If you’re like me, you tend to go a little overboard taking pictures when you are on vacation or at an important event. When you get back from wherever you are, you probably want to put those photos in an album so others can enjoy them, but it can be an overwhelming task. For the two and half weeks we spent in Southern California I took over 2300 pictures! How on earth do I even begin? After tackling photo albums for the last four big vacations, I’ve developed a few tips to help out anyone wanting to create their own album.
First things first, cut those photos down. Go through – fairly quickly – and delete the blurry ones or bad ones. When you have five in a row of something similar, flip through those five, pick the best, and delete the others. Keep it if you think cropping or a little photo treatment might help or if it’s unique for some reason. Mark any that you really love as “favorites” along the way if you have the capability. (It’s also good to delete bad photos at the time you’re taking them to save you time later.) Just by doing this first pass through, you should be able to reduce your photos to a lot more manageable number.
Next order of business is to pick an “easy” template pack (or two or three or five) for you to use. Here are some good ones that I found in the store: Maya DeGroot has lots to choose from with “Documenting December“, “P365 +1“, or “Passion for 365“, Kitty Designs’s “Daily Tale” series, Anna Aspnes “FotoInspired“, TaylorMade’s “Blueprint“, and Merkely’s “Photo Ploppers“.
Don’t forget to place your template on the company’s template if they have one available or look up the edge dimensions. You don’t want to get 92 pages in and realize that you forgot to account for the edges and have all 92 pages be cut off on all sides. (A-hem…not that I am speaking from experience or anything…) Shutterfly has a blank .psd template with the guidelines built in, but you can create your own guidelines around the borders if you need to. Even then, beware of the gutter. The thicker the book, the more the gutter (inside edge) will be cut off.
Take a deep breath because it’s time to really begin. The first advice I have is to take it in chunks. Try and take a group of pictures for a certain event. For example, I had one set of pictures for our bay cruise in San Francisco. So, I pulled in those pictures and compared what I had to my templates. That helped me figure out how many pages for that one event I was going to create. If you have an event that has way too many photos, break that one into segments. The San Diego Safari Park, for example, had way too many pictures to consider doing that in just a few pages. So I broke that one into smaller segments. These seven were from the entrance, these five were from the Condor Trail. Not only did this help me manage creating the pages, but it helped keep me from being overwhelmed and build in stopping points too.
Work in double page segments if possible, especially if you are using different kinds of templates. Your double page spreads should compliment each other. If you have the left side photos with squared corners, you probably don’t want the right page to have rounded corners. If you’ve ever worked with photo publishing, you’ll know there are some ground rules to draw the “reader’s” eye in. Try to face lines and faces going in towards the middle of the page. Balance your pages and remember the rule of thirds if you can.
When deciding which template you are going to use, don’t just think of how many pictures you have, but also think of the shapes of the pictures you have – vertical or horizontal. Try as best as you can to match up those shapes or think if some can be made a different shape than what it is if it’s cropped. Don’t be afraid to rotate, alter, or combine templates. Have two horizontal photos? Turn a double vertical page 90 degrees. Or take one of the vertical boxes and divide it into two square photos for a three photo page instead. Remember that templates are just your jumping off point!
I work my photos first. I get all my photos in on the templates and save the .psds as I go. Then I go back and clean up templates if need be and add journaling.
Adding journaling in a few layouts is important. Set the scene and add some of the important details on the opening spread of each section so that you remember the details years later. Pictures are great, but the words add context and help you remember the little things that were so fun (or maybe not so fun)!
Finally, I add any paper and elements if I feel like it. This last book was so much work, I didn’t add any paper or elements in. In the past though, I’ve added a simple background paper and some embellishments here and there, like on this page from our trip to Disney.
After I have proofread the pages multiple times (and had my husband do it too), I use the “Process Multiple Files” feature on Photoshop Elements to turn my .psds into full quality .jpegs very quickly. (Ignore the fact that it says my folder is in the trash in this picture!)
Now it’s time to upload! Many photobook websites will let you upload your page as a large photo on to a blank page. Shutterfly calls this style “Digiscrap”, though it’s not as user-friendly as they would lead you to believe. I had to duplicate the full page photo template 90 times for my book and even then it would randomly zoom in on photos when I dropped them in. There might be other companies out there that make this part easier, but I’ve used Shutterfly before and like their quality.
After that, you can order away! Make sure to look for coupons for the site you are using, I got 30% off my book, but there was a coupon for select styles for 50% off. In the end, you come away with a great memory of your event or family time!
I hope this helps you if there is an album you’ve been waiting to tackle. It really is a lot of fun to go back and look through the memories after the event is over! If you have any other tips, I’d love to hear them in the comments! Happy Scrapping!