Friday, July 28, 2017

One Fantastic Solution to Too Many Pictures: Yearbooks

Digital photography allows us to take a lot of photos any time.  We can get just the right shot even if it takes twenty tries.  The downside, though, of digital photography is that we often have way too many photos to even deal with.  It can be {overwhelming}.  Unfortunately, this situation is a common one, and many people don’t even know {where to start} when they think about actually preserving their photos, memories, and stories.  One of my favorite solutions to this problem is a Yearbook (sometimes called a Family Yearbook).

I'm excited to share this with you today because it's not just an idea or a suggestion.  This is a solution!  This can actually help you preserve and see your pictures if you haven't done so for a while because you have too many.  So what's a yearbook?

Simply stated, a yearbook is one year’s worth of photos preserved in one book.  This method is one I recommend often, especially to people who just have a lot of photos and don’t know where to start.  I love this method because:
  • It makes logical sense.  You know where to start and where to end:  January 1-December 31.  Everything from that year will go in one place.
  • Because it’s chronological, it’s easy to break down a mountain full of 400 pictures into sections (organized by month).  From there, it’s easier to decide what’s worth preserving and {what’s extra}.
  • You only have to work with part of your pictures at a time.  Instead of staring down 8 years’ worth of photos, you’re only dealing with ONE.
Keep reading to find two plans to create your yearbook.  One gets you a yearbook every six months, and the other is in just 8 weeks!  

Yearbooks can be created physically (with paper or albums) or digitally.  The most important aspects of a family yearbook are high quality and journaling (write the memories that go with the photos).  I prefer high quality digital family yearbooks because, among {many other reasons}, it’s easy to get multiple copies.

Having a lot of photos that you know need to be preserved can be overwhelming.  It can really be a daunting task sometimes.  Yearbooks really break things down into doable parts.  Start with some of the basic tools you’ve seen here on #familyhistoryfriday posts to organize your photos, or explore the tabs at the top of this page (under the header) and then start creating your own family yearbooks, one year at a time.

Or, to make it really easy, just watch this video I've made about yearbooks.  It's not just the yearbook itself that makes this a fantastic solution to too many pictures--it's the whole method involved.  And I walk through the whole thing step by step here:
 (Just skip the technical difficulties I had from 27:11 to 34:05)

If you're worried that starting to preserve your photos from one year won't help you make progress in the end since you're still taking more pictures, don't!  I've got you covered!  Here are the two approaches I mentioned earlier:

One of the best tips I’ve ever heard for catching up on your photos is to have a {2-in-1 plan} (Scroll down to the 8-week plan for helpful links as you create your pages.)

Here's how it works.  If you spend this year preserving the photos from, say, 2012, then you still haven’t preserved the photos from this year.  So if you can take out two years in one, you’re getting ahead and you’ll catch up!  Preserving one years’ worth of photos in six months is the perfect 2-in-1 plan, and it works like this:
  1. FIRST MONTH:  Preserve photos and memories from January and February from your chosen (past) year.
  2. SECOND MONTH:  Preserve photos and memories from March and April from your chosen year.
  3. THIRD MONTH:  Preserve photos and memories from May and June from your chosen year.
  4. FOURTH MONTH:  Preserve photos and memories from July and August from your chosen year.
  5. FIFTH MONTH:  Preserve photos and memories from September and October from your chosen year.
  6. SIXTH MONTH:  Preserve photos and memories from November and December from your chosen year.
  7. SEVENTH MONTH:  Preserve photos and memories from January and February from the current year!
  8. EIGHTH MONTH:  Preserve photos and memories from March and April from the current year.
  9. NINTH MONTH:  Preserve photos and memories from May and June from the current year.
  10. TENTH MONTH:  Preserve photos and memories from July and August from the current year.  
  11. ELEVENTH MONTH:  Preserve photos and memories from September and October from the current year.
  12. TWELFTH MONTH:  Preserve photos and memories from November and December from the current year.

Don't you love how that can help you actually get caught up preserving pictures?

Or, try my Yearbook Boot Camp method!

This approach is a faster one than the Two-in-One Plan, so you have to dedicate more time to it each week, but a lot of people love it because it gives you a yearbook quickly!  That the momentum can propel you forward sooner, so you're ready to create more yearbooks.  It helps you catch up in no time.  You'll need to set aside 1-3 hours (approximately) each week to follow the plan outlined below.  This gives you a yearbook in just 8 weeks!

