Congratulations to Jenn, our Fan of the Month for February! Jenn recently finished her latest year in review photo book highlighting her favorite moments from last year. Get inspired by Jenn's great tips on how to plan and organize your own family photo album:
Mixbook: What inspired you to create your family photo album(s)? Jenn: My family has always been very good about collecting lots of photographs into photo albums. I remember thumbing through all the photo albums that my grandmother made of my mother's childhood and loving seeing what my mother looked like before I knew her. And my brother and I would always pull our baby photo books off the shelves and lay down on the floor and pour over the pages. When I became a mother, I was certain I wanted to be able to hold on to that tradition and create something to keep the memories tangible for my boys.
M: How did you format your yearly photo books? What was the process like and how did you decide on which photos to use? J: I choose to start my books from a Blank Canvas. This allows me optimal customization for each page. My first step to creating a yearly photo album is to import ALL my images. Mixbook makes this extremely easy for me as I hold all of my images in online photo albums through one of the MANY different companies that integrates easily with Mixbook. Once I have my images, I open 100 blank pages and start writing my plan for pages in large text on each page, starting with events that happened in January and go chronologically. For example, I'll write "NEW YEARS DAY," "VALENTINES DAY," "SPRING CONCERT," etc… Once I have an outline like this, I will go through my images (which Mixbook allows to sort by date) and pull all the images that I might use for that page and "dump" them on the page. I do this for every page.
Once I have all of the images on all of the pages, I go back to the beginning and begin arranging the images the way I'd like them on the page. This is when I'll import a theme if I want to check for themed backgrounds or stickers to enhance my pages.
I choose a Mixbook layout that I like and make any adjustments to it until it feels like it has the design elements I envision for the page. And I'm done!
Sometimes I will prefer to start a page from blank and place the images on the pages without a layout from Mixbook. This is one of my very favorite things about using Mixbook -- I can start from something blank and achieve exactly the look I want!
What's your favorite two-page spread in your project? In my 2012 Mixbook (2013 is still in process) my favorite spreads are - BWI Airplane Tour, Carwash, Outerbanks 1, and the Favorite Things pages.
M: Any tips for users? J: One of the fun things about Mixbook is the ability to SHARE your books if you choose to. I have a group of girlfriends who also like to make photo books for their families and we share our templates. Once I have finished a year, I can give permission to my friends who can then download the entire book's template to use for themselves without my images in it. Since we share similar tastes and style, this makes it so much more efficient for all of us to use each other's designs!
Also, TAKE YOUR TIME! A full yearbook is a lot of work. I give myself plenty of liberty to work on it when I have some time here and there and then I won't get bogged down by the weight of getting it all done. Mixbook will save it for you!! No need to rush yourself!
M: Anything else you’d like to add? J: I am a photographer and I often teach photography classes. I bring my Mixbooks with me to show clients and students. I like clients and students to see that in the age of digital images how important it is to have a place for your image files to go. I feel that if photographs are important to you, you'll be more motivated to take more and sometimes even BETTER images if you have a plan for them. If you know you want them to end up in a photo book, you might just take those few extra shots to help tell the stories of your life.
One of my very favorite things about Mixbook is the ability to access my Instagram photos (@robertsonjenn). I am a heavy user of Instagram and it really makes it easy to add all of those iPhone images into the yearbook directly from Instagram!