If you grew up in the 80's, your mother like most mothers at that time, probably chronicled your childhood religiously. By the time we were in our teens, they must have had at least two bookshelves full of peel and stick photo albums.

While the days of the peel and stick albums may be behind us, the tradition of family photo keeping is something that we still love. But it’s not just for holidays or vacations anymore, creative moms all over the world are coming up with beautiful and unique ways to document their family’s lives. With so many creative ideas for family photo keeping, we are so excited to bring you three of our favorites today: here are three creative ways for you to capture your best family memories in a photo book.



Photo-A-Day Photo Books : The Family Photo Book to Celebrate the Little Things

The Photo-A-Day Challenge Photo Book is the perfect way to capture a snapshot of your family’s life: from bedtime rituals to breakfast chaos, creating a Photo-A-Day Photo Book is the best way to capture the moments that may not seem particularly important at the time, but are the moments that end up defining our lives.

How to start: aim to take one photo every day for a month or, if you’re feeling ambitious, every day for one year. The photo can be of anything – the mundane, the chaos, the traffic, anything, and jot down your notes on the day. These notes can be a description of the moment, quotes of a funny thing that your kids said/did, or how that moment made you feel.

The truly special thing about capturing these moments is that it celebrates the extraordinary in the ordinary. Often, we only remember to take photos of the traditionally “big” moments in our kid’s lives: first day of school, birthdays, or Christmas, but sometimes, it’s the day-to-day moments that hold so much more meaning than we might have thought. 





Yearly Interview Photo Book : The Family Photo Book to Celebrate Growing Up

Not only are your little ones sprouting like beanstalks, but their personalities are changing at the same time. It’s incredible to see the difference that a year makes in the life of your child.

The concept of the Yearly Interview Book is simple but long-term: it starts with setting a yearly date to interview your kids (and maybe even your partner and yourself). A friend of ours takes a photo and interviews her son on the day after his birthday, every single year. The interview always has the same ten questions: from what he wants to be when he grows up to his favorite color.

We’ve seen a few of these amazing books come across our printer in the last couple of years. The concept is simple and is an amazing way to chart how your family has grown over the years and how your little one’s personalities (and opinions) develop.

You can write their answers down and re-type them or handwrite them in your book.

Creative tip: If you’re feeling particularly tech-savvy, you can record your kids using your phone and convert the recording into a QR code (you know, those barcodes that you see on advertisements sometimes).

Start by recording your interview, then upload the recording to the internet (use a private YouTube channel), then create your QR Code on a website like http://www.qrstuff.com/. From here, you can upload the image of the scannable QR code (and the recording), into your book.

Ten years from now, you can flip back and listen to your adorable 3-year old’s voice.







The “Ten Favorite Family Holidays Moments” for Photo Book: The Family Photo Book for the Busy Mom

Ah yes, the family holiday. A time to relax, restore and enjoy yourself. Right?

Not likely: if you are a parent with children on a vacation then you’ve probably got your hands full. Whether it’s making sure that everyone is covered head to toe in sunscreen (or at the bare minimum still surviving), the idea of recording every single moment of your vacation can feel like a huge task. And who really wants to spend their holiday behind the lens of a camera taking a thousand pictures rather than actually experiencing anything?

This is why we love “Ten Favorite Things Photo Books” — the ultimate “short but so sweet” family holiday photo book that requires only ten photographs from your family’s best holiday moments. Add in quotes and memories from your family members and you’ve got yourself the perfect holiday keepsake — all without having to sacrifice your sanity.





The Family Selfie Book : The Family Photo Book that You Are Actually a Part Of

The last favorite photo book isn’t actually all that creative, in fact, it feels a bit obvious.

It came to mind when a friend of ours said that all of the photos of her family vacations appeared as if only her son and husband were on them, despite her being on every single vacation. In being the thoughtful mother, intent on capturing her family’s special moments, she accidentally left herself out entirely.

How, you may ask, did she finally feature in a family photo? Que the family selfie: yes, that’s right, a “felfie”. Welcome to a world where mom actually appears in family photos rather than just taking them. Yes, we know, the selfie may seem cringe-worthy at first, but it is so important that you are a part of your family’s moments because, at the end of the day, you’re their mom and, years from now, they will thank you for capturing the moments that you had together.




Feeling inspired?







*Images courtesy of Winky Lewis of www.winkylewisphoto.com, Kieran Scott of kieranscottphotography.com and Tim Harper of thomproductions.com.


Long distance relationships: as much as we try to avoid them, it’s likely that at one point or another, you’ve had at least one. Whether you were the one who left, or you were the one who was left, distance is something that we’ve all had to deal with. As much as you know you’ll have new relationships, there is that fear that the distance will hurt your old ones.

