Quickly Creating A Year-In-Review Album

One of the things you told us you wanted in our reader survey we did in November, was for us to tell you the process for layouts and projects. I thought I would share with you my process that I like to use once a year for a ‘year in review album’. I have bolded a few key tips throughout the post so, if doing a whole album like this isn’t something you are interested in, you can glance over those bolded notes and maybe pick up something new from those. 😉

I started doing a year-in-review album, because I am horrible at scrapping events. I don’t enjoy scrapping them that much at all. I am more of a ‘moments’ scrapper. I know, however, that my family really prefers to look at and enjoy those event layouts. I decided that if I do at least ONE two-page layout that covers the major events of each month, I would be very happy with myself (and my family would be too 😉 ). Each year, I say that I am going to do these layouts each month at the end of the month, but I don’t. I usually end up saving them all until the end of the year and then put them together.

Katie has a couple of past posts that would be helpful as well for this kind of an album:

Monthly Roundup – great ideas for gathering information through the year.

Power Scrapping – a great way to get layouts done fast.

I thought I would first show you how I organize my photos. When I first went digital, I started with this system and it has worked out really well. I start each file off with a number that is continuous, I don’t start these over each year. Then, that number is followed by the month and year. I will sometimes do separate folders for big events (you can see a trip to Walt Disney World in there and a couple other vacations), but they follow the number system as well.


The first step, is opening the folder for the month you are going to scrap and then selecting photos from it that you want to use on your layout. I pull all of those photos into Photoshop by selecting them all and then dragging/dropping them. I am doing January 2009 for this layout and chose 10 photos. Once the photos are all loaded in Photoshop, I go to window>arrange>tile horizontally, that way I can see a bit of each photo. (If you are using PSE, then you can just use your bin, the bin is the ONE feature from PSE that I miss).


Next, I look at how many photos I have total. Sometimes, I will also count up how many portrait vs. landscape photos I have, if that makes a difference (alot of times, even though a photo is portrait, it can be cropped into a landscape photo without losing any details). With these photos I know that 3 of them must be portrait.

Now, I go to one of my favorite template designers folders to pick a template. For these year-in-review layouts, I really like Yin’s templates because I can easily change a photo from portrait to landscape without effecting the design. All of Yin’s templates that I own are merged into one folder (except the 365 templates), so I can see all of them at one time without having to go into each collection’s folder.


I really like the look of template 81 for the photos I will be working with for January, so I will pull that into Photoshop and immediately save it under a new name in my layouts folder.

We are now, obviously going to add the photos to the spots that will tell our story best. One tip when adding photos to a template is to make sure that the auto-select box, under the menu, is checked (in elements I think this is the default setting). Click your move tool on the photo spot that you want to add the next photo to. This will select that layer and bring the next photo that you add to the layout (or item) in on the layer just above, which is right where you want it to clip it to shape. DO NOT MERGE THE PHOTO WITH THE LAYER BELOW AFTER CLIPPING (you will see why later).


You can see in this layout I am creating, as I type this post, that I have 4 photos from one event. We went bowling with some friends and have since moved, so I wanted to make sure I got each of my friend’s kids (that were with us) in there as well as my own kids. You can also see that I moved some of the photo’s around to help tell my story better. I also changed one photo from landscape to portrait so I could fit my daughter’s cute princess dress in there.


Template 81 copy

After my photos are added:


Now comes the really fun part…choosing supplies! A tip I learned early on when choosing supplies for these albums is to go with a neutral background. With so many photos taken during a whole month, there can be a wide variety of of colors, prints, and patters, so simple is best. I usually go with Kraft paper for my background paper, but I LOVE kraft!!! For this layout, I am going to use the Altered 365-January kit by Something Blue Studios and the DJB Leoni font included in January’s THE DIGI FILES I also knew I wanted to use Textura by Fontologie on the date stamps.


Here’s what my layout looks like now after adding the details and drop shadows:


Now, I will save as a Jpeg. But, wait! Don’t close that psd file yet! I am going to use this same template for my February 2009 layout as well! I will save this layout under February2009 and then delete the photo layers that were clipped (leaving the shape that the photo was clipped to). I also leave my text in place and don’t delete it. For now, I will also leave the papers and embellies. Here’s what it looks like:


After pulling all of my photos that I want to use from February into Photoshop, I know I have 13 photos, but I can easily duplicate some of the existing photo/matte layers to create more spots. To duplicate the photo spots and mats, just click on the photo layer, hold the ctrl key and click on the mat layer below it. Then, right click and select, duplicate layers. These layers will show up with copy in italics next to the layer name. Here’s what my new layout for February looks like now:


Now, I am going to go through and add my photos again, just like I did before. After adding all of my photos, I select all of my text layers and drag them to the top in the layers stack, so I can see them all and start editing. By leaving the text layers that were there, I can just drag them to where I need them on the new layer and don’t need to worry about font sizes matching, etc.


You can see that I added one more photo spot, as I finished adding the photos, I decided I needed a photo of the lighthouse we went to see while on our trip to the coast.

By looking at this layout, I can see that I need an orange element of some kind in the upper right side, this will help create a visual triangle between the two bold photos with orange. I also need to create a title. Here’s what I did:


I decided to delete the paper at the bottom of the layout because it interfered with the jouranling. I used Textura and Textura empty fonts to create a dual colored title (black outside and blue inside) and an anchor on that side of the layout. I used the paint strokes in the Altered365 kit and recolored them to orange to create that visual triangle that I spoke of earlier.

Now, in no time at all, I have my first two layouts for my Year-In-Review album done. By just reusing what was already done for the first layout, I not only created a cohesive look between the two layouts, but saved a lot of time!! Here’s a look at the two finished layouts:



Do you have any tips you can share on quickly getting a years worth of events scrapped?


P.S. Congratulations to Tamara whose comment was randomly chosen from the comments in yesterday’s post!! Here’s what she said: “Love Gina’s stuff. Looking through the store, I already have a lot of her kits (LOVE Parker and Penelope kits!), and I love the grab bags she does- Idea Notebooks. Right now I’m wanting the Shabby Shack and Jubilant mega kits. Thanks for the chance to win!”

Tamara won a $10 gift certificate to Digital Design Essentials!