Photo Albums in the 21st Century: An Idea to Capture Your Family Memories

IMG_1673On a recent visit home, my mom was in the midst of a project to organize family photos. I helped her with some dating and had the usual “what was I thinking?” reaction (or rather what was my mom thinking dressing me like that?!) It also got me thinking about how much cameras and pictures have changed in such a short time.

Do you remember dropping off your film and picking it up? Our kids are only going to know of such habits through old movies like One Hour Photo (and that’s only going to leave a very weird taste in their mouth!)

With two kids, I wanted to figure out our modern day spin on photo albums. For us, it was not going to be the massive 1990’s binders that my parents had used, but I still wanted to give my kids the same experience I remember, of picking up those albums and looking through them many times over the years. I don’t just want my kids scanning through pictures on my phone; I want something physical for them to hold.

21st Century Photo AlbumI discovered Blurb back when I was pregnant with my second child, Cora. I had the idea of making a book to get my older son, Jack, used to the idea of a baby soon joining our family. The website made laying out photo spreads (with text if you choose) and creating your own photo book very easy. Thus was born “What Babies are Like” by “Mommy Landry,” delivered to my door for a total price tag of less than $25.

June.9.2014 119Since I found the experience so easy, I decided to use this tool to start creating yearly birthday books. As a birthday present for my child, I’d create a book about them with pictures from the past year. It would be a meaningful present and a way of encapsulating a whole year of their life in a physical “album.”

I got a late start as my first book was “A Boy Named JACK,” capturing Jack age 3-4. (But then again, Jack is my first child, so he has a lovely first year scrapbook, and old-school photo albums of his toddler years.) Cora’s second birthday came next, and she received “A Baby Girl Named Cora,” the third title by “Mommy Landry.”  She absolutely loves this little book about her!

If you are interested in making a Blurb book, here are a few tips:

Select your pictures first

I create a folder on my computer and then browse back through photos from the past year. Photos that I think I want to use, I drop into the new folder. When I begin my new book on Blurb, I upload all photos from this folder and then can easily choose the best photos, which can be dragged and dropped into spots in my book.

Navigate the site

There are a few routes you can go on the site, and I’ve opted for the most basic. I use the basic Blurb tool that lets you “make a photo book easily with pre-designed layouts.” You can then choose from the basic Bookify program, The Designer Collection, or make an Instragram photo book. Then choose your book size (I’ve opted for the smaller 7 in. by 7 in. square books), make a few more selections, and you’re on your way.

Practice good time management

If you are making a birthday book, plan to start the project a solid month out. It will probably be something you work on for 30 minutes here and there over a few days. The book prices are cheap!  My books were around $17, but I paid nearly twice that when I fell behind for Cora’s present and had to pay extra for quicker shipping to receive it in time for her birthday.

What are your ideas for preserving family memories in the 21st century?


  1. I am totally going to make some of these for the kids – they LOVE pictures (Hadley has perfected “cheeeeeeeeese”) and this is just too easy!


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