3 Ways to Add the Year to a Photo Album

I wanted to share a little about my annual photo albums. I’ve noticed anytime I’ve shared about them in the past, like on our podcast or little mentions here and there, I tend to get questions and interest around them. It’s seriously the most simple thing, so maybe to some of you this will be boring. But this is a habit that brings me so much joy in my life, so why not share?

Like I said, these are incredibly simple and straightforward. Every year I have an album that I label with that year’s date that I fill up with printed photos. I almost always print my photos at home (I have a Canon PIXMA TS9521C printer that I use for work and for fun), and I try to do this about once a month. I print both DSLR and iPhone pictures, but I’ll be honest—it’s probably about 80% iPhone at this point. As I have time, I edit my photos with our app, A Color Story, and store them in a folder on my phone called “to print” until I have time that month to print them. Some months I have 25+ photos to print and some months I only have 5-6.

Although I very much LOVE photography and editing my photos, I also don’t get too hung up on the look of my photos for my annual albums. My philosophy is “better than done” than putting it off forever. And I’ve found that sometimes the task of gathering, editing, and printing my photos can feel overwhelming, so I make it as simple as possible for myself so I actually get those photos off my camera/phone and into my album.

I also print photos that are VERY random/not exactly picture perfect. My goal is to remember my real life and not every day is perfectly lit or pretty. Let me show you a few examples from last year’s album.

At the moment, a big part of my relationship with my nieces (and my sister) includes Face Time. So I sometimes screen shot one of us calling the other, just to remember these little moments. 🙂 This was after crazy hair day at Nova’s preschool so she was looking extra adorable.

One of my older nieces got a cell phone for Christmas this year. So we’ve been texting emojis and pictures back and forth a lot and I will probably print a screen shot of that because I just think it’s this cute little picture into our relationship at this age and I love it.

Another big part of my life is my career, which involves a good amount of video meetings. One day Trey, Elsie, and I were meeting over Skype or something and I took a screen shot to print for my annual album (and also to troll Elsie) because it was like 10 a.m. and she was eating a popsicle. Ha! But I just want to remember my life this year and this season because it won’t always look this way, so I’m printing whatever random photos for my albums I can to capture this time.

It probably goes without saying, but the majority of my annual photo album contains the usual, well-edited, pretty photos of vacations and holidays and all that. I just wanted to show a few random things I also include just to show how committed I am to printing my life’s memories and not being too precious about it.

I like to buy fabric albums like this and add the year to the spine. Here are three ways I add the year to a photo album:

First is fabric transfers. In the above photo, you can see I bought a gold metallic fabric transfer sheet, cut out the numbers, and ironed them onto the side of the album following the instructions of the transfer. Super simple and I like that you can find lots of different colors. Although cutting out the numbers is a little difficult, this isn’t pictured but I would recommend an X-Acto knife in addition to scissors (I love this glittery pair).

Another way to add the year to a photo album is to print the numbers to a fabric transfer paper and then iron those in place. I like how clean this can look, and you can use any color or font you have on your computer. And if you don’t want to mess with fabric transfers and ironing things onto the fabric, here’s one last way to add the year to a photo album—just buy sticker labels and use any acid-free glue to secure them in place. Easy!

As you can see, the look of my albums vary slightly, but they all look good together on a shelf (to me). When I make more albums, I usually make at least two, but sometimes more just so I’m already prepared for coming years before they sneak up on me. This year, I’ve already printed photos from last month and I’m excited to see what fills up my 2020 album! Thanks for letting me share. xo. Emma

Credit // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • I love the idea of having the more candid screenshots – that’s not something I would have thought to do, but you’re so right about wanting to remember your life as it is!

  • Thank you so much for your tips, Emma! I have 10 years of photos/trips/memories since my daughters were born that I really want to make albums for. This inspired me to get going. 🙂

  • i love this, emma!! i do a monthly review (which im really behind on!) because i realized that when i don’t document things it’s way easier to remember the bad. there is so much joy in everyday life especially when i take the time to appreciate and notice it. my september memories: https://tps-steph.blogspot.com/2020/02/0055-september-favorites.html
    (told you i was behind ????)

  • Thank you for remembering me to do this! I’m guilty of not printing anything and then worrying about what would happen in case of a computer crash!

    Your albums are beautiful – I esp. love the candid pics of everyday life. Do you also journal a bit inside the pages or are they just photos?

  • Hello Emma, I’m so happy to see ABM continue to post about photos and memory keeping. I need to keep it more ‘top of mind’ in 2020 and get better at printing., so thank you for the reminder/inspiration!

  • I *love* the artwork about your bar cart! Just amazing! I love the photo album idea, too 🙂 but that art is on point!

  • Aww, so cute! This makes me want to actually print out my photos in an album instead of having them just online, where I basically never look through them. Thanks for the fun post! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.