31 Days :: A Year In Review Photo Book

by jessicaturner on October 18, 2011

This is the 18th day in a series: 31 Days of Memory Keeping. Check out all the posts here.

For the next couple days, I am going to share some specific photo books that are near and dear to my heart.

First up are my annual photo books, which I have started to make in addition to Project Life. My plan it to annually create a photo book for each of my kids, for each year of their life. When they leave the nest, they will take with them this library of 18 books containing all the best photos from their time at home.

{As an aside, when I left my parents’ home, I took with me 18 albums – one for every year of my life. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.}

I was inspired by Danelle Johnson to create these photo books. (Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a blog anymore, so I can’t refer you to her excellent post about doing annual albums).

I completed my first annual book this summer. It is 8.5×11, 100 pages and contains about 1,000 photos. The cost was $120. (If you think about it, that is only 12 cents a photo.) Yes, these books are not cheap, but you can find ways to make them more inexpensive like buying Groupons and watching for sales. (I made my 2010 book using a Groupon, so my out of pocket cost was about $50.) Moreover, what good are photos that never see the light of day. Get those photos off your hard drive!

I decided to create my books in Picaboo because I love the flexibility of the software and that I can easily upload photos a little at a time. (This past year they also offered killer Groupons and Living Social deals, which cut my cost significantly.)

Here’s what the process looks like.

We take about 1,000 photos A MONTH, so there was significant weeding out in the process of creating this book. I worked on the book a month at a time, which kept me from getting too overwhelmed.

Here are a few of my finished photo spreads.

The book probably took me about 30-40 hours, but spread in 15 minute – 2 hour increments over the course of a month.

And it was worth every second.

Let me know if you have any questions about this project/process and I will do my best to answer them in the comments.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jody October 18, 2011 at 9:47 am

I do the same for my niece. Except for her first year I had to split it into 2 books because I had too many layouts for one. I’m trying to keep her 2nd year book in one. She absolutely loves looking at them. The other night she started digging out my old scrapbooks and wanted to look through them. I was actually surprised she was able to pick out her high school mommy & aunt (:

Here’s a link to her first six months: http://share.shutterfly.com/share/received/welcome.sfly?fid=7bdfe692d884dfba6cbbd47cbb382743&sid=0AZOWzJs5YsmTwY


Mindy October 18, 2011 at 9:59 am

I really need to start my books as my son is now 3! I’m just wondering do you start each book when they turn the next age or just at the beginning of the year. Thanks so much for this series. It has been SO helpful so far! :)


jessicaturner October 18, 2011 at 11:14 am

I do mine January – December. Elias and Adeline’s first book is just half a year (Elias was born in July and Adeline in June). I like ending with Christmas. :)


Ashley October 18, 2011 at 10:21 am

I made a book for my daughter when she was born (showing some “firsts” like her first bath and her baby blessing). Then I made a book when she turned 1 and I just finished her third book last month (she just turned 2).

My intention is to give my daughter all her photo books when she leaves home, along with an external hard drive with an electronic copy of the photos and videos of her childhood (there are too many to use CDs) :-) But then I feel a sense of loss inside and I’m pretty sure I will miss those photo books.

Here’s my question: Should I make two copies of the photo books? One for me to keep and one to give her? I realize that will essentially double my costs, but do you think it would be worth it? I’m pretty sure when my daughter leaves home that my heart will break (she’s only 2 now and I’m dreading that day even though it’s at least 16 years away) and I’m pretty sure when she’s gone from home I’ll want to sit down and look at those old photo books from when she was a baby and cry about how quickly time flies. What are your thoughts?


jessicaturner October 18, 2011 at 11:13 am

I make two books – one for the child and one for me. Yes, it doubles the cost, but I think it is worth it. Picaboo does several sales a year when they do buy one book, get one free. :)


Linny Best October 18, 2011 at 10:51 am

I love it! That’s how I do my Project 365 every year…Caedmon is obsessed with looking through them and insisting on telling us who is in each picture, all 385 of them!


sona October 18, 2011 at 10:54 pm

where do you find Groupon sales? I get emails everyday from them but have never seen any books


jessicaturner October 19, 2011 at 11:52 am

I google Groupon+the date to see national deals. The blog Mama Cheaps also often posts national Groupon deals.


Fun Mama - Deanna October 19, 2011 at 1:06 pm

The website PhotoBook Girl (www.photobookgirl.com) posts national photo book deals and other photo related deals.


ChristyDusan December 2, 2012 at 7:12 am

Would it be ok..if you put the Birthday in the child’s annual life book? I’m just thinking that’s a lot of books..that’s 36 per child after 18 years..BUT I LOVE the thought of having all the memories.!!! I am so impressed at all the work you do!!! I feel lost! :( OH! And I have not done a book yet….SO..should I start right now in the current..(my kids are 2 and 3.5) or should I go back to do their first year books and start that way? It is my MISSION to get these done and caught up! Where do I start! Help please!


jessicaturner December 3, 2012 at 5:27 am

Yes, you should do whatever works for you. I do birthday party books now because birthdays are a big event around here and I want to document more than a few pictures. :)


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