We all have a level of fear, concern, annoyance etc. at the current state of the world and COVID-19. Here in Ontario, we're embarking on a period of at least three weeks of kids at home (when they should be at school/daycare/camp etc.). As we all battle to rise above our worries, I would like to offer an idea that we view this time as a gift - a gift to tackle some of our personal projects and the things that we never seem to make time to get around to doing.
Me? My biggest wish for time would be to catch up on my personal family photo albums. I think some of you may just be on the same page!? I'm going to create a daily resource this week to help you navigate through the process every day, so we come away with an accomplishment that makes us feel great and solidifies our memories for years to come. And hey - ordering your book this week, will give you something to flip through with the kids in week 3!
So here we go - join me for the Photo-Album-in-a-Week-Challenge!!
Sifting through, organizing and printing the many photographs you have taken over the years can be a BIG job.
For me, I spend 99% of my photograph management time on my client’s photos, so I am in the same boat you might just be in too! I have YEARS of photos of my own family that I am desperate to organize and get into printed albums - I just feel they are SAFER in albums rather than in ‘corruptible’, ‘deletable’ and ‘invisible’ digital files!
If, like me, you have MANY MANY photos, it’s a daunting task that gets bigger as time passes.
I’m going to make it easy by breaking down the tasks into chunks – one day at a time so that we can get that first album made easily in our first week in ‘quarantine’! Plan for between 30 and 60 minutes per day of work – and you can do it in front of the t.v. like I do!
Here we go. I’ll start gently.
We have three quick and fun tasks today!
1. Decide your topic!
A recent vacation or event? Yearbook 2019? A mashup of your kid’s birthday parties? Take stock of the (thousands?) of photos you have and break them down into reasonable categories. Then pick one to start!
2. Get your photos into one place.
Find all the photos you have for your chosen album topic and bring them all together into one folder on the hard drive of your computer. You may wish to include photos from the camera, tablet, phone, etc.; your own and your traveling companions, significant other, friends, etc. Take a few minutes to download from your devices and store in one common place.
3. Choose a book printer/vendor.
There are lots out there and Google will help. These days you have choices of book sizes, min and max number of pages, softcover or hardcover, leaf page or lay-flat page, etc. Find something you love, that delivers to your locale, and that offers a quality you trust and a price you are comfortable with. Make sure they have an easy-to-use book design software and get it downloaded on to your computer! My choice these days is Photobook (Canada or America), and in Europe, MyPhotoBook – there is a webpage for each different country.
That’s it for today! You’ve laid the important groundwork to get started on your book!
4. Choose a picture organizing software.
You will need to view, star-rate, filter, reorder, organize into folders, and edit your photos! Choose a software that will let you do these things. Your easiest free choices are iPhoto (already installed on your Mac) or Picasa for Windows. Open up your software, take a quick tutorial on how to use it, and load in your photos from Step 2!
5. Select the photos to include – not every snap is book-worthy!
This is the hardest part for ME. I take A LOT of pictures and sometimes many of pretty much the exact same thing! #photographerproblems #imworkingonit You probably will need to narrow down your photos. I suggest trying to include only the photos that help tell the story you are telling (about your vacation, or what happened during your year, etc.), and/or are beautiful portraits or landscapes that make you SMILE when you see them, or evoke emotions and memories. Try not to include too many that are repetitive – they may seem important now, but when you are flipping through in a few year’s time, you won’t feel the need to see the same sunset from 8 different angles. Keep your photos unique to one another!
Way to go! Task 5 is the one I find the hardest. It’s done!
6. Edit your photos.
The extent to which you edit your photos is up to you. Use your photo organizing software to brighten up photos that are too dark or darken ones that are too bright; adjust colour if your photos are too yellow from indoor light; crop and straighten.
7. Export as JPGs
Export your photos in the .jpeg file format. This is currently the most commonly used file format that book design software will be looking for.
Great job! Next we tackle laying out the book!
8. Import your JPGs into you book-making software.
Follow the instructions in your book-design software to bring in your selected photos! It could take a while to import – grab a drink while you wait! .
9. Lay out your photos in your book Now for the designing!
Most software programs use drag-'n-drop to drag photos onto photoboxes that are arranged in a layout that you can choose for each page or spread. Within the box, you should be able to crop and shift the photo. You can also resize and reposition your photoboxes. Group your photos onto pages together that help tell your story! Follow basic layout design principles like ensuring photos lead your eye into the middle of the spread. Fill your frames and make sure the photos are nicely spaced on the page. Some book-design software programs have an ‘auto-design’ option. If you use this, be sure to look carefully through the design to ensure it looks good! Finally, make sure none of your photos are too close to the page edge or have important content in the gutter (if you're not making a layflat book).
10. Caption, title and covers
Go through your album page by page and decide where you would like to add words! You don’t need to caption everything, but maybe certain photos would benefit from an explanation, or maybe a caption per page or spread is enough. Or maybe even just section titles! Add text into specially placed text boxes. Put your favourite pictures on the cover and back cover, and title your book in a meaningful way! Include the date, place, etc.
11. Review and edit!
Remember to triple check you spelling and grammar by reading your written words aloud! Also be sure to check that none of your pictures are too close to the page edges or have important content in the gutter.
12. Order your book!
Most design software programs will offer two features – first the chance to view your book in Preview mode with no design feature distractions – USE THIS! It’s a great way to see any issues with book design. Secondly, they should list any errors or problems, like empty photo or text boxes, images with too low a resolution, etc. When you are good to go, get that book into your cart and on it's way to print!
CONGRATULATIONS! You did it! So what’s your next book going to be about?