Three Reasons I Prefer Prints Over Photo Books | Plus A Photo Organizing System Anyone Can Keep Up With

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Many of my clients and friends often ask what I do with all of the pictures I take of my son.  I can hear frustration, insecurity, and stress in their voices, as they are looking for advice! I know why, too. They don't want to leave these images on a computer. They are working parents. They simply don't have time!  I can relate to any working mom in this digital age. We have convenient access to take a billion photos in seconds, but when it comes down to doing something with these pictures, we are lost.

Last Sunday, I told my husband I needed one uninterrupted hour to order Braxton's pictures. I sat down, and looked up ideas on Pinterest - what do I do with my child's pictures? Make a photo book?  I should mention that I gathered them on my hard drive, as far back as Christmas....of 2015, which led me to my first frustration:

1. How do you Organize a Photo Book?
 

I started laying out a photo book in Shutterfly's software.  Dumb!  I didn't know where to begin or end the book!  Do I start with the year, like 2015?  Or, do I begin with his age?  Should it be a scrapbook, instead of chronological? Do I make the book themed, for each birthday, or holiday?  What about the in-between moments that won't justify a full book?  That's a lot of books!  What if Braxton needs a single picture for a school project someday? This was way too much thought, I know! However, if I am going to order/organize pictures while my son is young, I need a system that will be easy to follow in the future!

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2. Photo Books Take Time! A ton of Time!
 

Right after Braxton's first birthday, in early 2015, I received one of those enticing "Free Photo Book" coupons from Shutterfly.  I spent six hours one Saturday night working on this birthday book.  I fell for the whole "fill pages" option their software offers as I began - Shutterfly laid out the entire book for me....

Their design created the photo book into 109 pages, which was over $150.  The coupon's fine print mentioned the "free book" was a 20-page book! I went through the design and combined pages, deleted photos, and changed layouts.  By the end, I had redesigned the entire book. I realized I should have just ordered through one of my professional labs and used my own template. I would have paid a little more to save that much time!  The coupon is the only reason I did this to myself!

As you can see blow, the photo book was fine, but it's cluttered, since I had to condense it so much!

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3. Will the Same Photo Product be Available Years Later?

When I searched for a way to archive these memories of my son, I factored in the thought of another child in the future. If that happens, I want consistency and convenience. Photo Books will probably be around, but looks are always changing and ordering lots of them could easily be hundreds of dollars per year, depending on how many photos you take.

Remember these things below?  Photo albums?  I still love these, too, but finding larger albums that hold lots of pictures, isn't as easy as it used to be!  And, some are really expensive.

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{An Organized Solution for Pictures}

The idea came to me - a lot of professional labs offer "Image Boxes." I looked on Mpix, which I highly recommend for quality prints, and they offered lots of options!

These Keepsake Boxes are about 5x7 inches, with a two-inch depth for storage. They actually hold up to 200 loose-4x6 prints, but since they're decorative boxes, storing small mementos would be convenient as well.  I'm even considering putting a flash drive in each box (sort of like negatives to my pictures, back in the film days).  Keepsake boxes have a magnetic closure, and the outside satin finish alone, makes me prefer this quality over a cheap, or even free, photo book.

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Now, if these boxes aren't offered in the future, I can find small decorative boxes similar, and label them.  I may even do that in the future, if I decide to add school projects/ team pictures to them, since I would need a larger option.  I love the way it looks organized on my bookshelf, and it's easy to identify by year, on the binding.

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How do you organize hard copies of your images?  Comment below!

Dana Marquart

Photogenics on Location, 100 West Front Street, Washington, MO, 63090