Books have a unique way of stopping time in a particular moment and saying: Let’s not forget this. ― Dave Eggers
Let me first begin by noting, that for all of the images I share (a lot!), I’m terrible about printing. I have crested 3000 images shared on IG just this last week, and easily have a thousand more here. Readers have on occasion asked how I print or keep the images (aside from my back-up hard drive), and the quick answer is I don’t. I have a few individually printed, but having 3000 individual prints around the house can feel equally as cumbersome. Still, I’ve realized in recent years as my children scroll through our computer’s photo library or my camera roll or IG feed, I need to print more. In our digital age, there’s something remarkable, almost sacred, about holding something concrete. In teaching my children to handwrite letters, I’ve learned that a different function occurs in the brain when you write a word in pencil on paper than when you type that same word on a screen. It wedges itself just a little deeper into your memory faculty. I’d like to think a printed image, or even a book of them can do the same.
It is common for young parents to hear how quickly the years go by and how we’ll miss them when they do. “Soak up the days,” older parents admonish. Although I have done my best to do exactly that, it wasn’t until the end of 2013 that I actually felt the slipperiness of time. Our youngest, Olive, would turn five a few months into 2014, and suddenly I felt the weight of a changing season for our home. No more nursing or potty-training. No more nap-time or strollers. No more jibber-ish talk or sink baths. 2014 would be an official sign-off to the baby/toddler/early-preschool years, and I wanted to document it, to store up what little bits I could. A form of closure? Possibly. Inspired by my online friend Jodi, I began a personal 52 Project in our home in 2014 and 2015. It was far more challenging than I expected, but it caused me to see our days in a new way, to see my children in a new way. I’m so grateful for these small recorded bits of their childhood. And although there are umpteen other images and stories to print, I wanted to make sure these were hardbound in a book.
PRINTING THE 52 PROJECT BOOKS
There are of course a variety of ways to design and print this sort of project. Price and time is always a factor, and perhaps the trickiest part of this one is incorporating text with the images. Earlier this year, Ronnie of life: captured and I worked together to create a template for my 52 project book, and I’m so excited to share the template will be available for you through their site in early October! You can follow them here to find out when it releases. I printed the book through Artifact Uprising, which I highly recommend for high-quality printing. I simply waited for one of their sales (typically around a seasonal holiday) for a discount. They also have page templates that are easy to click-and-drag, but the text may take a bit to type out and organize if you go that route.
PRINTING INSTAGRAM BOOKS
If you have not signed up with Chatbooks, do it now. While the printing is not the best on the market, it is wonderful for the $8 price-point. I subscribed early last year, which simply means every time I post an image to IG, it automatically fills another page in my Chatbooks. When I have reached 60 pages, it gives me three days to preview and make any changes and then auto-ships directly to my house. Eight dollars. It’s a way to simplify one part of my life, and the kids adore them. I’m considering ordering a back up of each one to keep away in a safe place. If you’re interested in trying one for free, use the code CLOIS678. But I promise, if you consistently share images on either Instagram or Facebook, you’ll love them.
CLASSES FOR PHOTO ORGANIZATION AND DESIGN
I’m quite interested in transforming the archives of this space into book/booklets for our home (and possibly others someday). Over the last two years, I’ve taken two courses with life:captured and I cannot recommend either enough. The Photo Organization class was life-changing for my work flow and photo storage, and the InDesign for Beginners class gave me so much vision and help to design my own storybooks and other personal project books (you can read more of my thoughts on the class here). Although I am still quite slow with the layout, I appreciate the skills I’m learning and now sharing with my children, too. I’m mentioning both classes today––even though they’re indirectly related to printing––because the fall sessions for these courses are beginning again next week, and registration ends on Monday (Sept. 26). To all of you who have oodles of images clouding your virtual space, or who are interested and yet unfamiliar with layout design, or who want to learn more about how to capture a story with your camera (phone or otherwise), give yourself an early Christmas gift. Wink. Wink.
And if you’re interested (and still reading) in reading more of how I keep memories, you can also find my “Storytellers” interview from the summer here. Happy new week to you all. Keep a bit of time to hold your story, whether by your heart or a book.
Hello Bethany! I have been overwhelmed as of late by the lack of organization of my pictures. At best, I have them in random folders on my computer. Can you explain a bit more about project 52? What is it? I tried to follow the link but couldn’t find any additional information about the nature of the project. Thank you! Appreciate all that you do and share, I am a mother of two, new to the homeschooling world.
I know, my own archives in this space can be convoluted still. The 52 Project is one where you take a portrait of your child(ren) once a week for a year. I coupled my images with a little note to each of them, something I had noticed or something they might have learned or said, anything i think they might want to remember. It was a way for me to make sure I’m using my big camera more often (which I’ve certainly relaxed on again), and also noting important thoughts that i really do forget. This book and the next one are the culmination of that project. I may take it up again in the future, but I needed to focus on different things this year. But I do treasure it.
Thank you for the clarification… I am in the market for a DSLR, wanting to put my iPhone down more and allow my children to see me using a camera for pictures, a house phone for phone calls, a computer for work! That is a whole topic on its own… But which DSLR do you use? Do you love it? I have been doing a lot of research and mostly I am just more confused… Canon? Nikon? Wi-fi? Megapixels? Oh my.
I use a Nikon D700, and I’ve loved it. It’s not the most expensive body on the market but it has a lot of flexibility. My SIL has a D750 with wifi and video and I’d say if you can afford it, DO IT! The wifi makes it SO much easier to share online (IG or FB) and the video will simply be a gift for your home in years to come. I’m not actually particular about Cannon and Nikon (not tech-y enough), and I think both work beautifully and have their own perks. I hope this is helpful! xx
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this topic Bethany. I always love your perspective and your beautiful images. You are always an inspiration. I am doing my first 52 project this year for my three young children. It has been such a great way for me to store the memories of their little lives in my heart. I’m curious how you balance using your DSLR and your iPhone for photos. I used to take way more photos with my DSLR but am picking it up less and less as the months go on. I am feeling sad about that but also find it so much easier to stay on top of the photos with my iPhone. I have an app that backs them up automatically and I usually edit them as I go for instagram. I find I am feeling more overwhelmed with the images that need to be processed after I take them with my DSLR. I shoot in RAW and have thought of just shooting in JPG to make everything easier but that is so hard to do as a photographer. Curious what your thoughts are? Blessings to you!
Hi Hanni! You’ll treasure this project so much! One of the best parts of this project was that it encouraged me to use my DSLR more intentionally with the kids. I use my iphone the most still in our day-to-day and for social sharing. But I so appreciate having high-quality images of my children, too. Having one beautiful portrait (even when they weren’t looking at the camera) is such a gift now. I typically leave my camera accessible in the kitchen so I can nab it in a pinch, but I haven’t picked it up much lately. Thank you for the reminder!