I love making and looking at my yearly photo books. No matter how stressful our year has been, I’m always encouraged by being able to look back and see all the blessings!
How I make my books has evolved and changed through the years.
My first book started as a Project 365. About midyear I switched it up and took photos several times a week instead of every day. I got into a routine making a two page spread with my weekly photos. I love that book and really grew as a photographer that year.
The next year I continued with two pages for each week of photos. I carefully dated each spread, numbered the photos and had a journaling spot where I told about each photo. It was a wonderful and detailed way to document our life. But, it was very time consuming.
The following year ended up being crazy busy and I let my photo project book fall by the wayside. After things settled down a bit, I really missed having the documentation of all that had happened during our year. So I got busy, sifted through all my photos and put together a simple book. Since then, I have kept the process of making my photo books very streamlined.
Even though I’ve really simplified how I do things I still end up with a book that I truly treasure. Making sure the dates were correct every week was something I decided really didn’t matter to me. A heading or box with the month and year gets the job done. Also, I don’t write about each photo, but only add sentences here and there as needed. So many photos just speak for themselves and don’t need any explanation. Also, I simplified the page layout and came up with a template that lets me quickly pick portrait or landscape orientation for my photos as needed. With this template I can quickly, with just a few clicks, customize each page to fit the photos that I have. That saves much time and frustration.
For me, another stressful part of making photo books was the decision of where to have them printed. It usually involved hunting for coupons, uploading pages, spending lots and lots of time getting the book just right then being surprise at how expensive it was going to be after adding it to the cart. Sometimes I would go through the whole process at several different places.
This year I did things totally different and I decided to print my book myself! I feel like this will be more economical and the print quality should be consistent. For the printing, I bought a HP Envy Photo 7155 printer and signed up for their Instant Ink subscription service. My printer is connected to the internet and ink is shipped when ever it starts to run low. The subscription cost is so much better than paying for cartridges not to mention that mine came with several free months of ink. There are different plans with one of the largest offering up to 300 pages a month for $9.99. No more I feeling guilty for printing on the best quality!
Once my pages were printed I bound them with a book binding system called the Cinch by We R Memory Keepers. I used heavy chip board for the covers and 1/2 wire bindings that I bought in bulk on Amazon. I printed a title page and used glue tape to adhere it to the front cover. Next time I’m going to use scrapbook paper and wrap the chip board with it before punching for a more finished look.
For the inside pages I used 8.5 x 11 50lb Premium Matte Double Sided paper from Red River Paper. The colors turned about really well and the weight of the paper is just right.
Printing my first book has a bit of a learning curve, but I really like how it turned out and look forward to starting another one. As you can see by the date I have some catching up to do.
One quick tip for using the Cinch; be sure your pages are pushed all the way to the back. I wasn’t careful and ended up having to reprint a whole group of pages. I’m going to only punch one page at a time for a while in case I mess up and have to reprint.
Here are the supplies I used with links so you can see exactly what I used:
My 8.5×11 Landscape Templates available in my shop.
HP Envy Photo 7155 (I purchased mine at Best Buy, but be sure to watch for sales as prices really vary from week to week.)
The Cinch by We R Memory Keepers (I found a great deal around Christmas and bought the Heidi Swapp version that has square holes.)
50 lb. Premium Matte Double Sided Paper by Red River Papers
1/2 inch Wire Bindings (I bought these in white from Amazon)
Chipboard 85pt 8.5 x 11 available here