Family portraits -- senior portraits -- what to do with them all? When I was a kid, I remember that one of my grandmother's closets was filled with shoeboxes. Those shoeboxes were filled with loose photographs going back more than 30 years. She didn't know what was in most of the boxes, and it was too overwhelming to go back and make sense of it. Making photo albums would have been too much work. These days, cloud drives have become our modern shoeboxes, filled with photos we don't even remember taking!
I don't know about you, but I have thousands of images in my Google Photos account. I've probably never looked at most of them, and if I have, I've only looked once! Making digital albums helps to collect similar photos, and AI keeps getting better at helping us organize things, but it's still true that once photos are out of sight, they're out of mind!
It's not a big deal to lose track of thousands of snapshots that were never that important. But what happens to the beautiful family portraits? And the once-in-a-lifetime senior portraits? You've invested your time and money into working with a photographer to create these memories, but so many of them only live to be shared on social media.
We all have the best intentions to go back and print our favorites, or to make our own albums, but we're all so busy. If you're getting family portraits or senior portraits, then you have kids! They have activities! Life moves fast, and that's why so many of our best memories just get lost in the digital shoebox.
In the days of loose prints, making an album meant sliding those photos into clear plastic sleeves in a glorified three-ring binder. But today's printing styles give us so many options! Albums are the best way to preserve your family portraits and senior portraits because:
Most printers have options that include "Albums" and "Books." Don't worry too much about the other descriptions (everyone likes to put words like "Luxury" in front of them). The basic difference is that Albums use higher quality papers, better printing processes, and more durable binding. Books use thinner papers, less expensive printing processes, and are more affordable. Which you choose may depend on how you intend to use the photos. I've made and printed lots of both, and if you're going to make your own, I highly recommend Mpix as a place to start.
Family portraits may be something you do every year. You'll collect a lot of them! But if they're a recurring cost, you may want to go with a high quality Photo Book. You can get great results that don't take up a lot of space! 8x8 inch books are a great size for family portraits, and I recommend hardcover options. Check here for great photo book options from Mpix!
Senior portraits are something you'll only do once! These are memories that will last the rest of your life. And they're memories others will want to share -- grandparents, aunts and uncles, best friends. Don't skimp on the big things! Go with a high-quality album that's meant to last a lifetime. Click here for some great starting points from Mpix.
If you choose to design a book or album yourself, here are a few tips:
Grouping your favorite pictures into albums is a great start, but making something truly memorable takes experience. Photos need to be arranged in ways that tell stories, and edited to look uniformly the same from page to page. Small variations in color, usually unnoticeable, suddenly become pronounced when you're holding them side-by-side on a page!
Beyond that, the biggest difference comes when the photographer shoots for the album. When I do a family or senior session, I'm always visualizing how each shot will look as part of a collection. In my mind, the album design begins before I ever pick up the camera. I take wide shots, close shots, square shots -- a variety that will translate to interesting, story-telling pages. I'll have families and seniors change up their clothes and poses to generate interest. I'll present the proofs as album drafts, and work with clients to refine the vision into something they'll love. Then I edit everything to look 100% polished, place the order, and deliver the final product.
The best part of this whole process? When I hand someone that album, there's nothing left to do! Just enjoy it forever! That's a great feeling -- nothing more to put on the eternal do-do list.
If you're in the Dayton, Ohio area and looking for Family Portraits or Senior Portraits, reach out and see how I can design photo albums that will preserve your memories beautifully!