Annual Photo Albums Made Easy: Starting the Family Blog
With everything we have to do on a daily basis, family photo albums sometimes get shoved aside for a while. And by a while, I mean years at a time. With our smartphones and cameras constantly on hand, we also have more photos to sort through than ever before.
When my daughter was born, I had several goals for our family photos:
- Capture and retain the milestones and “baby book” moments.
- Share some of our day-to-day life (good and bad) so my daughter, when older, would not only know the real flavor of what life was like, but also so she would know when she has her own kids that her mom didn’t have things figured out, either.
- Have an easy way to keep family across the country updated.
- Keep up with my family photo album throughout the year rather than scrambling in December.
Building a family blog accomplished all of these goals. I was able to create a site that I shared with our family and friends where I wrote stories and uploaded photos each week and that captured those big moments. My daughter will get to see when she spoke her first word and also see just how many antics we went through to get her to sleep for more than twenty minutes at a stretch.
There are a number of free platforms where you can build a blog such as WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, and LiveJournal. Each of these sites provides the same basic functionalities and makes it easy to build your own site. You do not have to be tech savvy.
Privacy was a big concern for me, and it is something to consider when exploring the settings for the platform you choose. For my site, I was able to do two things:
- Set my blog as private so I could choose who was allowed access.
- Set certain posts as private as well.
Why private posts in addition to the non-public blog? I had a few friends who didn’t want their children appearing online visible to people they didn’t know, even if the audience was just our family and friends. But I still wanted to be able to include those photos in our family album, so I kept those posts private. I also used that function for events that weren’t of interest to the kids’ grandparents, like parents' outings.
Every six months to a year, depending upon how much I had been posting, I printed our blog into a book. There are a growing number of programs to do this including Blurb and Blog2Print. They provide general book formats. You select a date range of posts to include, and then you can customize the layouts for each page, depending on how much time you want to put into it.
Here are a couple things to note:
- Make sure you are saving your photo files on your computer until your book is printed. When you transfer the content from the blog into the book, many photo files will not have good enough resolution to print in a larger size. You will want to make sure you have the originals available to upload if needed.
- You can print multiple copies. For each of my kids, I printed a duplicate copy of the album from their first year to have as their baby book.
It's that easy! Have you created family albums from your blog? Share your tips!