Because you're reading this, I know 2 things about you:
1. You love documenting all the days of your family's life
2. You take a lot of photos and this means they end up lost to the cloud and your camera roll
As with anything that experiences a constant influx of changes and moving parts, it requires a simple system. A plan that does not require much daily thought and input puts you in control without requiring huge amounts of your time and energy. With a plan like this, you're at ease knowing it's working for you, not against you.
The plan I teach, goes a little something like this:
Step 1: Get organized but make it fluid (like your photo taking)
Did you know that parents with kids at home under the age of 18, take a photo with their phone minimum 1-2 times per day. That's just minimum. So, if you do that math and you only shoot the minimum (which we know you're not doing), then that means you end up with a minimum of 730 photos at the end of the year. Multiply that by 2 because you're spouse or partner is also contributing here. And that puts you at 1,460 minimum photos. Add a few hundred for events and vacations x 2 = 600 and then add in your videos; on average 400 and you're up to 2,460 minimum files. What the What?!
So, what does this all mean? It means you need to organize your photos and videos to fit this kind of activity. My biggest suggestion: find a cloud that will accommodate this and allow you and your partner to share storage. This means that any photos and videos backed up will go to the same place. When everything is in a single place, it is easier to organize and control. This also means when it comes time to making your photo books, you have already have access to ALL the photos you will want to choose from - yours AND your partner's. If you're curious, I recommend Amazon Photos.
Step 2: Know your limits (in other words, your budget and your goal)
One of the biggest lessons I learned from doing anything creative is to give yourself some parameters. When you do this you focus your efforts. You give whatever you are seeking to accomplish some context, and in effect a direction. You might be thinking: wouldn't that stifle your creativity and not allow you to spread your artistic wings? The answer to that is (in my experience) just a plain no. With focus and direction, your creativity flourishes and unexpected solutions and directions become apparent. It causes you to problem solve in a way you couldn't have imagined if you didn't set those parameters in the first place.
The same thing, believe it or not, goes for making photo books! There are two parameters that will make the creating of your photo book a lot easier. First, your budget. Your budget will determine the number of photos you can choose for your book - because the more photos you have the more expensive your book will be to print. Once you know this boundary, you know your second parameter: your photo number goal or the total number of photos you are picking for your photo book. Because you are choosing only the best photos to fit into your goal, this limit will automatically have you asking: "Is this photo worthy of my photo number goal? Does it truly represent the best of this moment and the story I want to tell?" The answer will be a quick yes or a quick no. And you will exponentially cut down the time it takes to make your photo book!
Step 3: Curate today not tomorrow (or, worse, at the end of the year)
You've probably heard me preach it from the mountain tops, but curating in "Real Time" will make it 100 times easier to make photo books when the time comes. So, what does that mean exactly? It means figuring out a simple, but effective, schedule for yourself to choose your favorite photos and videos. Whether that schedule is daily, or weekly, or monthly - it doesn't matter. But taking your photo curation in chunks instead of trying to tackle it when you have thousands of photos at the end of the year, will save you time and your sanity. Plus, since you already know your photo number goal (see step 2!) then you can break this down even further. Let's say your goal is 144 photos, you can break this down to approximately 12 favorites per month!
I wrote a detailed post about curating in this way. You can find here: How to Get your Photo Books Done in 2 Minutes or Less Every Day
There's your plan in action. Do you see how each leads into the next and how all together they give you clear action without lots of time and effort? That's the plan you need and that's the plan that will lead to your family gathering together to relive your best stories around your beautiful photo books!
Nichole Healy is the Founder of Memory My Way where families get the help they need to rescue their memories from the cloud. Memory My Way pairs members with a professional Designer who custom creates their family photo books for them - saving tons of precious time. To learn more about how Memory My Way can help you, go here.