Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Make a Family Album by Judith Hudson

Self Isolating? How's it going? Here’s an idea for a project you can do alone or in a family group.

Turn boxes of old photos and slides into a lovely family keepsake.

The first step is to sort. Do this with family members if you can. It is sure to spark discussion of cherished memories. Family is very important to me. Hey, my website tag line is Friendship, Family and Happily-ever-after.

Don’t start with a first project as all-encompassing as organizing all of the family photographs going back to 1900, like I did. Start with something small, like an album of your last trip, family time at the cottage last summer, or baby’s first year. If you have a huge number of photos, (which could happen when the family hears you are doing this and give you all of their family photos) sort them into a number of boxes for books of different sides of the family and different eras.

That’s the job I’m in the middle of now. I’ve done my mother’s childhood and family going back to 1910 in one book, 50 years at the cottage in another. My daughter Rosey did her childhood because she knew I’d never finish the job and now I’m in the middle of doing my father’s family and still have to organize the pics from my own childhood. Whew!

But the finished books are worth it.
I use Shutterfly.com to organize and print the beautiful hardcover books that last a lifetime. Multiple lifetimes.

Future generations could find my mother's or my old photos and not know who or what they depict - and toss them out. But a hardcover book with a family tree in the back - that's a keepsake.

As a bonus, different family members can order their own copies through the website – as mine did with the cottage book – in their choice of sizes and price points. Despite the different formats of the original images - old slides, prints, computer printed pictures from on the fridge, even captures from old videos - the finished product is amazingly homogeneous.
There are other companies who do this – I think even Walmart makes photobooks – but you get what you pay for. I like to use Shutterfly.
Grandma's Lemon Syrup

Step 1: SORT.
Be selective. VERY selective. But also inclusive. Consider, is everyone involved accounted for? Might you want to scan recipe cards of family favorites in Grandma’s handwriting? Or wedding announcements from the paper? It’s really like scrap-booking on a grand scale. If you are into it, Shutterfly offers enhancements, just like scrap-booking. Or add your own captions.

It can be incredibly expensive to have slides scanned commercially, so even though my computer had a scanner, because of the number of slides I wanted to include I bought a dedicated scanner that scanned slides as well as prints. It was really worth it. This was a few years ago, but I bought an Epson Perfection V500 flatbed printer.  It works great. Besides scanning slides, it allows me to scan a bunch of photos of different sizes at once, basically fill up the flatbed, and (this is the important/timesaving part) save them as separate files. It saves so much time, instead of scanning separately or trying to crop them apart later. You might be able to borrow a scanner or get one used. Or get the family to chip in. They aren't that expensive any more.
But before you start, read the post Scanning Photographs and Slides
on my website.

Step #2 – ORGANIZE THE SCANNED PICTURES. Put everything in neat, orderly digital files. (Hear me laughing. I still have way too many pictures!) Copy all the pictures you think you want to use into a separate file, named "shutterfly book".
Then log onto shutterfly and upload your pictures. Now the fun really begins!

For step by step instructions on using Shutterfly, check out my blog post Making a Family Album with Shutterfly .

Your family will thank you.

And don't forget to enter the monthly giveaway:

March Prizes
1st Prize: $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

Until next month, stay home, be safe, and remember to wash your hands.

 Judith Hudson


PS - If you make a photo book - be sure to share the cover on my facebook group page! Judith Hudson Author - Let's Talk!


  1. What a great idea! Looks amazing!

  2. I have one photo album that is full. I now know where to get more. Thanks!

  3. Brilliant suggestion Judith! Will pass it along.

  4. This is a super idea, we can all use. Thank you!

  5. It's a big job if you are trying to do a whole family history, but each book is really fun to put together.Try it.

  6. Years ago my mother-in-law asked me to compile a book of her life for her grandchildren. I included not only photos but anecdotes and some family history. Her nieces and nephews saw it and wanted copies too. Then I did one for my mom which turned out a little longer because I knew more anecdotes about her family. The longest one was a couple of years ago of my dad's family. He had six brothers and a sister so there are a lot more people involved. I am so glad I got these family stories and photos in print. I wish I'd had the foresight to do this while some of the great aunts and great uncles were still alive. Such a great idea, Judy. I didn't know about Shutterfly and used a local printer for the first two and I think it was Amazon for the last one.

    1. I want to get my dad's family done while my mother is still alive (95 and still going strong). She sways drolly, "Do I have stories about them!"

      I did put the family history she'd written in her family book. It's a good thing to have.

  7. Thank you for your post! Hugs!

  8. Years ago I bought a whole pile of new photo albums. I slowly sorted out all the loose and old photo albums and created new albums we love to look through.

  9. I did an album for my oldest daughter's 21st birthday, and it was fantastic!!! I'd planned on doing one for our youngest daughter's 21 birthday, but just never did seem to get around to it! I really wish I had now! She will be 39 this August...maybe it's never to late!?!?!?

  10. This is wonderful. I'll never do it, but I wish I would. :-)

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. I think I broke Blogger. Left a comment, and got this weird message page that I had removed all comments. Hope not. Anyway, thanks Judy for this great post. I saved it with your links.


Due to the high volume of Spam comments, we are forced to install Comment Moderation and Word Verification. We apologize for the inconvenience.