came and went. And 2015 has come. For so long I kept telling myself I would schedule a weekend to hide out and make the 2013 book and then another weekend for the 2014 book. I never scheduled those weekends. Honestly, the books have felt like a weight. I cherish the ones we have and am so thankful I was consistent to get those done during those years. Since I had made them for so long, I felt stuck. I had to make the remaining years.

And then one day I let go of that weight.

I decided 2013 and 2014 would be the years of prints. Maybe one day I would go back and make photo books, but I was not going to just let those years sit on a hard drive.

So…we got prints. 2 years worth of 4×6 and 4×4 (instagram) prints. And it is awesome!

7.15mpix-01The prints came as sets of 25 in clear sleeves. This helps keep them somewhat organized until I put them in a photo box. I know photo boxes run the risk of getting un-organized, but I just like the ease of pulling out a stack and flipping through them.7.15mpix-027.15mpix-03Photo Tip: Name your pictures by their date. For example, “7.15Campbells-01.jpg, 7.15Campbells-02.jpg, 7.15Campbells-03.jpg, etc”. I order all my prints from On the back of each photo is the name of the photo. You could name your photos by the exact date they were taken, but just the month and year works for me. This gives me so much relief knowing if I don’t ever get around to writing more info the back of the photos, at least the month and date are there. This also helps if photos get out of order. The date stamp on the back is pretty light. My plan is to write the date and a little note darker, but my plan was also to make photo books for 2013 and 2014…you can see how well that plan turned out!7.15mpix-05I order 4×4 prints of my instagram shots. Mpix has a Tap-to-Print app that makes printing from my phone super easy.7.15mpix-06I like to use different apps on my phone occasionally to create grids and add text. It is fun to be able to easily print those photos as well.7.15mpix-07When it comes to picking pictures to print, photo quality is not even close to the top of my list of factors. I pick pictures based on the content of the photo, not the quality. Some of my favorite and most meaningful pictures are grainy and blurry. Don’t delete a meaningful photo because it make not be technically good. 7.15mpix-09My kids were so surprised by the big box of prints that arrived. They are accustomed to flipping pages of a photo book. It was a lot of fun watching them thumb through prints. I make photo books and print pictures for us…for THEM. I don’t care if they get finger prints on the prints. I want my kids to enjoy photos…photography…my camera. Always being uptight and worried when they handle prints will not help me towards that goal. I did ask them to keep them in the plastic sleeve stacks just so they stay somewhat in order.

Looking back through pictures is a beautiful experience…for adults and kids.7.15mpix-107.15mpix-117.15mpix-12I told them they could pull out any prints that they wanted. They like to use them as bookmarks and hang them on their walls. A certain boy pulled out all the puppy pictures of Arley.7.15mpix-13“Look Mommy! It is me and my friends!” My kids, all 5 of them, love looking at baby pictures and learning about their early years through photos. Photography is a powerful tool for telling stories and learning stories.7.15mpix-14While we were reliving memories through photos, I found some really old ones. This is me the first time I broke my foot. I did a front flip off a wooden train my dad built me. The flip was awesome, the landing not so much. It was my first broken bone, but certainly not my last. The other photo is me and my dad in Canton, Texas..below it my dad and me on my wedding day. Pictures are meant to be printed!7.15mpix-15I am not sure what 2015 will look like. I am trying to do more video this year. Right now I am thinking about printing pictures again, creating a 2015 video recap and making a couple photo books of significant events. I still really, really like photo books. There is something so amazing about seeing pictures printed in a book format. has a new line of panoramic books that I would like to try out using our recent family photos.

I picked this post date with great intention. I asked my friends at when they would be doing a print sale – I wanted to share about prints and give you a little extra encouragement to PRINT YOUR PHOTOS! Starting today is doing a 25% off print sale. Use that extra nudge to print some of your photos. Order a few extra to share with friends or family. My kids love writing letters and slipping photos in too.

Break those pictures out of the digital abyss of hard drives and online storage – get some prints in your hands!

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