Making Photo Books from Old Images

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‘Family Ties’ was a gift for siblings & parents in South Africa, using a number of old photos from our archives that I had collated and digitised during my first trip last year.

The cover images were taken last year when we were looking at photos on my laptop. They speak of ‘togetherness’ – identifying relatives and laughing about old times – and are a reminder of the importance of old family photographs for future generations. Now they have a family album to look at, instead of hunching over a screen!

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Screen shot from my Snapfish book layout

I had carefully chosen images to represent:

  • Grandparents and extended family
  • Parents at various stages (child, youth, adult, current)
  • Siblings and children (including my own family) at various ages and stages
  • New family members by marriage
  • Memorable events

See my post on collating images.

Choosing a Photo-Book provider:

  • My usual printer, who does amazing art prints for me does not produce photo-books, so I couldn’t go local
  • I asked around friends and looked at some of their Photo-Books
  • Online research confirmed Snapfish would work for me (there are several Photo-Book publishers depending on which country you live in)
  • During the production of each of my books I learned a few things along the way
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Screen shot from my Snapfish account of some of the pages

Of note:

  • 20 to 40 pages is a respectable size for a Photo-Book, any larger becomes overwhelming for others to look through
  • 8 x 11 inch Landscape size worked well with image layouts
  • Choosing a consistent book size means they all sit together neatly on the bookshelf
  • I’ve trialled images from the following sources: re-photographed, scanned, phone camera and high quality DSLR
  •  Be sure to upload at the highest quality – the default setting may be a lower quality for speed
  • Uploading is tedious – so I do a few at a time and go off and do other tasks while it  takes its time
  • I used a double page spread for each of the above groupings
  • I was initially tempted to convert all of the photos to black and white so the book ‘looked’ good but that would mean losing some of the colour and character of the clashing 70’s and 80’s!!
  • Since the black and white digitised images all came from different sources, they had a variety of tones. Using the same Snapfish B&W filter meant at least there was some consistency between them in the album

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  • Working with different orientations e.g. portrait and landscape, plus different aspect ratios e.g square or 2 x 3 is rather challenging. I used the simplest layout possible for each page and sometimes had to adjust edges for fit or choose a different image.
  • Working with text was a challenge (more about this in another post).  So I kept wording to a minimum in this album and left white spaces for extra handwritten notes if needed later on.

Now some of those old images tucked away in boxes are easily accessible for the whole family to enjoy!

Next post: Managing all the images of my children growing up

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