Sunday, February 3, 2013

Photo Bomb

One of my resolutions for this year is to organize photos and get a system going so that I can stay on top of it.

I've done okay so far.  (By "so far," I mean since Zuzu was born.  We kind of stopped taking photos all together for most of 2011 so there wasn't much to organize there...).  Now iPhoto does a lot of the organizing on its own, but there's still the matter of deciding what to print, what to put in albums, and what to frame.  We take snapshots almost every day and it can feel a little overwhelming.

Overwhelmingly cute, that is.
Here are some of the ways I'm organizing photos, and some of the things I'm considering...

I love me some Instagram, and some of my favorite pictures of Zuzu (and Coop, Mac, and David) are uploaded and fancy-filtered and shared on IG (if the photos in this blog post look familiar it's probably because you follow me on Instagram).  A few months ago, a friend told me about a free promotional code to get a photobook of IG photos made and printed by Blurb.  I got a small book, 7x7", with a soft cover, and paid $8 for shipping.  Those photos cover the first two months of Zuzu and the photo book is so sweet.

Wittle bitty baby.
Because I like being consistent, and because I like tangible pictures of digital photos, I went ahead and ordered another book to take us from September to December of 2012.  I'd like to continue this tradition and order a Blurb instagram book every 6 months.  I won't include every single photo I post on IG, but it's a nice way to collect our favorites.

Yes, this is a favorite. Our little hoot-owl.
I also ordered a few IG photos printed in 3x3" squares from Kanvess.  These prints are cute as heck and I'm using them for a couple of little projects I have in mind.  They'd be darling in little frames, but they are also pretty darn adorable just stuck on the fridge.  At 25 cents a piece, they can also be tucked into thank you notes or turned into gift tags (and shipping is reasonable--I think it was $1.75 to ship my small order).

You wouldn't know she wasn't interested in people food by the look of her...
As for other prints, I'm trying to be consistent about uploading them to Shutterfly because that's where I've always gotten our photos printed, but I also use Mpix for ordering larger prints or prints I know I'm going to frame.  Mpix is located in Pittsburg, Kansas, which is close to my hometown, so I am partial to them for that reason alone.  But I also love their super quick service and the quality of their prints is noticeably nice, even to an untrained eye like mine.  They just feel like better pictures.  I especially love their wallet sized photos, which are already scored so you just pop them apart.  What I don't love is paying $7.99 for shipping (it's a flat rate for priority shipping, no matter how much or how little you order).  Packages do arrive very quickly (especially compared to Shutterfly, which I feel can take a while) but I always save up for a large order so I don't have to pay that shipping rate very often.  Also, they won't store your pictures--everything is deleted after 60 days unless you place another order.  This isn't really a big deal to me, but I do like how Shutterfly lets you keep all your albums indefinitely.

coffee date with Daddy, Sophie, and Baby Vicky
Shortly after Zuzu was born, I picked up a pink photo album at Kohl's because we were ordering pictures like crazy and I wanted somewhere to put them.  It has a basic cloth cover, pages hold 3 4x6 photos, and there's a small space to write next to the pictures.  The binding has already come loose.  I didn't love the photo album anyway, but I wanted to be sure I was keeping photos organized and actually in an album.  Going forward, what I really want is to find a consistent system that I can continue to use for many years.  Realistically speaking, I know I'm not going to be a scrapbooker.  I love paper and I love photos, so you'd think it would be something I would like, but I find the idea of scrapbooking to be stressful (for some reason, I cannot turn off my perfectionist tendencies in that area), far too time-consuming, and would quickly get more expensive than I'd like (I find scrapbooking accessories nearly irresistible at times, and I don't even scrapbook!).

Pretty in pink
I've considered the Project Life binder because this seems like a low-key way for me to do some scrapbook stuff--it's mostly just sticking photos in pockets, but there's optional cards that can be filled out and displayed in pockets as well.  (Michael's has its own version of this as well).  The best thing about this (in my uninformed opinion) is that you can display photos of different sizes (eventually I imagine I'll switch out some 5x7s that are currently framed, and I'd love to be able to put them in an album).  And you can write as much or as little as you'd like, if you want to caption or detail an event.  One downside is that the books are HUGE -- as I discovered whilte browsing at Michael's, 12x12 is gianormous when you're talking about a D-ring 3-ring binder.

First beer with Uncle Bubs.  Look how stoked she is.
I've also considered doing scrapbooks without scrapbooking--just sticking the pictures on the page, no cute paper, minimal writing.  I like the flexibility of this idea, and the possibility of including stuff besides photos (Christmas cards and party invitations, for example).  But I actually don't think I want my photos permanently affixed to the page.

