Thursday, April 23, 2015

Photo Albums

What do you do with your photos?

We're old school at our place, we still print them out and put them in albums.

But I've noticed that each year I go to buy my album - we like to have them in the same plain black, six-to-a-page, 300 photo album - like I said, old school - and each year I see the range diminish.

This never bothered me before, I'm not after choice.  But this year they didn't have the one I wanted, the plain black one.  They had them in that same dimensions and specs, but in all sorts of hideous floral varieties.  Not to be fussy, but I'm just not a floral girl.  And also, I'm fussy.  I just wanted my plain black album.  I especially did not want an album covered with badly rendered graphic florals.

Just. No.

I was pretty keen, I was nearly finished albuming (I assume that's not a word, but if scrapbooking can be a word then...) and had come up short.  I needed a new album before the kids got home and got their sticky fingers all over the photos I had strewn carefully laid out across the dining table.  So I bought the incredibly ugly album with the promise to replace it when I could find my favourite again.

But who knows if that will ever happen.  Not just because I'm slack and will probably never get around to it, but because there is definitely less options when it comes to albums these days.  Because it seems like people just aren't printing photos anymore.  Or at least not nearly so much.  So I'm curious, how do you guys handle the photo thing at your place?

We have a definite system.  It's flawed and chaotic and messy, but it is a system.

We just take photos all year.  We don't edit, apart from deleting the truly awful or out of focus ones, we just shoot.

Then in January of each year we start to freak out about how many photos we've taken on what different devices.  By February we've decided we need to do something about it.  We usually put this off for an other month or so because it is so arduous and not fun.  Eventually we put all the photos fit to print on to a usb drive and take them to get printed.

We do this at a 'proper' printing place not at Kmart or Officeworks because the quality is crap.  It costs more, but it's worth it.

Each year we marvel at how many photos we have and swear we are going to print progressively the next year, but we never do.

Once we get the massive pile of a years worth of photos home they sit in a box for a good 9 months before I can face albuming them.  It should't be that hard, right? Just take them out of the box and jam them in the album?

But in these digital days it's not that easy because they don't come back chronological, do they?  No, they come back in random order that then needs to be sorted back into some sort of chronological-ness.

I miss the days you'd shoot a roll of film and take it to be processed and get it back, in order.  And if you got them out of order you always have the negative to refer back to.  Negatives - remember them?

But no, now we have photos from two phones, two cameras and this year year we have an iPad to add to the fray.  Not to mention the photos that get emailed to me from other family members of certain events.

I'm not going to complain about those photos though because I often neglect to take any photos at all of really important events like my kids birthdays, so I'm really grateful to the random snappers out there who do my job for me like that.  If it wasn't for these considerate souls I would have actually no photos of my own 40th.

I love having photos of these kinds of events.  But I am also critically aware of not spending these events just playing photographer.  It's easy to do, and not entirely unenjoyable but it certainly changes your perspective of the day.

Likewise flipping through your album can change your perspective too.  Sorting through my photos from 2013 - don't even ask me about 2014, we are SO no there yet - made me feel so lucky and blessed and grateful  I know it's all sorts of cliche, but it's nice to have these sorts of reminders.

It's pretty easy (for me) to get caught up in being very self critical, thinking I'm a horrid mother who yells too much, or feeling regretful about decisions I've made in my life.  But a flip through our photo albums reveals a really happy, lucky, fulfilled family.  Two happy and healthy kids with a bunch of relatives who love them and who get to do super fun stuff.  That makes me feel good.  Like, maybe I'm not doing such a bad job after all.

Oh, I know it's only a fraction of the story.  Only the happy, fun, milestone times make the albums.  There's no photos of the crappy, difficult, lonely or shouty times for posterity.  But still.

The other really important thing it does is put your kids in perspective.

Looking at pictures of my kids from a few years ago I think, "My gosh you were so tiny, such a tiny, innocent little thing."  In the day to day of parenting sometimes I forget that, I don't see it.  My kids are so much a part of the working of the family it's easy to forget how small, vulnerable, impressionable they are.  Gorgeous babies.

It's a wonderful reminder of how important it is to continue trying to be the best most compassionate mama I can be.  Even though they are getting so big so fast (stop that already, will you!) they are still just little kids with great hearts and good intentions.

Anyway, so.  Our system for keeping our family snaps is not perfect.  And this is no how-to.  But I'm curious, in this digital age do you still print your snaps, still have an album to pass on to the kids, or what?

How do you keep your family photos?

Listen to The Cure Pictures of You

Top Image Licensed Under Creative Commons
Image of Floral Horror by One Small Life


  1. I hear you on the lack of albums. I don't mind colours/patterns but not that floral one... It's a shame that printing and preserving memories through photos is such a dying art. Good on you for continuing though because you've inspired me to get a batch printed and archived asap and not keep putting it off! xx

    1. Oh yay! So pleased I've inspired you! I think not putting it off is the key. We are always a year behind ourselves, but if we were ever years and years behind w I'm sure we'd just give up. Go for it! x

  2. Kate, I would not wish to steer you away from this old school "putting the printed photos into the album" thing - I still do it ("album-ing, ha !) too and it's a nice ritual. However, in the last couple of years, I've discovered how to create little photo books (plain black ones too) via an online program- I use Snap Fish. I find it easy to negotiate and the books turn out like little coffee table-ish books - with not a floral graphic in sight ! I too am years behind, glad I'm not the only one. Lovely post, as always ! x

  3. Off to look at SnapFish immediately. x