Clicking Your Way to Scrapbooks

Contributing Writer: Jill Thompson, Inheritance of Hope Family Legacy Director 
After you have taken hundreds of photos and stored them in a safe and organized place what do you do with them? Preserve your memories. Make a scrapbook. This is where the rubber meets the road.
This can be as easy as clicking on your favorite photos and allowing Shutterfly to autofill an album. Truthfully, the websites listed in the previous email have taken much of the work out of this task. In Shutterfly, it is as simple as clicking on “Photo book”, selecting the size of the book and color scheme you like, and adding your photos. If you don’t care about the order of the pictures or the layout, you can simply enjoy the auto-filled album created by the website. Their automatic layouts are beautiful. If you prefer to customize the album, they have also made that extremely easy to do with their many features.  

Don’t be intimidated. It is really very easy. If cost is a factor, please note Shutterfly offers a 40-50% discount on photo books every single month. If at all possible, utilize those promotional offers to save money. It is most economical to utilize the 50% off promo code in addition to a free shipping promo code, and if you are able to be patient those deals are frequent.
You may want a little artistic inspiration. Inheritance of Hope has some great suggestions for albums you can create that I often recommend to families whom we serve:

  1. A Yearly Album. This album is a chronological timeline of your family memories. I recommend starting with the current year and working backwards as time allows. Don’t become so overwhelmed with what hasn’t been done, but rather begin today capturing and preserving your memories.
  2. A Trip or Event Album. Commemorate a special event or vacation by creating an album for that specific event. After a special family vacation get the photos on a website and order an album. You may choose to do a page every year on your child’s birthday and then have it printed when they turn age 18 as a graduation gift. Other ideas for an event-specific album are a family reunion, a sports season, a school year, a wedding, or a graduation.
  3. A Family Tree Album. Celebrate your family heritage by creating an album with the members of the extended family. The feature of scanning and digitizing old family photos makes this project much more attainable.
  4. A Tribute Album. Celebrate a special person by choosing favorite photos of that person throughout their life and compiling them into a book. (The “people” feature on shutterfly allows you to easily find many photos of the same person and select your favorites.)
  5. A Scripture/Favorite Quote Album. Select several of your favorite scriptures or quotes and put them in a book alongside your favorite photos. This takes away the pressure of keeping photos in a chronological order and also allows you to create an album immediately with all of your favorite photos without being limited to a time constraint or event.
  6. An Alphabet Album. If you have many photos from many different years and you don’t know where to start, consider using the alphabet to give your album direction. Think of a word or phrase for each letter of the alphabet and include photos on each page to go with that theme. For example, “A for animals” with pictures of your family’s favorite pets over the years. “S for sports” with pictures of the athletic events you or your children have participated in. “M for mom” with all kinds of pictures of mom and a few words from the family about what they love most about mom. “Q for quality time” with favorite family moments.

That should give you a good starting point. As you start on your scrapbook, here are my 5 most important tips:

  1. Provide text. Photos tell a story, but photos can’t tell the whole story. What was happening around the photo? Who took the photo? How did the people in the photo feel? What events led up to the photo? What was the best thing about that memory or time?
  2. If you were sitting with the person looking at the scrapbook what would you be saying to them about each page or picture? Those are the words you want to capture on each page. Create a scrapbook that anyone can look through on their own and know everything they would know if you were sitting right next to them.
  3. Provide dates. If the photo has a known date, record that date on the page. Most digital photos are uploaded and stored with a date and time stamp. Even if you only know the month, season, or year, try to record whatever you know so that future generations will have a general idea of the timeline.
  4. Consider using the scrapbook as a way to communicate things that are important to you. With photos, words, and special notes, you can communicate the things that matter most to you with anyone viewing the book in the present or future.
  5. Completed is much better than perfect. One of the biggest hang-ups that keep families I work with from creating scrapbooks is the desire for perfection. The truth is we are capturing the imperfect smiles of imperfect people in an imperfect world. A completed album that can be enjoyed is far better than nothing at all.