I can just feel it….THIS is going to be the year that you get your images off the hard drive and into your hands! THIS is the year of printing your photos!
I can honestly say that the photo albums in my house are my most prized possessions, and I would grab them first if my house was on fire (some of my clients have said the same thing!) Few things bring me as much joy as flipping through pages of happy memories.
Did you know that the average lifespan of a hard drive is only about four years? Terrifying, right? What would happen to your images if your computer crashed tomorrow? Or if that cloud backup you thought was a safe bet just happened to lose your images? Believe it or not, it’s happened before.
Is printing your photos one of your 2018 resolutions? Having created dozens of personal photo albums and so many prints that I ran out of wall space in our apartment, I have a few tips for you to make it happen!
1) Overwhelmed? Start with just one or two photos.
I’m usually an all-or-nothing person, so I know how tempting it is to wait to print until you have ALL of your images organized and ready to go. But why not start with baby steps? Pick the photo that always makes you smile (there’s a good chance it’s the one on your phone’s lock screen) and print a 16×20 to hang on your wall. If you don’t know what color frame you need, try printing a gallery wrap canvas instead — no frame required!
Seeing your favorite image on the wall every day just might inspire you to print more of your images after that!
2) Not all printers are created equal.
I’ve created test prints with dozens of print labs, and I always come back to my favorite: Mpix. They’re the consumer division of my professional lab, and I’ve been sending my clients to Mpix for the last 10 years. Their prints are only a tiny bit more expensive than drugstore labs (24¢ per image), but I think the difference in quality is well worth it. (and whatever you do…don’t use that company that rhymes with Butterfly 😉
I offer complimentary uploading to Mpix for all KLP clients. If I’ve photographed a session for you in the past and you haven’t gotten around to printing your images yet, just shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to upload them for you!
3) Done is better than perfect.
As an ever-struggling perfectionist, I can promise you that you’ll be OK if your book isn’t 100% “right.” You’ll be SO PROUD of that book, and it will be a huge weight off your shoulders to know that your memories are safely off the hard drive. Personally, I’ll take an imperfect photo book ANY DAY over a folder of digital files.
4) No time to create a photo book? Check out Chatbooks.
Chatbooks is a subscription service that hooks up to your Instagram feed and automatically delivers a printed book after you’ve uploaded 60 images. It’s only $10, captions are included, and you don’t have to think about it at all. Also, their ads are hilarious.
5) If you want to create a huge photo book, check out Blurb.
When my husband and I travel, I create these really high-quality fine art coffee table books through my professional lab (the same ones I’m proud to offer my clients). But I don’t always have my “big camera” with me for the little everyday moments I want to remember, like date night or walks through the park. So every year, I take thousands of images with my cell phone…and all those images would never fit into the page limits of the high-end coffee table books (or my printing budget, for that matter).
For these yearly photo books of everyday moments, my favorite printer is Blurb (affiliate link). You can make books that include as many as 440 pages, so you don’t have to eliminate any of your favorite pictures. The printing quality is pretty decent, too! (Tip: they run pretty great sales several times a year, so it’s worth signing up for their newsletter!) While you’re at it, print a few extra copies for family members so you can knock out your holiday gifts at the same time.
6) Organize your photos into monthly folders.
I sort my personal images into folders by year, then by month. When it comes time to design my yearly photo book, this makes it super easy to pop the images into the book. I label the start of each month in the photo book to provide context to the images (because I usually don’t take the time to caption anything). Your computer can easily sort your images by date to make it easier to put them into monthly folders.
7) Write it on your calendar.
Set yourself a date at the beginning of every month to sort through your images from last month. If you commit to organizing as you go, printing will be so much less overwhelming at the end of the year.
8) Consolidate your image files to one location.
You might have images all over the place — on memory cards, your phone, iPad, computer, Google Photos, etc. Download those images to the same location so that you can sort through them easily and avoid duplicates and missing photos.
All of my images are stored on my laptop, which is my “home base.” My entire laptop is backed up to Dropbox (all 4TB!), which syncs my files over wifi so they’re automatically backed up at all times. I also keep a manual backup on hard drives, which I store at my office (I like to use different locations for storage so that I have a safe copy in case of fire). These hard drives are also backed up (manually) and I replace them every 3-4 years to prevent failure. These are the drives I use and recommend after doing quite a bit of research (affiliate link).
9) Need a few quick, hassle-free 4×6 prints?
If you need a last-minute photo gift or want to quickly swap out that family photo on your desk, I’m a big fan of those big yellow Kodak kiosks in CVS and Target. The quality is nothing stellar, but it’s a lot better than the 1-hour photo labs because the machines are more consistently calibrated.
10) If all else fails…hire someone to do it for you.
In my search for photo book design ideas, I came across several people who design photo books professionally. They’ll scan your child’s drawings, organize and edit your images, and arrange them into beautiful family heirloom albums. (Here’s one example of this type of service.)