I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite past times is looking through my old family photo albums. My Mum was a star and for years used to create beautiful albums full of photos taken throughout the year, photos from family holidays to Portugal, days playing in the garden, special moments or even just the plain ordinary. What these albums do, is document my childhood, and provide amazing memories that may otherwise have slipped to the back of my mind. Like the time my brother found a large leaf and tied it over his ‘bits’ pretending to be Tarzan, or the time my Dad was so hot after a skiing trip that he had steam coming off his head. Ok, those ones might not have been forgotten, but you get the picture. A family album is all about reliving and reminiscing. And it’s fun for all the family, not just you. Your kids will love pouring over the photos now, and as they get older, they’ll introduce new family members who will love it too. I love visiting my parents-in-law in Australia. Every time we are there we dig out the old albums and assess what my hubby used to look like, and whether our son looks like him then!

All of this is why I find family photo albums so much fun to create. And there really is no time like the present to start working on yours. So how do you go about creating one? Here are some of the things to consider when creating your personalised album.

Sort your Photos

Before you can create a family album, you’ll need to sort through your photos and decide which ones make the grade. Make sure you have photos of everyone in your family, not just one or two of them.

A family album is all about your particular family, but it doesn’t have to only be about the things you got up too together. You may decide to include certain things that one person did, for example, if one of the kids went on a school trip and has some photos you may decide to include a couple, but you won’t want hundreds of photos that focus on something that no one else was there for.

By going through all the photos in advance, you can do some good decluttering by getting rid of rubbish photos at the same time, but you’ll also find that by familiarising yourself with the photos in advance you’ll save yourself loads of time when you are designing the album. I always take the time to go through clients photos before I start designing as this way it is easier to build up a picture of how the album will look, and I know where each image is. This makes it much simpler to select images as I go along with the design, and when I think a particular image would work well, I know where to find it.

So when you are going through your photos, have a think about the album too, and what sort of layout you might want. Once you have the photos you want to include it can be a good idea to separate the images into folders, for example, particular holidays, events, time of year. This will save you time later on.

Sort your photos before designing the photo album

Once you have familiarised yourself with the images, and worked out which photos make the cut it is on to the fun part – the design!

Lay Out

It’s important to choose your lay out carefully when creating your custom family album. Most people will opt for a chronological layout, but you could choose to group photos by person or event. Remember, this album is personal to you and your family, so don’t be afraid to have some fun with yours if you want too. 

Play around with the layout, think about using generic/atmospheric shots as backgrounds to a page if you are creating the album digitally, or perhaps include your children’s artwork or poems to really give a rounded impression of what they got up too that particular year and create a truly bespoke album.

You can also choose whether you want a scrapbook look, with images overlapping, and laid in a haphazard way, or you may prefer a classic view with photos laid out in a straight and more neat appearance. Or maybe you are going for another look altogether. The choice is yours when you are creating a bespoke album!

It is when you get to this lay out stage that you will be grateful that you took the time before hand to sort out the photos you may want included. Whether you are doing a chronological album, or themed pages, it will be so much easier if you know that all the photos you want for each page or section are grouped together in specific folders waiting for you to just pluck them out and place in the album.

Mix people and landscapes

To create a fabulous family album that really captures the trip, make sure to intersperse images of people and landscapes. While the album is about your family, it can be nice to add an image of your location too – be it your family home, or holiday location. By adding these things, you set the scene of where you were and in years to come it will help to remind you all of exactly where you were when.

Use text

The use of text is really important. You can use it to caption images and people, or drop hints about what you got up too. You can use text in a subtle way or as an art form so that it adds an extra something to your album pages. Remember also to have a play around with fonts, sizes and layouts so that the text style matches the style of the page and album.

Text can be a great way to draw people in, and also acts as a reminder or prompt for people who weren’t there so that they know what was going on in an image. Yes, these may be photo albums but text can be really important, and a fabulous way to adding that extra personal touch. From poems, quotes from a book you read on holiday, to simple captions, don’t forget to include text where appropriate. Here’s an image of one of my favourite pages that uses text to bring the page alive.

Messages can be written into an album as part of a story, or included as short letters to the recipient

Don’t restrict yourself

If there is a particular moment or event that was really fun or memorable for the family and that you have loads of photos of, don’t restrict yourself. By adjusting the size of photos you can squeeze lots of photos onto one page if you want too and really capture the fun of that day.

You can also scale up and devote whole pages to the photos that you really love and that stand out to you as being special, whether it’s an image of one of you or all of you. It may even be a fantastic photo of a family pet.

To create an unforgettable album you want to play around with photo sizes to make the pages stand out and the album tell your story in a way that is personal to you.

Frame your photos

To really make your photos stand out, have a think about creating borders around your photos. Whether this is a digital album to be printed, or a more traditional album in which you are physically sticking in the photos, adding a frame can really help an image stand out and also provides a way of making the album more personal to you.

The other thing frames can do is provide a unified feel throughout the album. From simple white frames, to blocks of colour sitting under the photo, or patterned lines, borders can be all sorts of designs. Whatever your choice, they are a great add to make an unforgettable personalised family album.

Having said all that, images can also be striking when sat against a plain background page, creating a more classic and understated look so that whatever your style there is always a way to make your photos pop, and your book totally customised. You can see examples of a plain background page in the images to the left and right above.

The central image is on a plain background but the borders are colour matched to the images to make the photos pop from the page.

Personalised Album Cover

Once you’ve finalised the design of your pages, it’s time to think about the cover. There are lots of different options if you are having an album made from your digital design, from photo insets, to image wraps and sleeves. If you are using a photo in whatever form, try and find a photo that sums up the album; a photo of your family at some point over the period the album covers would work well.

The cover is the first thing you will see so it is important to get the front photo right as it will sum up your bespoke family album and give a hint to what’s to come inside! On the other hand you might opt for a more simple cover with some plain text, stating your family name and/or the dates the album covers. Choose whatever works for you.

I hope that the above has given you some inspiration into making your own personalised family album. If you need some help then don’t forget And Other Memories is always here to provide a hand. We can create your perfect album, in a style of your choice, offering the ultimate in luxury personalised albums. If you prefer to do it yourself, then use these tips to create a truly stunning bespoke album that is totally true to you. There really is nothing like a good family album for reminiscing, and having a physical book to look at is so inviting and allows you to move at your own pace through the images. Plus you can see a number of photos at a time on each page, allowing you to take it all in without having to flick through each one, one by one unless you want too, something that computers aren’t so good at!

Whatever you do with your family album, have fun creating it, customising it to you and reminiscing on the good times as you go!