There’s always that initial period of fretting: organising numerous Skype dates and phone calls, but, as time goes on, the calls become less frequent and slowly but surely, you find that you’ve drifted. Until one day, years later, you meet again and you’re both filled with apprehension, ‘Will it be the same? Will they even like me anymore?’. And then there is that moment when you first see their face and they crack that familiar smile, that you realise you were worried about nothing; there are some relationships that can survive anything.

Yes, long distance relationships - we all have at least one, whether it’s your best friend, boyfriend, parents or siblings who live millions of miles away. And sometimes, despite how much you love them, the distance can feel insurmountable.

But, in the face of these obstacles, they’re always there for you, in one way or another: through late night phone calls or cards on your birthday, through thick and thin. You may not get to see each other every day, but when you do, you’re right back to where you left off as if no time has passed at all.

They’re not the most convenient of relationships - time differences, life, family, and careers have a way of complicating even the strongest bonds. But as much as you hate living so far apart, in a way, sometimes the distance forces us to truly appreciate and celebrate the time that you do have together - a time that you normally might have taken for granted.

Here at MILK Books, we’re all about celebrating those moments, and while we know that seeing your precious memories in a book is an incredible feeling - sharing those moments with the people that you love is when the real magic happens.

For this reason, we’ve created the MILK Online Photo Book, the digital version of your MILK Books or Albums, that can be easily shared through social media or email with the people that you love, regardless of the miles that separate you.

Simply go to the ‘Online Photo Books’ page of your account and, with the click of a button, your best friend in Bali or grandma in Florida can be flipping through the online version of your wedding album with you. After all, if the distance hasn’t stopped your friendship, why should it stop you from sharing with them?

To celebrate the launch of our Online Photo Books, we’re giving away one MILK Archival Photo Album (valued at US$240) each month. To enter, share your MILK Online Photo Book or Album with us on our Facebook fan page or on Twitter using the hashtag #MyMILKBook, and you’ll be in the running. Help us celebrate the people who matter most to you; because these moments are best when shared.






Terms & conditions: Online Photo Book URL must be posted to the MILK Books Facebook page to qualify for entry to win a 24-page large MILK Archival Photo Album valued at US$250. Alternatively, share your Online Photo Book on Twitter to qualify for entry with the hashtag #myMILKBook. Competition will run each month until 30 June 2017. Winning book will be chosen on the last day of each month from the books shared during the current month and contacted via email. Winners decision is final by MILK. Gift voucher must be used within one transaction.






There is an undeniable draw to your childhood home — no matter where life leads you, no matter how many times you move, there is always that one place that truly feels like home. In this piece, photographer and photo book maker Suzanne O’Brien pays homage to her family's first home and shares with us her five tips to creating a truly memorable photo book. Take it away Suzanne:


Late last year we moved from our home of 15 years. This was the first home we purchased as newlyweds, the home where we started our family and raised our kids for the first 10 and 12 years of their lives. I loved this home and all of the memories created inside (and out) of those four walls.

Home Sweet Home | A Photo Book Love Letter to a Family Home of 15 years | suzanneobrienstudio.com

The idea to create a book honoring this special place had been percolating in my mind for awhile, but it was one simple moment that motivated me to move this book to the top of my project list. It happened on the night before our house went on the market. My son and I were clearing out the remaining items from the garage and he became so emotional he couldn't help any more. We're talking sobbing-in-the-driveway-while-hugging-a stuffed-animal-kind-of-sad. He was able to perfectly express the feelings behind his emotions, and boy could I relate to his biggest fear - he was scared he would forget all of the awesome memories we had created in that home.

Home Sweet Home | A Photo Book Love Letter to a Family Home of 15 years | suzanneobrienstudio.com



So I created this book as a love letter to all of those beautiful memories, to our home. The Moleskine by Milk 7x10 Portrait Monograph book was the perfect size for this small story. Inside the beautiful pages I was able to capture the visuals, and most importantly, the stories of each room.


Home Sweet Home | A Photo Book Love Letter to a Family Home of 15 years | suzanneobrienstudio.com

Here are five techniques I utilized to create an album that, despite including content spanning multiple years, flows and feels cohesive...


PLAN AHEAD

Many of the Moleskine books have a fixed number of pages (60 in the case of the book I selected) so it is helpful plan ahead. To get started, I counted the number of rooms/areas I wanted to include in my story. I then calculated that each space could have 2 pages (one layout), with the flexibility to add 2 extra pages for those areas (like the back yard shown below) that had a lot of photos.


