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PTOW: Making a Year-End album more manageable

January 18, 2012


How to make the huge task of making a year end photo album more manageable!

This is the time of year when I start to think: “I REALLY should make a photo album for last year…”

But I never get around to it because it feels like such a daunting task!

A couple of times I have sat down to pick out pictures, but again, it becomes overwhelming and I end up not getting very far.

So this year, I am trying a few different tactics.

1) I am making a collection SET in Lightroom for my year end albums, and then collections within that for each month and significant event.

As you can see below, I haven’t finished yet, but in just a couple of days, I am up to Halloween!  For some reason, it just makes things stay much more organized in my mind if I am picking pictures by date.

Part of what makes this so easy, is the way I organize all of my pictures…which is also by date.  This way I can always find what I’ looking for very easily.

It is important to note that when I import pictures into Lightroom, I do NOT let Lightroom automatically arrange my pictures by date.  When it does, it organizes them by each individual day, which is not as useful for me.  Instead, I make a new folder with the date and then title of the event.  You can see what I mean below:

A couple of tips for this method:

My first level of organization is year.  So within the Pictures folder, I have a folder for each YEAR.

Then within each YEAR’s folder, I have a folder for each event.  When I name a folder, I start with the year, then the month (2 digits! otherwise they will be listed out of order) and then day and name of event.

Also, I keep a folder for each month labeled “kids” where I put misc pictures that I’ve taken of either my or my friend’s little ones, as well as a generic month folder labeled just with the year and month for misc pictures I take for fun.  Lastly, I keep a Misc folder for the year (2012 Misc) for other screen shots or pictures that I’m not sure where to file.

All in all, this makes finding pictures a snap!

Ok, back to my album of the year plan.  Since I keep my pictures organized by date as above, it is pretty easy for me to go to each folder, pick out which pictures I like best, and move them into a collection for that month.  My plan is to make a photo album that has 1-2 pages per month and per significant event like birthdays or vacations.

Ok, so for my second tactic for tackling albums:

2) I am making my pages in photoshop as JPG files, and then I will use an online album site to publish each JPG file as a page.  To do this of course, you need to make sure that whatever site you use has an option to put one JPG picture as a full bleed for the whole page in the album.

Some advantages to this method are that

1) you don’t have to spend time uploading all of your pictures to a particular site and

2) You are not limited by an internet connection/server to make your album.  You can make it in the comfort and speed of your own hard drive and CPU and then upload your finished pages.

There are several programs out there that you can buy and download to your computer to make photobook pages, and then upload your pages as I mentioned before.  But most of the ones that I found are in the $150-400 range which I did not want to spend.

So instead, I found some digital templates for photobook pages to use in photoshop and downloaded those.  I looked around for a bit, and ended up buying from The Album Cafe:

Where you can buy and immediately download entire album templates.  Most of these are geared towards professional photographers who need to make albums for weddings, or senior photos etc, but I found that I like their templates and you can edit them as much as you want!

So I downloaded the soft and sweet collection

and have been making more and more templates out of those.  It has been working great so far!

If you are relatively savvy with photoshop, you can look online at other photobook layouts that you like, and edit a template that you download to match that!

Well – that’s my tip for this week (and I guess the last several weeks since it’s been a while since I have put one up!).

Hope it motivates some of you to make your own album and take advantage of many of the January sales the photo sites are having!

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