I would like to welcome back Liz of Paislee Press and Audrey of Audacious Designs, this time as contributing writers! I have loved the idea of creating an album or photobook since I went digital several years ago, but I haven’t done it yet. I have scrapped many, many layouts with the intention of having them printed in book form, but I always get stuck. Actually creating a book is something that completely overwhelms me. I decided if I feel that way, then some of you probably do too.
We will be having a series of posts over the next few weeks all about albums, from planning, to uploading, through printing. We will even be including a thorough and honest review of various printers (for both layouts and books). True to THE DAILY DIGI style, the print reviews will be uncluttered by biases based on affiliates, coupons, freebies, or advertising agreements, so you can trust that you will be getting honest information.
Liz and Audrey have the first post in this mini-series, all about planning those albums/photobooks. We hope you enjoy it!
Putting together an album – whether it’s a random collection of favorite photos and quotations, a celebration of your grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary, or a chronological documentation of an overseas trip – can be a daunting task. There’s the issue of organization, and figuring out where to begin, and what pictures to include, and which kind of album you should go with, and let’s not even think about where and how to store all of the pieces during the process. We’re overwhelmed just thinking about it.
But sometimes, just the right amount of flexible structure can take an overwhelming project like this and break it into more manageable pieces, pieces that add order and clarity to the process without being too rigid. It’s important to realize, right from the start, that this is not a list you have to follow step-by-step, nor do you have to follow it in the order presented. These steps are flexible and, more importantly, cyclical, depending on your own specific needs during a project like this.
Building an album is much like building a house. You start with a shell, a structure, and you add layers of materials and personal items until you’ve transformed it into a home. Here we've outlined a series of 8 steps, a blueprint if you will, to help you manage your album projects.
- Determine the focus of your album. Will it be event-based (a trip, a vacation, a birthday party, a holiday celebration like Christmas) or is it something more thematic and abstract (lessons I want to teach my children, things I'm grateful for)? This is much like choosing the style of house you want. Do you picture a 1930’s Arts and Crafts bungalow with stained glass or a three-story Victorian with gingerbread molding and a turret? That style of home will influence much of the way you proceed with building, just as your album’s theme will contribute to the overall structure and content.
- Brainstorm content: what are the essential features you must have? A separate dining room, built-in bookshelves, lots of windows? When thinking about this from an album point of view, ask yourself: what initial concepts for this album do I have in mind? Will it be something that primarily focuses on single photos and lengthy journaling, or will it be multi-photo with simple captions and memorabilia? Right now is the time to think about the things that you want to make sure you don’t overlook them as you create this project.
- At this point, you are ready to select a floorplan. Another way to look at floorplans is to consider them as the organizational style of the house you are creating. They tell you what goes where. The same is true for albums. What organizational style do you want to focus on? If this is an event, do you want the album to be chronological (day 1 of the trip, day 2, etc) or geographical (the first place we visited, the second place, etc)? Do you want to follow a timeline? Do you want to assign every aspect to a category (characteristics, personality traits, etc).
Audrey and Liz are currently collaborating on a series of blog posts that will address how to "build" an album. They are tentatively set to launch the series sometime next week. If you are interested in album planning, please consider adding their blogs to your reader and/or following them on twitter.