these pictures of you.... enjoying your photos off of your phone

I can almost believe that they're real....  80's kids.You know it. You're singing it, aren't you?  I'm pretty sure Robert Smith never intended on that song being used in a blog post about family pictures. Sorry Robert.

Ok, back to 2016.  Pictures.  We all love taking them, don't we.  Of our kids, our pets, our lovely significant others, ourselves (?), our vacations... need I go on?   My question to you is this.  What do you do with said pictures?  My guess is you have a pile of them on your phone and on your computer. Raise your hand if pretty much all your pictures are on your phone/computer.  Yup, that's what I thought.

Gone are the days of pulling out the old coil bound photo albums with those sticky pages and laughing at Uncle Erv's crazy hairdo.  (and yes, I do have an Uncle Erv, and his hair is far from crazy now... but, perm, 80's, that's all I'm saying)  Now, now you flip through your phone, unless you've backed them up on your computer and really, it's just not the same.

I love pictures.  Always have.  So what to do with this plethora of pictures.....

Photo Books

Not albums, photo books.  Both of my kids love sitting together and flipping through the pages- and the bonus here is no pictures fall out. No little hands rip those protective sheets and pictures fall out and get totally ruined all loved up.  What I have been trying to do with my pictures is make a family yearbook.  I got the idea a number of years ago, from one of my favorite blogs Young House Love- read about it here.  It was a total palm to the forehead moment.  Why didn't I think of that?  Possibly because Disorganized is my middle name (most people think it's Jane, but it's really not)

So that is what I've been trying to do.  I have some catching up to do- but I'm working on it. Now keep in mind- THIS IS NOT A QUICK PROCESS.  No sir.  You have to scour all your pics - for the whole entire year- and then lay them out in the book template.

There are a few different sites to go to to make your book.  I have tried 4 different ones, but have yet to come up with a favorite.

My Publisher  Sign up with them and you'll get tons of emails with specials and promos.  I really love the quality of this book- and the setup was awesome.  I downloaded the desktop version and made my book.  I'm fussy with layouts, so it takes me a good long while.  My two downsides, that are kind of the same.  I live in Canada.  So duty-  sad face.  And poor Canadian dollar- sad face part 2.

Blurb  These guys are into lots of publishing types- trade books, self publishing, magazines, e-books, whew.  Lots.  And photo books.  The pricing is pretty good- AND it's in Canadian dollars. Big bonus.  Again, it's easy to layout and edit.  My only issue was the quality of the printing.  I have some spots on my book that make me cranky- but again, I am fussy.  I don't feel like the crispness is there in the photos the same as the MyPublisher ones- but I'm not throwing it out or anything... seeing as I'm the only one who notices anyways.  Tim.  Head. Over.

Photolab  This one is for my fellow Canadians.  Photolab is under that Loblaws umbrella.  And I love my Real Canadian Superstore.  I really do.  I did my book for 2014 (I'm totally a year behind folks) through these guys.  It's a big more basic than the others.  I put in all of my pictures on the preset layouts (which fussypants here didn't like and was slightly irritated over) but then was able to go in and customize.  Yay.  That made me happy.  It was the least expensive of the three- but it doesn't look like it.  It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the other two, but for the price and no shipping charge (they send it to my store) I'm totally happy.

Shutterfly  I haven't done a yearbook with Shutterfly, but I did make a family recipe book for my mom and brother a couple of Christmases ago.  (this is a great gift idea!)  I incorporated family photos and handwritten recipes in it.  I wish I would have got one for myself.  Duh.  Again, lots of promos through Shutterfly- ALL THE TIME.  If you want your book more scrap book-ish- with doo dads and patterned backgrounds and stuff, they have this like crazy.  I've come to realize, I prefer my books simple with white pages and black text.  It's simple and the photos are the stars, not the clip art.
Very easy, good quality- but again boo for duty and poor Canadian $$$.

Now just think, you can make your books and still sit as a family to giggle at whatever will be equivalent to 80's perms in 20 years.  Yay for photo books!

Canvas prints

If you come to my house, you will see that we are BIG fans of canvas prints.  We have the ability to print our own here at home on our sign equipment, so that's a big reason why.  (We didn't print this one pictured, my friend who is an awesome photog, took this and her lab developed it- it's my favorite.  The chins.  The pigtails.  Love.)

That AND that I love how they look.  I wouldn't only want canvases, I still love frames and mats, but they add texture and dimension.  The fibers in the canvas soften your picture- which is good when your picture isn't super high resolution.  And the depth (I prefer thicker styles) of the frame gives the canvas more visual weight on your wall.

It looks substantial.  Also most canvas prints wrap the picture around the edges so you don't just have a black or white 2 inch wide bar if you're looking at it from the side.  It's like a photo infinity pool.  Well, not really, but I kind of like that analogy.


If you think an 8 x 10 is too big- think again.  Big photo.  Big impact.  Now, not every photo you take deserves to be blown up to 16 x 20, but there are some.  Think of the really special ones that make you happy just to look at them.  Like these ones of my peeps.

That girl- those eyes.  That photo is like magic (and btw, I took that on my iPod touch with the VSCO camera app, use it, you'll thank me) And the dude.  This is just him.  A little shy.  A lot cute.  These frames are from IKEA and I think the fact that they are matter (which makes this extra extra large now) makes them have that much more presence.  **** I have seen all over Pinterest (as I'm sure you have too) that you can get your pics enlarged at Staples as engineering prints.  I have not yet been able to do this- maybe it's an American thing.  I cannot find the option for it on my Canadian Staples site.  If you have. please let me know where I'm going wrong!****


Maybe collages are a little passe.  I don't care.  I still like them.  I don't want them everywhere (nor should you) but one never hurt anyone.  Sometimes you can't decide on JUST ONE PICTURE.  You know that feeling, don't you.  I like this one, but I like this one, but I really like this one too.  And I don't want 85 pictures of the same event on my wall, even if I like them.  So I make a collage.

Here's a tip- if the backgrounds are similar in color (for example, mine has quite a bit of dark backgrounds) it reads more like a single picture.  If all of the pics in your collage are very different, it will be very busy and not as cohesive.

So now, get out there and get those pictures off of that phone and your computer.   Check out all your local choices for photo labs, shop around for prices and sizes.  See what kind of customization you can get too.  Don't rush it, take you time and pick the ones you really love.  The ones that make you happy just to look at them. You're taking them- you should enjoy them!