Here's how the Yearbook Boot Camp Method works:

WEEK 1: 
  1. Choose the year's worth of photos you want to preserve (2018, 2012, etc.)  
  2. Organize the photos from that year on your computer.  I made this video to help.
  3. Open your Heritage Makers account if you don't already have one, and learn about pricing/savings options.  I made this video to help.
  4. Upload the photos from your chosen year into your Heritage Makers account.  I made this video to help.  And this article explains photo security and privacy in your Heritage Makers account.
  1. Choose the book size you'd like to create.  12x12 and 11.5x8.5 are best for yearbooks because they showcase many photos well.  If you need help deciding, go to and click "products" at the upper right.  You can find product sizes and specifications under "storybooks."  Please note that the prices listed under "products" are for books with 21 pages.  Yearbooks have 26 pages (2 per month plus the title page), so your book will be a few dollars more.  You can also add pages if you like, which would also increase the cost some.
  2. Learn about The Yearbook Method in 2 minutes.  Watch this video from minute 15 - minute 17.
  3. Choose your favorite yearbook template.  At the website in #1, click "template gallery" at the upper right.  Type in "yearbook" in the search field to find lots of options.  If you chose not to have a Preferred Customer account last week, you'll want to select the "Basic" templates at the left so that you don't have to weed through all the "Premier" ones.  Remember that all Heritage Makers templates are 100% customizable, so you don't have to look for The Perfect Template, just one that is mostly like you want--they you can customize from there.
  4. Learn how to use a Heritage Makers template.  I made this video to show you a few tips and tricks and fancy stuff when using templates.
  1. Now you're ready to go!  This week, complete the front and back cover, the title page, and the two January pages.  If you're new to Heritage Makers, be sure to check out the Studio 101 tutorial video I made to walk you through everything.  I show you what all the buttons do, and you'll find some fun possibilities like putting a drop shadow behind an element or picture and much more.
  1. Complete the two February pages in your yearbook, the two March pages, and the two April pages (or more if you've decided to add more).
  1. Complete the two May pages and the two June pages in your yearbook (or more if you've added more pages for either of these months).
  1. Complete the two July pages and the two August pages (or more if you add more).
  1. This week, complete the two September and the two October pages in your yearbook (or more pages in those months if needed).
  1. Complete the November and the December pages in your yearbook!  YAY!
  2. Preview your book so you make sure it's exactly how you want it.  I do offer to proofread/double-check your first Heritage Makers project for free, if you like.  Here's my contact information.
  3. Order your completed yearbook!  I made this tutorial video about closing out your project and placing an order.  Books take 7-10 business days to be printed and shipped to you.  (A few other Heritage Makers products that are printed by our specialty printer take 2-3 weeks.)

The Yearbook Boot Camp Method has helped many people get caught up on their photos and memories!  And yearbooks are a perfect way to simplify those thousands of photos you have.

Before I go, I have to show you my favorite yearbooks.  A few examples are shown in the video, too.  I especially want to tell you why I love them!

My Favorite {Family Yearbooks} are from Heritage Makers because there are so many templates available.  They are available in 12×12, 11.5×8.5, and 8×8.  You can see some page-by-page examples {at this link} and {at this one}.  Each Yearbook template has a two-page spread for each month.  So, there are two pages for January, two pages for February, and so on.  I think this makes organizing photos –and, therefore, publishing them– so easy!  If you are creating a 2015 Yearbook, for example, and you come across a photo from Halloween, you already know what page it goes on!  No thinking required.

Other reasons Heritage Makers Family Yearbooks are my hands-down #1 recommendation for people with lots of photos to catch up on are:
  • The templates are completely editable.  If you need to use 3 pictures but there’s only space for 2, you can change things around.  If you don’t like quite so many flowers on your pages, take them off.  You really get exactly what you want.  That is personally very important to me.
  • Heirloom Assurance means that the digital version of your project is saved in your (active) account indefinitely and that if something happens to your book (dog chews it, house burns down), you can replace it for half price.  I love that it’s basically insurance not just for my digital photos but for my actual books!
  • Quality is a big deal to me.  If I’m going to spend time on something, not to mention spending money on it, I don’t want it to fall apart next year.  Especially when we’re talking about precious photos and memories!  I always recommend Heritage Makers because the books have a library binding and are bound with a metal stitching (not glue).  The word “heritage” is in the name of the company for a reason.
If you want to make your own Yearbooks, use {this website} or just follow the directions in the video.  {This link} is designed to help you get going. 

Creating Family Yearbooks is the best way I know of to preserve your photos when you have a lot of photos to preserve!  It can be a really neat and meaningful family time if you create your family yearbooks together, or it can be a fun surprise gift from you on your child’s birthday.  

Family Yearbooks provide all the {benefits of memory-keeping} that we need so much, and the connections they create help children and parents alike.

Share this post on social media or with someone you know who could use some help with too many pictures.
This post was originally published at on July 28, 2017, by Jennifer Wise.  More #familyhistoryfriday posts can be found by clicking the hashtag link next to Labels below.


  1. Thanks so much for linking up with me at #AThemedLinkup 21 for Photos and Videos, open until July 25.

  2. Visiting again to say thanks so much for linking up with me at A Themed Linkup 46 for Photos and Videos. Shared!

    1. Thanks for hosting, and for visiting and commenting, too.


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