Interview: Jessika’s New Zealand Photobook

Jessika's New Zealand Photobook

I scrapbook my photos.  It’s my hobby and how I like to showcase my pictures.  Just because I scrapbook my photos doesn’t mean you have to.  If you do scrapbook, it doesn’t mean you have to use the same methods I do (or anyone else for that matter).

It’s more important that you do something with your photos no matter what that is.  I suspect sometimes people are overwhelmed by what other people do with their photos and then do nothing.

When my friend Jessika told me she finished a photobook for her New Zealand vacation, I asked her some questions about it.

When did you take the trip?

We took the trip in November of 2012. I have no excuse why I haven’t worked on the book until just recently. I think because we returned and immediately had to slip into “holiday-mode,” it was easy for me to put the book off. So, I think from now on, I’ll try to figure out when I’ll work on future books better. Having a set aside preferred time to do it maybe means it will be done sooner.

How long was it and where did you visit?

We visited New Zealand, and we were there for just under two weeks.

Why did you end up going with a photobook?

I scrapbooked for a little while, and I love how creative you can be with a scrapbook. However, I have other hobbies I love and I finally came to the realization that I could not also scrapbook. I also like having the option of reprinting a photobook should it get damaged. Finally, I like how quickly I can put a book together. It might not be as beautiful as a scrapbook, but it still holds the purpose that’s the most important to me: cataloging experiences and photos (before I lose the photos and the experiences become faded!). I also like that I can get the project done with and then the worry of losing photos disappears– I’ve captured everything in the book!

What are your feelings now that it’s finished?

Relief. Achievement. I feel like I’ve time capsuled a special trip before it faded too much.

What are your feelings re the amount of description you put with the photos?

My previous books… I’ve put in too much description. I’ve realized that I don’t need to document EVERYTHING. Some things just don’t need to be documented. And, in looking back at my old books, I described things in 20 sentences where I could have just used one to two sentences.

So, with this New Zealand book, I was very minimal about my descriptions. I think this will be harder to do when there are stories behind pictures, but I love how the NZ book turned out so much that I think I’ll keep with my short and sweet approach from now on. For example, we went to the Zealong Tea Plantation in NZ. The old me would have described it, then talked about the tea heater, then talked about what type of tea we drank and the weather and etc etc. Instead, in the book, I put in a large page-wide photo of the plantation, and then four pictures on the next page of us drinking tea and goofing off with bronze statues of teapots. The caption? “Zealong Tea Plantation.” With those pictures, further descriptors really weren’t necessary. And, as a result, the book looks cleaner.

Any thoughts on the tradeoffs between getting something finished versus spending more time on it?

For me, getting it finished was important. I worry about losing camera chips or computers dying with photos saved on them. I’m also passionate about my other hobbies, and there are only so many hours in the day to be crafty.

Doing a photobook with less wordy descriptions means that I finished more quickly and I included photos that were important, not filler. It’s also helped guide what types of photos I take on a trip, and to have a plan on when to photobook when we return.  This system works for me because I have other preferences– just stay true to what you want to do and what works out best for your worries and time allocations.

I love everything Jessika had to say about this.  She did something that worked for her.  I like how she realized she didn’t need to add descriptions ad nauseam.  Sometimes I worry that I’m not capturing everything about a story.  This reminds me that I don’t have to.

The point?  Whatever works for you is perfect.

Do you have a photo album, photobook, or scrapbook you worked on recently?  I’d love to talk with you about it!

Wood grain image courtesy Andrew Taylor via Creative Commons license.

Taking the “Right” Amount of Photos on Vacation

Paris Vacation Photos by Natalie Parker

I was chatting with a friend this week about how to take the “right” amount of pictures on a vacation.  I could totally say “do what works for you,” but that’s not really helpful, is it?  If you’re someone who will later use your vacation photos for an album or scrapbook, here’s what I think.

If you take too few photos: you may find later that you don’t have much to work with album-wise (whether it’s a scrapbook, photo book or something else).  Don’t feel like you have to take pictures all the time, but maybe make sure you snap a few per day or per location and don’t forget to get at least one picture of yourself and travel companions together.

If you take too many photos: memory card space is cheap and it’s really tempting to snap away and figure it out later.  Mr. P used the multiple exposure setting in Antarctica.  When we got home, I had 2-3 shots of each photo.  A huge amount of photos can be very very overwhelming when you want to make an album and may make you avoid starting it.  If you end up with a ton of photos, make sure you sit down within one week of getting home to do a first cull.  Delete anything that’s blurry or bad.  If you have 2-3 of a shot, make a quick decision and keep one.  This way your set will be a bit tidier when you want to make an album.  It’s very hard to find the time and desire to go through photos right after vacation but trust me, if you have a ton, you should do it!  You won’t regret it!

How do you find that Goldilocks amount?  (as in, “just right”)  Practice, practice, practice.  I’ve had vacations with too few and too many photos.  When I do that initial cull right after I get back, I think about what worked and what didn’t.  I’m getting a lot better at getting the shots I want to get and knowing how to frame them.  I’ll take fewer but better ones.  I don’t think I’ll ever be perfect at it!

