Halloween/October has so many opportunities for photos:
pumpkin lattes/pies/roasting pumpkin seeds.etc.
jack o’ lanterns
trick or treating
spooky flashlight photos
October skies/ moon
and so much more….
This photo book was made through Paper Coterie, which sadly doesn’t exist anymore. I still wanted to share because it is a great example of using basic blocks of color, Halloween quotes and simple layouts to create a fun book representing October/ Halloween adventures.
How do you capture the essence of a school year? Every year varies. Some years there are lots of projects, sometimes I can take a ton of photos or the teachers take photos, some times there is a plethora of field trips, shows, stuff, etc… Whatever your experience, there is always a story to tell about your child’s school year.
Here are some ideas on what to capture both in photos and/or words to characterize your child’s school year:
the obligatory first day of school photo
the school’s sign
what your child likes in their lunch or what they eat from the cafeteria
new clothes or school styles
new back pack – why did they choose it?
a picture with their teacher
what the inside of the classroom looks like, posters, bins, class library, the backpacks lined up, markers, areas (reading area, make believe area, science area, etc.)
Questions for your child – How old are you?, How tall are you?, Do you like your teacher? What are you excited about the school year? Goals for the year?
the class photo
your child’s professional individual photo
writing samples, stories, answers to questions
what is classroom life like? do they sit groups, facing the board, at a big table, rug time?
are there specialty classes? language? music? technology? library? science?, P.E.?
what is popular at recess? what does your child like to do?
photos of your child working on homework
songs they sing, poems to memorize, etc.
projects, making the project, presenting the project
special days – like pajama day, spirit days, crazy hair days, etc.
sleep away camp
after school classes
self – portrait
rehearsing for a project
examples of tests
performances – a choir concert or a play ( include getting ready -nerves?excitement?)
moments with friends – who are there friends? what do they like to do together?
sports at school
special events, – parent parties, picnics, end of the year party
homework folder, binder, books, pencils, pens, etc.
are they organized? or disorganized?
books read during the school year – reading logs, etc.
What do I do with all those photos of our lives? I make a photo book, of course. “Capture Life” is what I named my Project Life Book for 2012. After years of capturing our daily lives in a scrapbook form, I wanted to switch to a digital version.
I created a digital template and input photos, project life cards, embellishments and journalling in Photoshop. Then I organized my pages to create a book with Blurb in a 12×12 format.
You can find various templates, project life cards and embellishments all over, but my favorites include:
Losing a pet can be overwhelming. After our cat died recently, I felt so lost and alone yet the memories were so vibrant in my mind. I knew I had to find a way to channel the energy into something that would help me overcome the sadness. A photo book allowed me to tell her story in photos and words and start my healing.
I searched my photos on Lightroom using keywords pertaining to my cat and put them all in a “Collection”. I used the Lightroom “Book” mode and created a quick and easy book linked directly to Blurb. The simplicity was just right for this project where I wanted to quickly get my words down. I made a 7″x 7″ soft cover book.
The following are some excerpts of the book:
How she came to be with us.
What she was like as a kitten.
Her relationship with the other animals.
Her relationship with people.
How she played and her favorite toys.
Fun photos and a story about a specific day.
Favorite details – her sounds.
Her physical characteristics.
Her favorite treats.
Her favorite places.
Her impact and what she taught us.
And a good-bye.
We all miss you soo much. We now have this wonderful book to look through and remember all the things we love about you.
For years, I have been taking one week of a year and going in depth with what a week looks like for our family, inspired by Ali Edwards. I usually take a week where I know it will be a fairly ordinary, average week (if that actually exists).
The following are examples of what I photograph and document:
what we are eating for breakfast
what morning hair looks like
the drive to school
what the pets are doing
what each of us is working on
what lunch looks like
what books we are reading
what school looks like
what projects my child is working on at school
what dinner looks like
what the nighttime routine looks like
what tv we are each watching
what shoes we are wearing
what hobbies/projects we are working on
what grocery shopping looks like
what receipts look like
what we are buying
what games we are playing
funny/ interesting facebook posts
what is on our computers
things we like
things we are struggling with
things that are motivating us
outside the window
asking questions of my family – what made you happy today? this week? what made you sad? what was your favorite part of the week? favorite moments?etc…
The list goes on and on. You will be amazed with all the parts that make up your story.
