What do you do with your photos? Do you keep them on your phone, or publish them to Instagram or Facebook, or store them online somewhere? Or print them and display them around your house? Or is it all of the above?
Like so many others, I am…not great with photo organisation. There are just so many. And while, of course, it’s easy to blame technology both for the (slightly overwhelming) amount of photos and for making it harder to sort them out (photos everywhere!) I kind of think it might be a red herring. I distinctly remember that growing up, we had a whole heaps of lovely photo albums, with captions and dates assiduously written in, but we also had more than one large cardboard box filled to the brim with photos that were yet to be organised. I don’t know whether they ever did get organised, or what happened to them if not. I’m too scared to ask. There’s a pretty solid chance they’re still sitting in my parents’ office.
So I guess this is kind of a family failing but there is hope of redemption, and it lies in those photo albums. When I was little, I loved looking through the albums of my childhood (still do, in fact). It didn’t matter to me that a whole heap of photos lay unorganised – the ones that did make it to albums were enough to make me happy. With this in mind, I started creating photobooks for Amelie a couple of years ago. So far, she has five from 2016-2020 – one for every year she’s been alive – and she loves them. She often selects one (or all) of them as her ‘look at book’ for the evening (if she’s not sleepy at her bedtime after stories, she’s allowed to quietly look at books in her bed for half an hour or so).
I use Chatbooks to create the photobooks. I didn’t do any extensive research or anything to choose Chatbooks – they advertised at me a few times and I liked that you could hook it up to Facebook, Instagram and your device’s photos to make the initial import really easy – but I’m kind of wedded to them now because I want all her photobooks to be the same size and design. And that’s totally okay with me! They’re not expensive, the book quality is great (I order the hardcover 6 inch albums), the printing quality is totally fine, and if one ever got wrecked for any reason, I could easily order the same one again.
I’d love to say that I work on each book throughout the year, steadily building a little work of art, but I don’t. Towards the end of the year, around November, I usually start the book for that year, leaving a few spaces towards the end for photos of Christmas decorating and Santa visits. As soon as I’ve got those last few photos in, I order the book. They come from the States so they do take a little while to arrive, but I’ve always received the book in time to make it part of Amelie’s Christmas present…apart from 2020, when the books didn’t make it until January. That happens (all sorts of problems with shipping these days!) and it didn’t dampen Amelie’s excitement at all. On the contrary, it was like we managed to keep Christmas rolling right through into January for her. The excitement of a new photobook to look at also serves as great encouragement to get her to brush her teeth and put her pyjamas on, we’ve found!
If you don’t already create photobooks from your best pictures I really can’t recommend it highly enough. All of us love looking through our photobooks from years past, and if you use Chatbooks or something like it it’s really easy and quick, even for slackers like me. If you do check out Chatbooks, you can also use my code – HAYLEYJUDD-RJRP – for $10 USD off your first purchase (that’s actually like a whole free book if you get one of the cheaper options). I’m obviously a fan of just doing one book a year for the very, very top photos, but they have other cool options like auto-updating series as well! I’d love to do that if I weren’t such a control freak, but you do what you can with what you are, right?!
Anyway, I love all the photos in our Chatbooks, but if I had to choose, here are some of my top favourites…