As the end of year draws near, I start thinking about my family photo yearbooks and how I'm going to get them done. This used to be a huge stress because while I love my photo books, I also have the bad habit of ignoring my enjoyable hobbies in favor of work or other activities. By the end of the year, not only was I realizing that I was never going to get one book done by the first of the new year BUT I was also starting to get behind in years. At one point, I was 3 years behind. While this might not seem a big deal to some, I pride myself on keeping our family collection of yearbooks growing, which just adds to our own personal family history.
It wasn't until recently, after working with my business coach, Kim, that I was able to get a grip on managing the production of my photo books. She gave me this simple strategy.
Create a space in your schedule to focus on it. Only 1 hour a week, every week.
Make it an appointment with yourself and put it on your calendar. Show up to this appointment every week.
Spend the hour on downloading pictures from your phone or camera, organizing them and then uploading them to the book printing software of your choice.
Choose a software that's easiest for you. If it takes longer than a few minutes to lay out a page in the book - find another service.
By pecking away at this process a little every week, I am proud to say that I am ALMOST all caught up. I have my 2016 book done, my 2017 book is on the way and I am up to July on my 2018 book. Pretty soon, I'll be creating my yearbook for 2019 in real time.
Book services I use:
Currently, my favorite book printer is Mixbook.com. I find the service easy to use with a good selection of templates, that are editable, with nice backgrounds and embellishments. Mixbook also uses heavy card stock board pages in every book that lay flat so any image that spreads across the center doesn't get caught in the binding as in a regular book.
For book makers who just want to get it done and not fuss with designing layouts for every page, Chatbooks.com can be a nice option as well. Chatbooks offers the ability to make a book directly from their app on your phone and upload your pics from the camera roll or one of your social media accounts. You can also use Chatbooks on your regular desktop machine through their web site. I used Chatbooks for my 2015 year books because I was just so frustrated by how behind I was and I wanted to get them done. With Chatbooks, you simply upload the images and it lays out the book, one pic per page up to 366 pages. I made 2015 into two books to cover the whole year and they cost me about $60 each.
Another highly reviewed service is Shutterfly.com. While I haven't used Shutterfly myself, they definitely have improved their options and quality over the years. I found this article by Wirecutter entitled "The Best Photo Book Service" detailing why they think Shutterfly is the best. While I don't happen to agree and found some flaws in their article, I'll have to make a book with them before giving a final judgement and report back to you then.
You can catch some more of my thoughts in greater detail from the FB LIVE here:
All my best, with no stress!