When I first had Ethan in 2003, it was a different world in photography. I had a film camera and when I had those developed, I made traditional scrapbooks of his photos. Then during his first year, I got a small digital camera for Christmas. It was a completely new thing to me! It was so nice to take a photo and immediately see how it turned out!
With that convenience though came a different set of challenges-what was I supposed to do with all of these photos? I found that when I had a film camera, I was much more careful with what I took and only took a few photos per event. Now with a digital camera, I took many more and started just storing them on my computer.
In 2006, something horrible happened. Living in Florida, huge storms were common. I was sitting at home one night during a storm and heard a boom! Lightning had hit my computer! I lost every digital picture I had taken of Ethan up to that point (he was 3 years old). Thankfully, I had many of them online at Snapfish, but they were small files. Those that weren’t on Snapfish were gone.
This is when I got serious about printing out the photos that I took.
My kids are now 16, 13, and 11, and I have almost every digital photo that I have taken of them in a printed form of some kind. Here is how I do that:
- I make a yearly album on http://www.shutterfly.com. It is a family style album that starts with January of that year and goes through December. I do the hard back 12×12 albums and usually max them out at 111 pages. I work on them throughout the year and save it in my account. On a normal day, it would cost about $250 to print out the album. However, I save it until Shutterfly has a sale that gives free unlimited pages (after the first 20 pages) and free shipping. This usually gets my album down to about $75-80. The photo quality is actually pretty great! My kids love to sit down and look through these albums often, laughing and reliving memories.
- I make small 8×8 albums of certain special events, also through Shutterfly. Some of ours include “A Day at the Fair”, “Rachel’s 10th Birthday Party”, etc. If you follow Shutterfly on FB or Instagram, they do promotions multiple times a year where you can get a free 8×8 book. You only have to pay shipping! I take advantage of this almost every time it is offered.
- Many of my photos now are taken on my cell phone. I use an app called Chatbooks to print these photos. Your cell photos are loaded into the app and you click which ones you would like in your paperback 6×6 album. When you have enough photos for a book, Chatbooks automatically prints and ships to you. It costs right around $10 for these books and I just do a few a year.
- For special photos, I like to have high quality prints. I also think it is important to have prints instead of everything just in an album. So I have a 5×7 image box for each of my kids. I order mine through my pro lab, but http://www.mpix.com has some beautiful ones and you can also watch for coupons on these. When I do a photo shoot of my kids, I pick out just a couple of my favorites and have a 5×7 photo printed of it. It then goes into their image boxes.
If you stay on top of it, it’s easy to make sure you are printing your photos! It takes a little bit of dedication, but it is SO important to me to have these photos in print and not just stored on computers!