Zuzu Petals
Similarly, although I love making photobooks on Shutterfly, I prefer to make those for special occasions--we've done one for our major vacation each year for a while now--rather than trying to make one huge one that would serve as our photo album for the year.

our little punkin
I'm leaning toward following the example of a friend and investing in Kolo photo albums.  The downside is the expense, but I figure they are ultimately less expensive than or at least comparable to scrapbooking.  The pocket photo albums I looked at when I was at Michael's were about $30, so Kolo is pricier than that, but I really like the quality and consistency, and the fact that they come in sizes that will fit an ordinary bookshelf.  I like coffee-table-sized photo albums in theory (I have one full of photos from our wedding reception) but I'm not sure I want to invest in a stack of them, you know?  With these albums, I'd have the option of switching colors, but (assuming they aren't rapidly discontinuing products) I'd get to invest in nice matching albums to fill my bookshelves.  The only reason I haven't done it yet is that as far as I can tell, they are all sized for 4x6 photos, and that doesn't solve my 5x7 + Christmas cards + birthday invitation problem.  Ideally, I'd like to keep all of those things together in one album.  I may just have to settle for a plastic sleeve I can affix to the inside of the back cover to hold such odds and ends...  (Surely the scrapbooking section would have something like that, right?)

tummy time with Cooper
So that's where I am on photo organization. I'd love to hear how you keep your photos organized, where you think the best place is to buy prints, what kinds of albums or scrapbooks you use, or even how you keep things organized on your computer...  Are you vigilant about updating albums monthly?  Do you just keep everything digital and not bother to print?  Do you do mass purchases a couple times a year?  Does it bother you not to have matching albums?

I defy you not to smile at this face.
Oh... maybe I should also say that I have no affiliation whatsoever with any of the companies or products mentioned and/or linked.  They have no idea who I am (but I would totally and unabashedly take their free stuff if they offered it.  I'm just sayin'.).


  1. She's so cute.

    I just ordered a freebie book through shutterfly and it's so cute. I do it whenever they have a promo, but always find I'm scrambling to get this stuff done. I was doing really really well with it for a while and making sure there was a Blurb book for Grace in the appropriate order, but that got super over wheming and I have so much catching up to do.

    I hear you on wanting the matching books- that's why I started with Blurb- because that's what I did for my DIY wedding album! :)

  2. Did you get my email? Although, you sound like you're doing way better than I am :)

  3. I also am always in the paper vs. digital dilemma. This is what I've done:

    Love iPhoto! But I worry about my computer crashing or something, so I store absolutely all of my pictures on Shutterfly for the free storage. I then order a photo book every 3-4 months of my favorites. And my daughter LOVES to look through them - and they are inexpensive enough that I don't care if she gets them a little smudged or ripped because at some point later I can always reprint them.

    I also though don't know what to do with my 5x7s or random 4x6s I've printed. Hmmm

  4. Wow.. What a research!
    I found this websit where you can log your baby's milestones. They also have a neat feature of making a book out of it. I loved this idea. Its around 25-35 $ and you can add pictures, health records, events, anecdotes etc. its called

  5. Scrapbooking is overwhelming and I haven't done it in almost two years. I was working on my West Point album the night that Miles called and told me Daren was killed. Haven't touched it since.

    Wow, sorry for the downer.

    But I do intend to do a few more scrapbooks - finish the West Point one, make one for Cale, Finn's first year (probably the only scrapbook I'll make for him - the rest will be just photo books like some of what you've mentioned), and a wedding album.

    For organization I just download all the pictures into folders for each month. Then pick and choose from there for which ones I want to share or use for other projects and such.

    It's sure great, but also overwhelming and stressful living in the camera happy digital world we do!

  6. This is a topic near & dear to my heart and I can't resist de-lurking from the shadows to comment. I used the same photo album/3-ring binder (came with 4.6 pocket pages, but you could buy other sizes) for years & years. And of course they don't make them anymore. :p I have a couple in reserve... and while I used to be really, really good about labelling my photos & putting them in albums, I am currently about (gulp) 10 years behind. The best-laid plans, etc. etc. But the envelopes the prints are stored in are labelled & in date order. ; )

    I have still been printing ALL my photos -- although I am thinking I may quit doing that this year & do an annual photobook of favourites instead. I am somewhat paranoid about losing photos. I download my photos onto my laptop as soon as I can after they are taken, but I wait until I have about 500 photos on my memory card before I take them in for prints & a backup CD. I backup my laptop (including the photo files) a couple of times a year, and I also make backup CDs of my photos for my mom (offsite storage, lol). I have a couple of photo cards that I rotate, and I don't clear the photos from them until they're going back into the camera. On my PC, they automatically download into folders organized by date -- I put those into photos by month & then by year.

    I was an ardent scrapbooker for about 10 years... did a couple of albums for our nephews & started a wedding/anniversary album for us, among other projects. Then the store I used to shop & crop at closed three years ago & I haven't touched my stuff since then. :p I have a ton of it, so I do need to get back to it, if only to use some more of it up. ; ) I enjoyed it, but I DID find it strangely stressful sometimes. Part of that, though, I think, was that none of my friends were into scrapbooking (initially, anyway) so I used to attend crops by myself... and as a childless woman I often felt quite out of place among the moms & grandmas talking nonstop about their kids.