Baby in the bathtub, giving a pouty face at the camera. She has big round cheeks and a big head full of wet hair.

Tips for Picking Photos for an Album or Book

I’m working on a project. I’m making an album or book for our family for each year, starting with 2020 and working backwards until I get bored. It’s a little overwhelming but I know that 2020 has the most photos of any year in our family’s history, so if I can finish 2020, I can do anything.

If you’re trying to wrap your head around printing your photos into an album or book and don’t know where to start, you’re in luck. I have some tips for you on picking photos for your project.

Picking the best photos for a book or album means telling the story of the little boy playing in water in his driveway while wearing a raincoat and playing with a measuring cup and bucket.

First, it’s important to note that you can make more than one book. You have my permission to not fit every single photo into one book. You can split a year’s worth of photos into 12 books. I’ve even been known to make a book only for a vacation or special event. Whatever helps you simply *start* the project, instead of thinking about it, do that thing.

So, decide on your subject matter. Are you trying to show a period of time in your life (year/month)? Is this a book only covering one particular event, like a birthday, vacation, etc? Is it a baby book? Determine your goal for the book so you can recenter yourself when you get overwhelmed halfway through the project.

If you’re only covering one particular event, that really makes it much easier to narrow down the images. If you’re creating a book about your trip to OBX, then you know you don’t need to include photos of your baby’s first birthday. Unless of course you took a trip to OBX to celebrate your kid’s first birthday. You get what I’m saying though.

Baby in the bathtub, giving a pouty face at the camera. She has big round cheeks and a big head full of wet hair.

Gather your photos into one place. For my 2020 project, I’m grabbing images from both my phone and my camera. My phone photos back up automatically to Google Photos, so I’m grabbing them from Google Photos, and my camera photos all currently live in my editing software. I’m going through both programs and pulling any images that grab my eye, and putting them all into a folder on my desktop. My plan is to go through all of the months and pull my favorites into monthly folders before I begin the next step.

Picking photos for an album or book means picking the best photos that help you tell a story, like this photo of a toddler boy laughing with a blanket fort in the background, standing in his kitchen.

The next step: culling. Right now I’m grabbing any and every photo that I like and putting them into the folders on my desktop. That means that for March 2020, I have more than 250 photos sitting in a folder. I cannot put 250 pictures from March into a book for 2020 and expect anyone to look at it. So, I will go through the folders and remove any duplicates. Then I’ll remove any photos that don’t help me tell the story of that time period. March 2020 was when we all went into isolation halfway through the month, so the first half of the month is a much different story from the second half of the month. I’ll try to convey that story when I pick my photos.

When picking between photos, try to get a variety of emotions. Happy, surprised, sullen, concentrating, grumpy… you get it.

Don’t forget to choose the company that will help you make your book. I’ve used a variety of companies, and I’ve been very happy with Artifact Uprising (#notanad), which I used to make a book about my son’s first year, and will eventually make for my daughter’s first year. (Sorry, second child. I’m behind.) I like Artifact Uprising because you don’t need a special software to help create a book. The quality of their books is top-notch, as well.

For this project though, I’m trying a new (to me) company called Blurb. Blurb requires you to make your book outside its website and then upload the pages. That’s fine for me because I have software that will help me make that easier. You might want to try something simpler for your first book.

There’s also mpix and Shutterfly, which I have used in the past with satisfactory results.

I hope this helps! If you need help picking photos or creating an album or book for your photos, you can hit me up with a question and I’ll be happy to help you make the right decisions for your project.

Infant girl sitting in a high chair and shredding a napkin with her fingers while smiling at the camera. This is a keeper image I'm picking for my photo album or book.