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!  

*2021 UPDATE:  a new platform makes it just 4 weeks now!

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.

Before I get into the solutions and approaches, let me define for you what I call the Yearbook Method.  It's beneficial for anyone who has a lot of photos and needs to pare them down.  It begins with the often surprising revelation that we don't actually have to save every photo we take.  There's no rule that says we have to save every photo.  It's ok--and sometimes extremely wise--to sort through our photos and preserve just the absolute keepers.  

The Yearbook Method is simply this:  Create just two pages for each month of the year.  This helps you just choose and preserve your very favorite photos and memories.  In addition to making your photos more manageable, another benefit of the Yearbook Method is that it is more inexpensive to print a book with only 25 pages than it is with 99.

If the Yearbook Method is not for you, that's ok.  I have a hard time paring down my photos, so my yearbooks are more than 25 pages.  Whether you subscribe to the Yearbook Method or not, you can preserve your precious photos and memories in meaningful, heirloom-quality pages using any of the suggestions I'm about to outline for you.  

UPDATE 2021:  I think this is the simplest way to create yearbooks because you're using a template in a program that takes about 2 minutes to learn!  See what you think at this short video I created for you:

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!

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!

UPDATE 2021:  For an even faster Yearbook, I love this new platform where we can finish a yearbook in just 4 weeks.  See my two videos about a Yearbook in just 4 weeks here.

Here's how the 8-Week Yearbook Boot Camp 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 Forever account at this link if you don't already have one.  (It's free!)  I recommend and use Forever because of its heirloom-quality products, 100% satisfaction guarantee, and its photo privacy policies.
  4. Upload the photos from your chosen year into your Forever account.  (By the way, Forever is rare in that they don't reserve rights to your photos, they allow you to download your photos back at full resolution for free, and upgraded Forever Storage guarantees your photos for your lifetime plus 100 years.  This tutorial video explains Forever Storage.)
  1. Choose the book size you'd like to create.  12x12 and other large sizes are best for yearbooks because they showcase many photos well. 
  2. Learn about The Yearbook Method in 2 minutes.  Watch this video from minute 15 - minute 17.
  3. Choose your favorite yearbook template.  In your Forever account, click "Create and Print," then "Design & Print," "Photo Books." Type in "yearbook" in the search field to find lots of options.  There are lots of templates to choose from.  Click any you want to see more of, and you'll be able to scroll down and see the pages.  (Note:  If you prefer not to use a template but to instead have full flexibility and creativity, I highly recommend Forever's Artisan digital scrapbooking software.)
  1. Now you're ready to go!  This week, complete the front and back cover, the title page, and the two January pages.
  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. Order your completed yearbook!  Pat yourself on the back!
The Yearbook Boot Camp 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.

It's time!  Find out just how fantastic the Yearbook approach is to solving your problem of having too many pictures:
  • Get started with Forever and follow either of the plans above, the Two-in-One Plan or the Yearbook Boot Camp plan.  I think the Design & Print (templates) platform from Forever is the best way to catch up quickly, but if you want more creative flexibility on your pages, Artisan by Forever is the way to go.  Contact me if you have questions.
  • Attend the next Yearbook Boot Camp with me!  It's so much fun, and the time set aside on your calendar helps make your good intentions into reality.
  • Request from me a private Yearbook Boot Camp with just you and your friends!  As host, you/we can share your Forever Referral Link and you'll probably end up printing your own book for free!

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, and updated in 2021.  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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