Minnesbilder 2008 photo book - photo grid backside

I hope you’ve been reading along at The Archive-Along this week? I think it’s a fascinating series of posts and a important topic, archiving your digital stuff. You create so much on the computer – but do you take regular backups? You should.

Archive-Along (Photo by iHanna - Hanna Andersson) The Archive Along is a blog project with articles and tutorials on how to make sure your online content doesn’t get lost in cyberspace. Diane and Rachel suggests that we keep our content safe by doing backups, making link archives, best-post-zines (love that idea!) and publishing books etc. Because documenting is one of my great passions in life I’m really digging this project, and thought I’d join in with a few thoughts on my own archiving process. For example, I’ve got folder upon folder with photos in my computer… I bet you do too? So the question is…

What should we DO with all the photos we take?

I’ve been taking digital photos for over six years now and the system I have of filing them in folders (named by date) is working great for me. I love everything that is ordered chronologically! It reminds me of life passed, in a good way. It’s the way I write in and archive my diaries. It’s the way blog posts work too. So I store digital photos by year, and plan to make a few backups of documents and photos to another hard drive soon. But when and how will I ever look at all these photos?

Photo folders

I sure ain’t no scrapbooker, even though I used to glue photos onto card-stock and make big heavy Photo Albums when I was younger. Now I don’t any more. I think it’s because the amount of photos has grown exponentially with the digital era. I can take as many photos in just an hour now as I did in six months with film.

It’s just not possible to print all these pictures any more! And the thought of that weight me down. Plus, I can’t afford printing them all. It could easily take over my day making pages with all these photos…

But what if I still want to be able to have an archive of them in my hand? I think a digitally put together album, that was professionally printed and full of my own photos would do the trick. So my answer is of course to make a annual photo book! The answer is simple, you might have guessed it by now. It is to create your own:

Print-on-demand self published photo book

Oh how I love the wonders of the modern age sometimes. To create your own photo book. Wow, right? So that’s exactly what I have done!

Me and my Nikon D50 camera like to take walks together (Photo by iHanna - Hanna Andersson)

I’m a sucker for making books, as you might know. An archive for me would have to be something tangible, something away from the computer. One printed book, or several because I’m quite productive. I love everything about books, and I enjoy the process of making them. I made a book from one year of my blog back in 2006. It’s called A Creative Year and it’s published at Lulu where you still can get it. It’s about time I do a couple of more of those blog books, don’t you agree? I would love to have my whole blog as a series of books, but making books takes a lot of time as I talk about in the interview over at CraftyPod three years ago. So while not tackling that yet I’ve started another series of books just for me! They are photographic memory books, or you could call them plain ol’ Photo Albums, coz’ that’s what they are. I say “they” though I’ve only printed one so far, via Blurb. I’m now working on both 2009 and 2010 at the same time.

My photo book 2008 (Photo by iHanna - Hanna Andersson)

I decided to do a year of photos in one book, and just pick the ones I liked most and use those. Not concentrating on a theme or do a specific photographic project, just that one place to view a years worth of photos. Mmm! I will show more images from the book and write a bit more about the process of making this specific book later. This one won’t be for sale because many of the photos are too private (of family and friends). But I must say I’m in love with it, and had to share it with you. I hope you will be inspired to make a book yourself.

My family have been looking through it several times and I’ve received such nice reviews from them that make me extra proud. A photo archive in book form is a great project for many reasons, happiness being the largest part!

As my favorite author Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project wrote:

Happy memories of the past are an effective way to make yourself happier in the present, and things like photo albums, mementos, and one-sentence journals are great ways to keep happy memories vivid.

One problem is that the minute I put one album together, it’s time to start the next! After I do my next one, I think I will create some sort of schedule – to work on it for an hour once every two weeks – so I feel like I’m on top of it. Finishing mini-steps will make it easier to finish a major projects.
Gretchen Rubin
[quote from Finish The Projects You’ve Started. Or Call an End to Them]

Digital photos turned into a photo book that makes me happy

  • Having a record of one years worth of photos reminds me what I did – and didn’t do.
  • Making a book and doing layout for each page is creative and fun
  • A photo book is a great way to evoke happy memories
  • You can easily share your memories with friends by bringing the book with you to a coffee shop or dinner party…
  • …and it’s easier to share it with older relatives who doesn’t use email or a computer

So run along now, to read some posts at The Archive-Along, for example Diane’s post Making a book from your blog (something I already did once, a book called A Creative Year and it’s still available) or start going through your digital photos and all those folders to make something useful out of all those photos! I’d love to see your finished Photo-album-printed-book, let me know how it goes! If you wan to get started right away you should visit Blurb where you can get your own books printed. I have been using InDesign to Make my Blurb Book, and I love it!

If it rains tomorrow too I’ll be back then.

** Curious of how my book turned out? Check out the photo project with a years worth of photos.

Other Ideas

How to make a Blurb Photo book
How to make a Photo Book for Week in the Life
Making a Blurb Photo Book Q&A