China Vacation Photobook

My China photobook is done!

I now have 5 out of 6 vacation memory keeping steps complete!  Technically I think it’s 5.5 steps because I have half of step 6 (careful storage of mementos) complete.

I create a photobook for each vacation before I work on the scrapbook.  I discussed all the reasons why when I got back from Egypt last year, see the post on that here.

Same drill as last time, this is a 5×7″ photobook from MyPublisher.  Their software has gotten even better since last year and they make everything so easy.

I always start the book with a statement picture – this time it was the red lanterns on Gui Jie (Ghost Street).

I put text on each page where I started a new city but left the rest text-free.

Then I made lots and lots of pages.  This book is about 60 pages.  MyPublisher’s standard pages are very thick and high quality.

On the last page, I used a grid of pictures from everywhere on the trip, plus the cool “End” sign.

On the back cover, I put a picture of us.  I decided to make it a “thing” to put us on the back since I did the same with our Egypt Photobook.

Again, I’m really pleased with the quality and MyPublisher isn’t paying me to do an advertisement here.  When the book arrived at my office, my coworkers were very impressed with the quality and how good the pictures look when they’re printed and bound.

Minibook: Everything We Ate in China

China Food Travel MinibookI’ve never made a mini-book before.  Funny, right?

I wanted to do some sort of fun project about all the food we ate on our trip to China.  I started by taking a picture of everything we ate, beginning on the plane ride.  Mr. P and our friends were gracious in not touching anything on the table until I got a shot of it – they even reminded me to take photos!

Shopping in Beijing, I found this awesome little book.

China Food Travel MinibookI printed the food pictures as 2-inch squares when I got home, and then left a 1/8-inch white border when I cut them out.

China Food Travel MinibookI was a little concerned that the thickness of all the photos was going to mess with the binding of the book, but the finished product is actually pretty cool!

China Food Travel MinibookI sat in front of the TV with these supplies and went to work.

China Food Travel MinibookI used a date stamp to stamp each page with the date the meal corresponded to.

China Food Travel MinibookThen I taped in each picture and wrote a few words.

I also wrote divider pages for each city we were in.

China Food Travel MinibookNot bad for a first attempt?  I like how minibooks have an effortless look, so I hope I succeeded.

I’ve included a bunch of pages below so you can look at them.  I used over 80 photos, so this is just a sample!

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Vacation Photobook

Vacation Photobook

It’s getting time for vacation season!

We like to have pictures ready to show people when we get home from vacation.  Doesn’t everyone?  I don’t scrapbook with 4×6″ prints, so printing a bunch would be a waste.

Enter the MyPublisher Hardcover Pocketbook.  It starts at $19.99.  They have a soft-cover version starting at $9.99 but I like the feel of the hardcover.  The book is a little over 5×7.”

Vacation PhotobookThis gives us a durable, pretty album that we can take to grandparents’ houses and leave on our coffee table.

Vacation PhotobookI’ve been a MyPublisher customer for years because I love the quality and I can get great sales.

I plan the photobook as soon as we get home from the vacation.  I decide about how much I want to spend, how many pages that will give me and then divide up the pages to cover parts of our trip.

I know, I’m methodical.

Vacation PhotobookI put the book together and wait for MyPublisher to run a sale (which they do often).

Vacation PhotobookI made this one to showcase pictures from our trip to Egypt and Jordan last year.  I used the basic templates available on MyPublisher.  Since then, they’ve updated their software to be even more awesome and give you more template options.

Vacation PhotobookThis doesn’t replace the scrapbook.  I have tons of travel keepsakes that will go in a scrapbook with these pictures.  This is a compliment that conveniently shows a ton of pictures in portable form.

Vacation PhotobookAny products endorsed on this blog are products I actually use and like.  I have not accepted any freebies or payments in exchange for promotions.

Little Albums for Little Hands

How do you share your pictures with little kids?

I have an adorable niece and nephew and I wanted a fun way to show them pictures of our travels without boring them through a slide show.

The objective: find something easy to make and inexpensive.  This way if they destroyed it, no big deal.

My Mini by MyPublisher

Enter the My Mini book.  It was perfect!  Here’s why:

  • Price: only $2.49!
  • Simplicity: 20 pages, 1 picture per page plus 1 picture for the cover.
  • Size: 2.75×3.75 inches, perfect for small hands!
  • Fonts: you can use any font on your computer for the cover!

Why MyPublisher?  There certainly are other similar products out there.  I used MyPublisher to make wedding album gifts and was really pleased with their products.  Plus, you don’t have to upload every single picture from your trip like you have to do with other systems.  MyPublisher lets me cruise around my hard drive for the photos I want to use, lets me change my mind a thousand times, and I only have to upload the finished book.

The verdict?  The kids loved them.  My six-year-old niece is trying to convince us to take her to Paris.

These albums are so darn cute that I’m trying to come up with more reasons why I need to order more!

Note:  I was not paid by MyPublisher to endorse this item just as I am not paid to endorse anything.  I only feature items that I love and actually use.