Home Sweet Home | A Photo Book Love Letter to a Family Home of 15 years | suzanneobrienstudio.comHome Sweet Home | A Photo Book Love Letter to a Family Home of 15 years | suzanneobrienstudio.com




I also factored in the pages required to tell the story of the beginning (what the house looked like when we walked it in the open house) and the end of our time in the house. The end story included photos of us packing up and moving out, the garage sale we held, the marketing photos of our home staged to sell, as well as a photo and the personal letter written to us by the adorable family who purchased our home. I also created this timeline layout documenting the crazy timing of the whole process (we toured, bought and moved in to our new home in less than a month!)

Home Sweet Home | A Photo Book Love Letter to a Family Home of 15 years | suzanneobrienstudio.com

Planning out the structure of your book like this can remove some of the overwhelming "where do I even start" feelings experienced by many people at the onset of creating a photo book.

CREATE A DESIGN FORMULA

Once I knew the rough organization of the album, I employed one of my favorite book-making techniques - establishing a design formula that runs throughout the book. Since I knew I would be designing my book in Adobe inDesign, I set up a repeatable template that worked like this... Left Side (L) = title + image of space + a few stories + QR code (see below) Right Side (R) = images of life lived in that space L + R and repeat!

Home Sweet Home | A Photo Book Love Letter to a Family Home of 15 years | suzanneobrienstudio.com

Picking a design for your book that you can carry throughout minimizes the amount of decisions required and provides a consistency to your book that helps the reader flow through the pages.

UTILIZE KEYWORDS

Pulling a book together from photos throughout the years was made much easier by harnessing the power of keywords in my photo organization software. Because I had tagged all of my photos with keywords such as "House Play", "Bath Time" and "Backyard Play" I was able to more easily find those photos that highlighted all of the good things happening in our home. Consider this your gentle reminder of the benefits of spending the extra time to add some keywords to your photos!

Home-13


ADD LIFE WITH QR CODES

Do you have audio or video files that tell a part of your story that just can't be captured in an image alone? Include those in your book! The night before we moved out, I rounded up my family and we walked around the house together. Each person shared a favorite memory or two in every space. From the dent in the stairwell made by a flying folding chair to the annual growth chart on the linen closet door, these stories are what make a house a home. I recorded the narratives from each room as an individual audio file on my phone, converted to a QR code, and voila our voices telling our stories in these spaces are now included on each page! You can read more about the process behind adding QR codes to your book here.

Home Sweet Home | A Photo Book Love Letter to a Family Home of 15 years | suzanneobrienstudio.com




FINISH STRONG

Ending your book with some final thoughts or a poignant photo provides a sense of completion for your story. This book ends with a poem, Laughter in the Walls, that I have been holding in my heart since I first heard it as a new mom...

Home Sweet Home | A Photo Book Love Letter to a Family Home of 15 years | suzanneobrienstudio.com

As soon as this book landed on our doorstep, my oldest curled up on the couch with it and laughed her way through the stories and many funny pictures of her and her brother as little kids. My son is not yet ready to read it. I get that, it will be there whenever he is ready.

Home Sweet Home | A Photo Book Love Letter to a Family Home of 15 years | suzanneobrienstudio.com



Home Sweet Home | A Photo Book Love Letter to a Family Home of 15 years | suzanneobrienstudio.com




Website: http://www.suzanneobrienstudio.com/ 
Photo Book 101 Class: https://www.bigpictureclasses.com/classes/photo-book-101 
Instagram: @sobrien
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Ever since I returned to writing for myself a couple of years ago, I knew that I would want to compile and print my journaling in a hard copy format so that I could read my words in the same way that I would read an actual book. Creating these journals was truly a labour of love in the most beautiful way, and every time I hold these books in my hand and read my own heartfelt words, I am reminded of the need to keep writing to my dying day...

When I saw this blog post by my friend Liz from Paislee Press, I completely re-imagined this project and I decided to create Moleskine books through MILK Books.


The first step was to decide on a book format. This was a simple decision, as I didn't want the books to be too big and I ideally wanted them to be vertical in orientation. Plus, my intention from the very beginning was to print books without images, as I wanted these to feel more like (written) memoirs rather than photo books. With all this in mind, I quickly settled on the Classic Photo Notebook, which was the same format that Liz used for her photo book.

 I knew from the outset that I would be creating my own layouts in Adobe InDesign, so the second step was to set up a template using the software. To do this, I needed to know what size to make the pages. After playing with the web editor for a while, I realised that all full-page images are inserted into the book with a certain amount of bleed. (This is not the case with all photo book printing vendors so it is definitely worth clarifying printing specifications like this when you use a new printing company for the first time.) So even though the final size of the notebook is 5.12" x 8.15" (ie. 130mm x 207mm), I worked out that I actually needed to set up my pages in InDesign to be 140mm x 220mm, if I wanted my text to print at the 'right' size. (If I didn't do this, my words would be 'blown up' slightly due to the bleed requirement and the text would also appear closer to the edge of the page. More about this below.)

