Creating a family album from printed photos




Happy New Year - I know we can't say that after January 7th but my kids are home with me so I lost track of what day it was on December 20th. This year I have three personal photography goals for my family - get caught up on the books I've fallen behind on, create an annual book of our photos from last year and make a childhood album for my brother and I. A few years ago, more like a decade ago, my Mom handed me a bag of photos and told me to turn them into a book for my brother and I. My response - NO THANKS. Her response - Emily take the bag I'm not asking you - I'm telling you. Ugh, fine. So, here we are ten years later and that damn bag hasn't made itself into a book yet ;-). This week in a desperate attempt to stay off of my phone I started this project. If you're in the same boat please find my three simple steps below. Step 1: Define the story I want to tell. My favourite part of working with clients in my course or through making them photo books is simplifying the story they want to tell. My Mom handed me a bunch of images - everything from Grandparent wedding photos to drunk Emily and Mike on vacation in Cuba. After reviewing the photos I decided that the story will be about my family - start with grandparent photos, the single photo of my parents at their wedding and then dive into baby photos of my brother and I - from there the images will largely resonate with me. Even though I'll give my brother a copy of the book he's not getting a say in what photos go into the book. Why? Because he won't care if I make a book or not. The way for me to stay engaged in a project is to keep things simple - giving my brother or Mom a say will suck the joy out of it. Step 2: Sort through the photos and be ruthless about telling the story. The left pile is my keep pile and the right is my slip back into the bag and never look at them again pile. Seriously. If/when I want to make a book about Mike and I dating I will ask my Mom for the photos - until then I'm not focusing on those images.



Step 3: Here is where things get interesting and my procrastination can get away from me. I need to digitize the little pile to the right. Everything I do with my own family books are aimed at being beautiful and simple. Read not fussy. My options for digitizing are endless. Here are three options that I have used in the past.

  1. Send them away to be digitized. Priciest option and making a trip to the postoffice or downtown is something that would take me a long time to do.

  2. Set up a Lightbox, my camera on a tripod and painstakingly edit every last image on my computer. We did this in photography school and unless I'm being paid handsomely for it I am notdoing it again.

  3. Find a nice pocket of light in my home, tape the photos down the very best I can to make the images flat and photograph them. Because the light is good I probably won't edit them. My goal isn't to make them look like I just took the photos - it's to create a simple book my kids and their kids and their kids will enjoy. After that I'm pretty sure my family won't care about it ;-).

I would love to hear if you have a similar project you want to tackle. I'd also love to help. The great thing about printed photos is they probably haven't deteriorated like digital files so they will print beautifully.


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