If you're like me, you have hundreds, if not thousands of digital photos on your computer. In this digital age, it's rare that anyone makes a regular practice of printing ALL of their digital images and filing them into an album.My biggest worry is losing all of these files. They're stored on my computer and I sometimes back them up on an external drive... but what if something happens to my computer? what if my drive becomes corrupt? I can only imagine how devestating it would be to lose those files; photos of my children and the memories we've created over the years.I've always been pretty good at keeping a running 4x6 print album from year to year. Before this digital age, I would develop my film and throw the prints into album sleeves... I've done this since high school and so I have well over a dozen large photo albums. I tried to keep up after getting my first digital camera. If anything, it became a little easier because I could pick and choose which photos to develop but the urgency wasn't there to print. I could immediately see the files, and so the excitement of picking up those prints from the lab wasn't the same as it was. I turned to publishing my digitals into photobooks to document life events: my bachelorette, my honeymoon etc. As wonderful as it was to have these events published, my day-to-day photographs were not getting printed... they just sat on my computer... waiting. And so I decided to publish annual photobooks.Since posting images of my personal photobooks, I've gotten a number of inquiries about what companies I use, what size I like the best, what cover options are my favourite, and my workflow in terms of organizing my photos and turning them into yearly albums. It's January 17th, and I have my 2013 albums in hand. It's not an easy feat, but it's not impossible, especially if you keep your digitals organized. ANNUAL FAMILY ALBUMS:I take a lot of photographs in a year and I feel strongly about printing the special ones and displaying them in our home. But there are also those that I want printed in an album for safekeeping. For these albums, I use Photobook Canada. There are a number of websites you can use but I like how Photobook Canada offers a professional line of photobooks which is what I offer to my clients. Each Pro-Line book is individually hand-crafted and comes with a variety of cover options, including buckram, leather or cambric. There is also the option for an imagewrap cover, but for my family yearbooks, I choose a leather cover with a photo inset. What's nice about Photook Canada is they have a wonderful consumer line with many user friendly options. cover photo courtesy: Laura Reive Photography
For my annual family albums, I select their 11x11 Large Square Debossed cover in leather. I upgrade the paper to the thickest available. My 2013 book is 166 pages and 3.4 pounds! It's thick, it's heavy, and I love it! With Photobook Canada you need to download their photobook designer. It's extremely user friendly and it allows you to select from various book options and sizes. There are multiple page layouts to select from; I love printing single full page photos. As for my workflow, if I keep my photos organized on my computer, it makes publishing a breeze. Every time I take photos, I save them to my computer filed by year, month, and event. As I have time, I edit the photos that I know I will print at the end of the year, and I save those to another file called Final Album Selections. I name the final files in such a way that they will sort chronologically at the end of the year. Then I just upload them to the Photobook Designer and start designing my book. Because I've kept my files organized, it's made the process simple and quick. I then order the book online, and it's sent to me in the mail a few weeks later.ANNUAL INSTAGRAM BOOKS:I can't always lug my big camera around, so I rely on my Iphone to take photographs of my kiddies in their day-to-day-lives. Almost right away, I post these images to instagram (an online social network of photo sharing; similar to facebook) and at the end of the year, I make an Instagram book at Blurb. It's easy: follow the website instructions and log-in to instagram. Blurb automatically links your instagram photos to their online album design program. You can have them sort your photos and fill your pages automatically, or you can manually drag and drop the photos you want in your book. Here is what their design page looks like.
You can select multiple photos in various layouts per page, but I choose to print only one instagram photo per page - they print larger this way. I upgrade the inside covers to white instead of grey (which is their default) and I always upgrade to a heavier paper weight. It just feels nicer :)This year I had so many instagram photos that I had to publish two books. The maximum a 7"x7" book will hold is 240 pages. I hope of I've inspired some of you to get printing. It doesn't matter what kind of camera you have or where you decide to print your memories (although quality can be comprimised if you don't research your company). The most important thing is to print those memories instead of keeping them stored on your computer where they can become damaged or lost. The same goes for the photographs purchased during your next professional photo session. Digital files are great for social networks and online sharing, but when it comes to preserving memories and turning them into art, always consider professional printing with your photographer. You won't be disappointed.