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2009 & 2010 Family Album | Blurb Books

If you follow me over on facebook, you know just how long this project took. I worked FOREVER on it. Meet my Blurb Book. Our first family album. It took 18 nights. At least 4 hours a night. But I will say…a lot of that is because many of the images inside were not edited, so I know I went through hundreds in photoshop. Not to mention, I decided this was perfect motivation to organize my HD month by month, so I cleared out every single junk image on my computer in the process. Next year this will be CAKE! But this year is was a process. I am so happy with the result. & it was so easy. I encourage every single one of you, even if you shoot your family with a point and shoot, to take time to make one. There is nothing like leafing through a yearly family album. If your images stay on the computer, your kids will never get to. So get them off!!! :)

This is the Standard Landscape layout. I chose it because I shoot a lot of landscape images & I like how it feels more than a portrait orientation book. It is somewhere around 320 pages. I am pretty sure…I know there were 980 images. I combined a bit of 2009, from when caroline was born through this year & will begin to do then yearly from now on. I am impressed with the quality for the price. It is defintely not professional quality, but it is pretty good for a price of $85. BUT…I bought a groupon months ago that brought it down to a total of $50. :) Yea!

I downloaded BookSmart on my computer (from their website) and worked on this, night after night, without having to go online. They have pre-made layouts that make it easy. I made a couple of my own that are similar to my client layouts, but I like to keep it really simple. These books are about the images not the book design. As you can see above, I even included a couple pages each month that included the point&shoot images I have from that time. I haven’t touched my p&s for months & don’t plan to, but you can see what a p&s page can look like up above, in the lower left corner. 

Each album will end with the family Christmas Card. But I am so thrilled with how it turned out! caroline absolutely loves flipping through it. Starting next year, I will be purchasing two albums. One to keep perfect & another to let her flip through as she pleases. That way I don’t have to worry. Every Grandma got their own book too. :)

& as for my process–since some of you asked–I will share. NOTE: THIS IS NOT WHAT I DO WITH CLIENT IMAGES. This is ONLY how I manage personal images.

  1. insert card to computer.
  2. rate images in bridge. I only use 1 & 2 during this step. (1 star=delete, 2 star=keep, 3 star=edited copy)
  3. 2 star rated images, get allocated to proper folder on the HD for pending editing
  4. delete images off card by formatting. immediately.
  5. edit images. rate at 3 stars. allocate to EDITED folder.
  6. images of caroline are named with the prefix “5months_CAP_[insert title here].jpg” This way when I pull up the folder of her images they are in order by age, for that year.
  7. I do keep 3 star RAW files justincase. :)

That’s all! I STRONGLY encourage you to get going on your family books. You will feel about 20lbs lighter when you start getting your images printed. This is ONE place where I will encourage the use of paper!!! :D

OOh. & if you happen to have an awesome system to organize your image files–would you share? I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to learn! I think this is only a temporary system born out of necessity. But it needs a lot of improvement for me to call it “the one.”

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  • Kim - My niece is sooo stinkin’ cute! Can’t wait to flip through this myself!ReplyCancel

  • Life with Kaishon - Your book is SO gorgeous. I saw it yesterday and I could not get over how lovely it was for that price. WOWZERS! I love that you said everyone should make one…even if they just use a point and shoot. Family is everything.ReplyCancel

  • Janalin - Fabulous work Shawna! You have inspired me to get going on this project that has been on my “to do, but what to do” list for some time now. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Nicole - That turned out amazing!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Tori @ - So…I see the book is called the __ Family….SO did you include images of what you guys did on your own that year? so if you’d gone to the Xmas party, etc would you include those also? or just pics of her and you guys together?
    just curious!

    LOVE IT! Can’t wait to see it in person!!!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Stacy Julian has an amazing class called “Library of Memories” that gives a great overview of how to organize images on many different platforms.
    Right now I organize all of my images in bridge and use a lot of tags. That way if I want to pull up all the images of us at the beach or all the images that illustrate my boys’ brotherly relationship (labeled siblings) I can pull them up easy peasy! Nowading through hundreds (maybe thousands) of images. I am also a ruthless deleter. I pick the absolute best pics from a shoot (not always the best image sometimes a moment that was caught) and delete the rest, WITHOUT remorse! I can’t do anything useful with my images if I have to wade through all the junk to get to the good stuff. I’m slowly wanting to move all my images to lightroom, haha, someday.

    Sorry, long rambling. If you made it this far, I love your album! I’m downright envious. I have “Project Life” albums that I try to slip photos into but I have yet to make a printed yearly album. You’ve inspired me!ReplyCancel

  • Drea - Is your blog thru wordpress? i tried to sign up for blurb and it wont let me import my blog because its…


    • -shawna- - My blog is through Why are you trying to import your blog? To print?ReplyCancel

  • -shawna- - thanks for the comments! &@Tori–it’s everything. :)ReplyCancel

  • Whitney - Thanks for the information, I love the idea! I have downloaded BookSmart and plan to work on my family album on my BART commute to and from work. You are very inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • Marylin - I’m still trying to learn my DSLR and the software that came with it (I’m a newby). I need to figure out the best way to organize my images. Unfortunately I’m not great when it comes to computers so… Anyway, I can’t wait to get going on a project like this once I get settled. I have to hurry because my 21 month old is growing up way too fast!ReplyCancel

  • Marylin - Oops! Also meant to tell you I LOVE IT!ReplyCancel

  • angie - LOVE your Blog! Have you ever made a photo book using iPhoto? What made you decide to go with Blurb?ReplyCancel

    • -shawna- - I haven’t! I had a groupon & had heard great things from photog friends. :)ReplyCancel

  • Paul Salmon - I just signed up with Blurb, and will be looking at creating my first photo album book.

    At the moment, I have tens of thousands of digital photos since 2002 that I have organized.

    Here is my workflow:

    1. I copy the images from my camera to my external hard drive. I organize my photos by the year -> event.

    2. I backup my photos both to an online backup provider and to another portable, external hard drive. Making multiple copies of my files is extremely important.

    3. I use ACDSee for organizing my photos. I tag them with the person, place, and (if necessary) event. I don’t rename any photo, as I use ACDSee to locate any photo that I would need for a person or event.

    4. All my photo editing is done in Lightroom, where I can make non-destructive edits to my photos. I think Lightroom 4 can work directly with Blurb.

    Out of my entire workflow, the backup portion is probably the most important because if I lose my photos, I can’t retake the picture.ReplyCancel

  • Jane - Hey I was wondering what type of paper you used in this book? Have you yet tried the proline pearl paper?

    Love this book and your blog!!!!


  • Jenna Wertz - Anyone made a blog to book? I know blurb does it. My plan starting next year is to keep up with blogging all of the major family events/milestones and then printing my blog on blurb at the end of the year. The thought seems a lot less overwhelming than the yearly album to me. Two birds with one stone! Has anyone tried this?ReplyCancel

  • An! - Hey Shawna! Id like to know how did you happen to arrange the pics, was it in a chronological order?ReplyCancel

  • Jen - What fonts did you use? I’m currently doing a Blurb Booksmart book for 2012 and it is looking a little plain. :) THanks!! Great book!ReplyCancel

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