I used Ali Edward 8.5 x 11 templates for my pages. Once I created my digital pages I put them together at Adoramapix. The quality of the book is just incredible – the vibrance of colors and clarity with thick lay flat pages. This is one of my favorite photo book printers! My one and only complaint with the company having very specific page count restriction is now gone, you can choose exactly how many pages work for you (up to 76 pages). This project is so worth it!
With a trip to Hawaii, I wanted to capture, the bright colored flowers, the vibrance of the blue sky and the festive feel so this book was about color. This book measures 8.75 x 11.25 landscape, lay flat pages by My Publisher. The quality of the book and photos is outstanding. I created my pages in Adobe Photoshop using digital patterned paper with color overlays. Each page included a simple tropical border and Ali’s Hand font. Since the pages were bright, if the photos were not full page or very large, I used a black border around the smaller photos to help them stand out on the page.
A little tip: I often pick up artistic postcards on trips and use them for covers or page decoration.
Here are some of the pages from our Hawaii 2011 book:
Title page – Location and dates. The rent-a-car and arriving at the hotel. The view from the room and an activity at the hotel. Details. Water slides and snorkeling. Jacuzzi and antics in the hotel room. A new outfit. A selfie. A loose tooth and stopping at Starbucks. Details at the USS Bowfin museum. The USS Arizona Memorial. A scenic shot and thoughts about witnessing this piece of history. A Luau. More details. Dancing at the luau. Learning the hula and fire dancing. Breakfast. Paddleboarding. Enjoying the beach. Playing. More playing. He lost his first tooth. Thanksgiving dinner. Hawaiian crafts. The Nui (a little luau). Visiting the North Shore. Lunch and stories. Iconic images of the North Shore. Another sunset and details. The Art. Swimming. Leaving and heading home. A collage of all the paraphernalia – tickets, map, postcards, certificates, wristbands, brochures, receipts, etc.
Don’t be afraid to use color, but I did find that the pages with a bit more muted tones worked much better than some of the bright, over powering colors.
A long weekend camping with friends captured in a photo book. I used My Publisher and they are definitely one of my favorite photo book companies. Their lay flat option up to 100 pages allows for more pages than most companies and the quality of their pages is fabulous! My pictures come out the way I intended – clear, vibrant and detailed.
I designed my own pages in Adobe Photoshop for more flexibility.
A couple of details that make a book easy to create:
stories of kids or adults playing – games, adventures
discoveries – footprints, bugs, etc.
the stars and sky
sunrise or sunset
evening around the campfire ( pump up your ISO and turn down your aperture)
maps of the area
the trip home
Here is a sampling of pages from my book:
A title page including the date of our adventure. A quote and the story.The journey there. Waiting for everyone. Learning new games and our boat. Getting seasick and a scenic shot of where we were staying. Details Activities – hiking and swimming What it looked like at night and in the morning. Learning to fish. New friendships.The big hike. Nature details along the hike and the exhaustion from the hike. The map. Napping and Fish. Sunrise. Kayaking and learning knots. The wildlife. What nighttime looks like. Our accommodations. Exploring. The journey home. Seeing whales on the way home and a quote about nature. A summary photo of the trip. The back cover. The spine detailing place and year.
Hope this inspires you to think about another photo book.
I have stuff, and more stuff, too much stuff and I am trying to purge all the STUFF!!! As one who loves to document our lives, I tend to hold onto everything – brochures, cards, receipts, maps, wristbands. You name it, I keep it. But not anymore!!! I have been doing several things to help with my problem. I scan a lot, but I also take photos of the stuff. I find that these photos are great way to represent a trip, or a day at school, or a love story and I often include these photos in my photo books. Once it is scanned or photographed or both, I let it go – Yes, it goes straight into the trash (well, once I have made sure the photo was decent and in focus). I love watching all that stuff just go away!!!!
I layout all the stuff on a poster board on my living room floor. I play around in a collage style for a while until I find the right combination. I get up on my step stool and take a photo from above like this:
Then I crop it.
All these “super student” slips, I really didn’t need to save but I did. Right now I am working on my son’s 2nd grade book and I can actually see this being a page in the book.
These were my son’s valentines from his classmates. (I love the combination of my son’s design on his paper bag to what was hip and cool in 2014 – Minecraft, making your own, Star Wars, science, and the sweetarts and Fun Dip is still just as great as when I was a kid, etc.)
(The first photo was love note cards from my husband from our first year of dating.)
So go do it!!! Take photos, scan, purge!! Let it go!!! It makes you feel really good!!
