Last week I shared on my Instagram stories about my photo storage system and how I like to make family yearbooks. I have never gotten so many messages from people than when discussing this topic. I have lots of room for improvement in this area but many of the messages were from women who felt just like I did - stuck and overwhelmed with what to do with all those photos in my camera roll.

I like to display our wedding album (printed at Artifact Uprising - amazing quality but much more expensive) and the previous yearbook on a shelf in our living room where we can easily look at it.
For years, even back in college before I was taking photos on my cell phone, I took lots of photos. My only system was to upload them on to my MacBook and create albums for each event. I started quite a few photo books back then but was always overwhelmed with what pictures to choose and never quite got around to finishing one. Quite a few years later my mom started making photo books and being a mom now myself, seeing all those photos printed was all it took for me to get started.

I decided just to start with the year we were in even though I had thousands of photos from years prior. It was too overwhelming for me to try and organize all the photos I had from year's past and start organizing photos from the current year. Every now and then I sit down and work on an older photo book but my main goal is to stay on top of the current year's photos.

I feel like this next paragraph goes without saying but it seems we always need a disclaimer when writing for the internet. I am not an expert. I don't do this perfectly. But having a system set up makes it more likely I will succeed than not. It may seem elaborate to some, but photos are important to me and it's also important that they're somewhat organized. Our photos aren't in perfect order but I do print them in the books from January to December. This is what works for me and I hope it can help someone else.


This is probably the hardest step for me but if I can stay on top of doing these things it makes the whole process simpler. I don't know about you but I take a lot of photos of the same thing each day. Because my boys are on the move I snap multiple (live) photos of the same scene so I can hopefully capture one gem. At the end of the day I try and go through the photos and delete any that are blurry or duplicates. Sometimes I'm able to snap 4 or 5 (or even more) where I love how I've captured my boys and it's really hard for me to delete them even if the shot may not be good enough to make the photo book. I do my best to narrow them down and then choose 1 or 2 that I will edit for the photo book. Every year I end up having way too many photos (2018's book contained 650 photos) so I'm trying to get better about narrowing down and only picking the best of the best. Do I really need 20 pictures of bath time from the year? (The answer is yes but I said I'm working on it.😂)

  • Delete any duplicates or blurry photos
  • Narrow down similar scenes to 1-3 photos each
  • Select and edit one photo for the yearly photo book


On the 1st of each following month (February 1st for January photos) I schedule out in my planner to work on the photo book. I upload my photos to my computer (we also use Amazon photos as a second back up and to sync our photos) and this helps keep things less cluttered on my iPhone as well. The idea is that since I've already narrowed down and edited the best photos from the month it will be super easy to layout the pages for January. And it does make it super easy and quick to do but truthfully for 2019 I only stuck to this entire process for two months.🙈 It made everything so much harder and I ended up missing the extra pages sale. I'm going to have to wait around for them to run another and I'm kicking myself for not staying on top of it.


If I have kept up with everything, at the end of the year my photo book is ready to go. Shutterfly always has a "free extra pages" sale at the end of January. I always wait for this sale to order our year book because it cuts down costs like crazy. My 2018 book originally cost $162.10 and after the extra pages coupon paired with the sale they were (and almost always are) having on the book itself, I only paid $48.35 (that's with tax and shipping included). While I'm always anxious and excited to get my book this sale is worth holding out for!

There are all kinds of photo book styles to choose from but I always select the "modern white". I pack my pages full of pictures and don't have room for any embellishments. This also helps me get our books done quicker. I'd be too picky and would take too long trying to set up the perfect page so for me, the simpler the better.

There are all different sizes but I'll share the selections and upgrades I choose for our books.

  • 10 x 10, hard photo book, matte finish
  • Modern White, standard, layflat pages
  • Memorabilia Pocket (I have never added this upgrade before and I always think I'm going to glue an envelope in the back for random printed photos - like Santa photos - but I never do so I think for 2019 I'm going to pay the extra $1.79 to get the pocket included.)

I hope this motivates you to start working on your 2020 photo book today! January is over so go ahead and take care of those photos in the next couple of days. If you have any questions about how I store our photos or print our books just let me know! I'm happy to help any way I can.

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