Once I set up the page size correctly at 140mm x 220mm, I created the following internal margins: 5mm for left/right, and 6.5mm for top/bottom. These internal margins acted as a important visual guide for me; whatever appeared inside these margins was what would appear on the printed page, and the area lying on the outside was essentially the bleed.


My biggest design tip when it comes to formatting text is to always create sufficient space between the text and the edge of the page. If there is not enough space, your page will inevitably look cramped and clumsy. This is why finding out about the bleed requirement as discussed above, and re-adjusting my page template accordingly, was such a crucial step. Taking into account the page size, I decided on 17mm as my page margin.

From there, I needed to typeset some sample text and that would essentially become my design template for the books. For each page, I worked out that I wanted to have a title for the journaling, the journaling itself (ie. the body copy), and the journaling date at the bottom of the page in place of page numbers.

I already had a template from a story book that I created over two years ago to document my pregnancy with Edward. That story book was a similar size to the Moleskine Classic Photo Notebook so I retrieved the file, copied over all my typesetting, and used that as a basis for the new template. I kept the typeface and font size for the body copy as Century Schoolbook and 8pt respectively. For the page title, I kept the typeface as Times Italic, but I reduced the font size from 14pt to 12pt so that the title wouldn't look disproportionately big in relation to the Moleskine page size (the other story book was wider). Plus, as much as possible, I didn't want my page titles to have to go over two lines. For the date at the bottom of the page, I decided to go with a contrasting typeface to make it clear that it was separate to the body copy; I chose a Light version of Helvetica Neue, which is my favourite sans serif typeface. I settled on 7pt as the font size so that the date wouldn't visually intrude on the page, and I also increased the kerning dramatically so that the date would stretch further across the page. In this way, the date almost doubled as a graphic element that marked the end of each page.



Once I was happy with the page template, I set about gathering all my personal writing from the previous years and working out how to split it over a few volumes. Unlike other story books that I've made in the past, the Moleskine Classic Photo Notebook has a set number of pages: 96. This made the process just a little trickier, but nothing that couldn't be worked around. First, I downloaded all my personal posts from 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 from both my old Pink Ronnie blog and The Shoemaker's Daughter blog using a software called MarsEdit. Then, I retrieved any additional personal journaling that I'd done via Simplenote (you can read more about that in this blog post). As I looked at all the words that I had from a 'big picture' perspective, I basically culled a series of posts that I didn't feel were personal enough or that warranted a separate story book of its own. This was perhaps the most lengthy and consuming part of the entire process, as it involved reading through a few year's worth of personal writing. By the end of it, I had words to fill a combined 2011/2012 volume, a 2013 volume, and a 2014 volume. Having a few blank pages at the end of each volume didn't worry me.

From there, the rest of the process was quite straightforward. I created a separate InDesign file for each volume and pasted in the page template that I'd created. I then duplicated the page template within each of the files until I had the requisite 96 number of pages. It then became a simple matter of copying and pasting in the text for each of the three volumes. I did this chronologically so that older journal entires appeared at the beginning of each volume, and the newer ones appeared towards the end.

Once all my pages for the three books were completed in InDesign, I exported the pages as JPEG images and then uploaded these to the online MILK Book Editor. I particularly liked the Quick Create function, which allows you to quickly and easily populate each of the 96 pages with full-page images. (I will try to add a tutorial for this to our Videos page at some point.)

For the cover images, I decided to stick with photos that I'd taken of my feet to represent the personal journey that I've been on. More importantly, I knew that I would be making more of these books down the track, and it would be easy to replicate the same type of image to create a consistent look and feel across the different volumes. All I had to do was upload the relevant cover image to the online editor when prompted and then crop/reposition it so that my feet were centred in the space. Similarly, for the book titles, I simply used the online editor to typeset the year(s) in capital letters, ie. TWENTY FOURTEEN for 2014, TWENTY THIRTEEN for 2013, etc.

Less than two weeks later, my books arrived in the mail, and I couldn't have been more pleased and happy with how they turned out. They were exactly as I imagined them to be, and the use of genuine Moleskine materials is simply unbeatable. Just holding these books in my hand is incentive enough to keep writing my heart out so that I can make more of them!


You can read more from Ronnie, purchase her templates, and learn about her online classes on her website Life Captured Inc. 
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