Disneyland is an annual trip for us, it is our happy place as a family where we let go of electronics, work and focus on being present, laughing and enjoying each other. My goal is to make a photo book every year to celebrate these trips.
Here are some of things I make sure to capture in photos while at Disneyland:
The hotel room
My child’s excitement in line
If I can, the look on my child’s face during the ride ( ex. Small World)
“Selfies” throughout the day
My child wearing ears – the ultimate essence of Disneyland
My child participating in a show (ex. Jedi Training)
Playing with a new toy
I always buy the photos of us on a ride
Details of the Disneyparks (castle, small world ride, the Walt/ Mickey statue)
“Selfies” with 3d glasses
Scores on rides (Toy Story Mania, Astroblasters)
Scenic shots at night with lights (castle, ferris wheel at California Adventure)
Playing in the hotel room at night
Playing in the character’s houses in Toontown
Accomplishing tasks ( ex. at the Redwood Creek Wilderness Explorer Camp at California Adventure)
Playing at the pool
Traditional photos in front of the castle
My child being just tall enough or not tall enough for a ride
Eating meals and meal signs
Mickey shaped food
I also make sure to scan or photograph the following:
Certificates (Jedi Training)
Drawings ( Animation Classes)
My child’s writings about the trip
For this series of books, Blurb was the photo book printer of choice. A “10 x 8 standard landscape” using “standard paper” with the “hardcover image wrap”.
This book I organized chronologically. I usually chose two fonts for my photo books – one for titles and one for the journaling. Any more fonts and it gets too busy. I knew I would be doing a series of these books, so I splurged and bought the Kingdom font for titles and downloaded the Glasket medium font (free) for the journaling. I used Blurb’s simple layouts with a little adaptation here and there and white pages as a base.
Here is sampling of pages from our Disneyland “Summer 2011” photo book:
Capturing the Hotel Room Harry’s favorite ride – Star Tours and him trying on Mickey R2D2 ears Jedi Training and the battleI also scanned the Jedi Training certificate.
The lightsaber he bought and characters in Tomorrowland. A selfie and the Spacemountain ride. A scenic shot at night, a “selfie” with 3d glasses and Toy Story Mania scores. The Build-a-Bear experience. Meet “Disney” ( I know not very original, but he’ll always know where it came from). Harry’s new Build-a-Bear. The hotel room at night, playing light sabers with “Disney”. Character lovin’. Enjoying Minnie’s house with “Disney”. Harry trying to accomplish all the goals to be an official “Wilderness Explorer”. Harry kept enjoying the fact the “Disney” was a camoflauged bear so he would stick it next to anything green and ask ” Mom, can you find Disney?” All the details at the pool at the hotel – scenic, slides, fancy drinks, floating in the water, etc. The traditional photo in front of the castle. Harry finally was tall enough on this trip to ride “Indiana Jones”. Harry tried to teach me how to cross my eyes at the Rainforest Cafe and then we just had to stop at the Lego Store. Another Space Mountain ride shot and the Astroblasters ( I love that you can e-mail it to yourself). Playing at the pool some more. Shots with the Cars characters and still not tall enough for California Screamin’. This trip we bought a book “Disneyland’s Hidden Mickey’s”. There is also an app of the same name. We found several but we could probably spend a lifetime finding them all. These were some of our favorites. No trip is complete without an animation class. Love watching Harry learn to draw and through the years he keeps getting better. Love the photo bomb as we were making our exit. After the trip Harry, was writing a journal, I scanned his journal page and included his version of the trip. More of Harry’s highlights. It is always fun to get everybody’s “favorite” part of the trip and include a little journaling about it. And the back cover.
You may or not be there yet, but Valentines Day is around the corner. This project would be a great gift for your kids, your spouse, your family or just for yourself. I received a $9.99 Shutterfly photo book coupon, so I decided to find a way to spend it. While looking around at the Shutterfly templates, I found this “Happiness is…” Book. It is just my style – simple and uncomplicated.
The page colors offered were muted, so I decided to adjust my photos for a muted or desaturated look to go with the feel of the book. Once I found the photos I wanted to incorporate into the book, I used Photoshop and Totally Rad Actions to give them a bit of a retro/vintage feel. This book worked perfect in the 10×10 style and it was incredibly easy to insert photos, change page colors and add the “happiness is.. words.”
happiness is… our family
happiness is.. a state of mind happiness is.. the journey happiness is… the simple things happiness is… love happiness is… the everyday happiness is… you and me together happiness is …. laughing out loud happiness is… everything about you