Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Photography part 2 - do something with your pictures

I'm a firm believer in getting pictures off your hard drive and into some other format.  Social media doesn't really count (even though I do that too - Facebook and Instagram mainly).  Our main "art" are framed or canvased pictures in multiple places around the house.

My office:
Our main living room:
Although I am in the process of redoing that wall collage
These have been updated but the picture on the blog has not...
The kitchen:

The bathroom:

The bottom of the stairs:
old bathroom lurking right outside this shot

Our bedroom:

As well as more through out the house. A lot of these pictures stay the same for years at a time, mostly all the vacation ones.  I have family and Luke pictures in a few places that I update about every 6 months. 

This is all well and good.  I order pictures every 3ish months for various reasons and it's not hard to add a few family and Luke shots when I have the right coupon codes (and it's easy to find them thanks to my super tagging system).  Every though I'm with Luke most of his waking hours, I still like to have pictures of him throughout the house.  We might be a little addicted to the cuteness of our kid.

Besides framing pictures, I've recently become a photobook convert.  For years I scrapbooked.  I have 23 books covering our engagement through 2013.  23 books.  One for each calendar year, each vacation, and our wedding.  I also have books for high school and college.  I liked scrapbooking because:

1) my aunt funded this hobby for years
2) It was something to do with pictures besides just sticking them in an album
3) I could put other things in my books like wedding invites, programs, etc.

I was really behind for years but in 2010, motivated with the thought of a potential kid, I cranked out a book a month.  After that marathon catch-up, I kept pretty current, even finishing the book for our California vacation less than 4 weeks after getting home.

It got harder to keep up once we got Luke.  If I was on a roll I could do a page in 15 minutes.  I wasn't always on a roll.  Sometimes it took longer and my pages weren't anything elaborate.  There is also the issue of space.  My scrapbooks are huge.  The largest (2013) tops out at 116 pages and 513 pictures.  Storage became an issue.  There are just 7 of my 23 books - 5 vacations and 2 years (2012 & 2013):

The other 16 books covering our life together are in the baskets under my window seat:
The year ones are bulky and, honestly, can be hard to look at due to their size.  Plus, I wasn't always very good about editing down the pictures to include so there is a lot of bulk to them (23 books, over 1,350 pages and 5,800 pictures...there's a lot there).

So, about a year ago I started looking at switching to photobooks.  I knew space, time, and money could be saved.  I'd estimate that my scrapbooks cost around $75 each, between buying a book, refill pages, glue sticks, photo corners, paper, and printing pictures.  Plus the aforementioned size and time issues. 

Switching turned out to be a good decision.  I use My Publisher and have their software downloaded onto my computer.  I set-up a recurring task on my phone so every Wednesday I update the books, if needed.  My Publisher maxes out at 100 pages which gives me about 8 a month.  Like with the budget and allowances, it's nice to have constraints because it forces me to choose the best and not dedicate too many pages to any single event. 

I say "books" because I do keep up multiple at a time.  Growing up, my Mom kept separate photo albums for each of my sisters and me, as well as ones for her and Dad.  (When we were older we helped too and added our own pictures.)  This means I moved out with a pretty complete set of photos from my childhood.  It's pretty awesome to have hundreds of those pictures here, even with dates and captions on the early ones!!  Having that myself, made me want to do the same for our kids so I plan to make a books for each kid for each year of their life.  So far I've obviously only done Luke's.  On Wednesdays I'll update mine and Matt's book and then update Luke's.  A lot of the pictures are the same but there are things without Luke I'll put in our book and then stretch some events in Luke's life to cover more pages.  I like knowing he should move out with pictures from his whole childhood too.

Now, keeping up 2 books sounds time consuming but it really isn't.  Other than vacations and when I'm doing final edits, I usually only spend about 10-15 minutes on the books a week, if that.  Some weeks I don't do anything because there was nothing noteworthy enough to get it's own page (remember, only about 8 a month).  I end each month with a page of random Luke pictures.  Our book also has a page of random pictures for each month (like sunrises or sunsets from home, flowers, small events with just one picture).  If I sat down and did the books all at once it would take a few hours each (more in the beginning with the learning curve of the software and layouts) but I prefer to do it bits at a time so it never becomes an overwhelming job (my motto for pretty much every kind of work).

So, time saved, what about space and money?

Oh much space saved.  I just ordered our 2014 book this week but Luke's 1st year book is almost the same size.  Here it is compared to my 2013 scrapbook:

See that tiny little book up there?  The photobook even holds more pictures, somewhere over 600 compared to 500 some in the scrapbook.

So. Much. Space. Saved.

Here's vacation books compared.  Our Michigan vacation last summer (photobook) with our Tennessee vacation in 2013 (scrapbook):

 And that's one of my smaller vacation scrapbooks...

Even two photobooks don't compare to one of my smaller scrapbook:

 And a year's worth of trips & life in photobook format vs. scrapbooks:

Yes. HUGE space saver.  HUGE.  And the photobooks are much easier to look at since they are so much smaller.  And I can fit in just as many, if not more, pictures.

So time and space saved.  The last  Yes.  These even save money.  I estimate that my scrapbooks costs at least $75 each.  I can do these photobooks for less, even with an upgrade, thanks to sales.  My Publisher always has some sort of sale going but I watch for the "all your extra pages for free" one.  A standard book is 20 pages (I think).  The annual books for us and Luke end up being around 100 pages.  Getting all the extra pages for free makes a huge difference. 

This is the most expensive book I've bought, partially because of the "lay flat" upgrade.  Luke's book was around $45.  Same with our vacation book.  Since that one wasn't near 100 pages I did a different sale with included the "lay flat" upgrade and really preferred it so it's worth the additional $13 + tax to us for this book.  Even though it's just a small financial savings, the time, convenience, and space savings make this switch a no brainer for us.  Only $63 to print and share a year's worth of pictures?  That's $5/month.  Who doesn't have an extra $5 a month? 

One of the reasons I resisted switching to photobooks sooner is because I liked being able to include all that other "stuff" like wedding invites, tickets, brochures from vacations, etc.  And I do miss that at times.  It was nice to have most of that all in one place.  My solution to that was to make the file boxes and that has worked fine.  One file book + photobooks for a decade will be much smaller than the 23 scrapbooks that document the first 8ish years of our lives together. 

So, besides organizing your digital photo copies, I highly encourage you to get them off in your computer is some other format.  Luke likes looking at the books.  I do too.  They are easy to share with others.  Someday your kids will thank you for it.

What do you do?  Scrapbook?  Photobook? Photo albums? Nothing? (Don't answer nothing!)

Note: As much as I wish My Publisher would give me a free photobook, this post is in no way sponsored.  There are plenty of other companies that you make photobooks through, this is just the only one I have experience with.  

No comments: