I love documenting my family’s everyday, as well as the day to day real moments of the families that hire me.
With each lifestyle session I do, I offer complimentary book design.
To be honest, I have not been as good with making books for my own family. Each year I even make it a goal, but it wasn’t until last year that I really got serious.
I have a process that I use for my clients that I could easily incorporate into my own life for our family photo books. There are three things to think about when creating a book:
- what is the focus of the book
- what to include
- how to put it all together
What will be the focus of the photo book?
You could just shoot and put a bunch of pictures on a few pages and be done or you can make it more meaningful. Just like the pictures you take, you want your books to tell a story regardless of whether it is your own personal book or an album for your clients. Coming up with a purpose makes putting it together much easier.
My client sessions are a bit easier because I only spend an hour or two with them, so the process is less cumbersome. But for my personal books, I have days and months of pictures.
Having so many makes it hard to tell the story. But once I came up with a purpose for my book things got easier. The focus of my personal books is preserving our family’s history. I want to have a book that my girls can look through years from now and see what life was like back then. Your focus can be whatever is meaningful to you. Having a focus helps you to shoot with more intent and purpose, making putting a book together much easier.
Deciding what to include
Now comes the part that you decide what photos will help to tell your story. For me, a list is essential for both personal and client books. Taking pictures on the fly doesn’t work.
With clients, their questionnaire responses help me make a shot list for their session. I make the list purposefully to help tell their story based on mom’s answers, which might include a note about their toddler’s lovey or their five-year-olds toothless grin. I ask specific questions so I am sure to capture those memories that mean the most to mom.
For my personal books, I set some time aside and just write things down I want to remember. I look at pictures from my childhood and see which ones bring back the most memories and I use these pictures as a guideline as to what I want to capture for my books.
My list might include the relationship my girls have with their daddy, our daily routines, their favorite toy, or the mess they leave behind. I know I will constantly be adding to this list as the stages of our lives change, too.
Putting it together
Of the album software that I’ve tried, Fundy Designer is my favorite. While I know Fundy Designer is an investment, it was certainly worth it for me both personally and professionally.
I like the flexibility and quickness the software makes designing the book. The drag and drop function makes making changes a snap. It has an auto design feature that puts the pictures I select in a book layout for me. Normally I only make minor tweaks to it.
The software layout is very user-friendly. I can easily view all my pages at once and switch the order if I need to. Since I add narration to my books, I find their text tool to be easy with all the options to bold, italicize, and change the alignment with just a click. Another feature I love that if my client or I change the size of the book it automatically adjusts the layout to fit the new size. This is a huge time saver.
Using Fundy, I can knock out a client book in less than a half hour. I also like how I can make my personal books and save them to add to throughout the year; when I am ready to add more pictures I just open it up and add more pages. Another plus is Fundy exports directly to my favorite album/photo lab.
In the past I have found Blurb books to be good, especially for my personal ones. Once I started my business and making books for clients I have switched to Miller’s Lab. I love the quality of their books and albums – they are truly stunning. Their fast turnaround and overnight delivery are great, too.
What better way to have your work printed and shared for years to come than with an album?