The Family Yearbook

One of the Christmas gifts I wanted to give my wife was a 2020 family yearbook.

A few years ago, I would do one of these books either for Christmas or Mother’s Day but then I fell out of the habit of doing them.

To be honest, they are a little daunting, at least for me. I usually obsess over what photos to add, and I’m alway mentally keeping track of how many pages are in the book – the more pages, the higher the cost.

And it’s really hard to edit. I want to include everything from all three kids and any vacations and other special moments. To cull down to a book that’s not too skimpy or not overly long, it takes time. And my start time for working on these things is usually 10 pm, after everyone else is tucked away. But by that time, I’m running out of focus and energy as well.

There was one point in creating even this one that I was afraid I wasn’t going to finish it in time to get it back for Christmas. Again, more stress in doing it.

But a funny thing also happened as I was putting this together: Despite it being the craziest year we’ve ever had…I came across a lot of great memories of the past year. Things we’ll really want to look back on.

Like the Father’s Day that was a big splash, and some summer baseball games. This spread contains perhaps my funniest photo: The coach pointing a forehead thermometer into Matt’s mouth before a ballgame. Temps had to be taken…but I guess comes coaches were unsure of how exactly to do it!


Speaking of baseball, this is my favorite spread.

That vacation to Acadia National Park.

And the new pandemic puppy that made the scene.

Visual documentation that, while we may have been in lock-down for a most of the year, is evidence that we had a lot of adventures and experiences and smiles…..and yes, tears, too. Sometimes in the same spread (Matt’s broken arm in March, and his 9th birthday in October).

In the end, I did enjoy doing this project, my wife loved it, and I’m happy with how it came out.

So much so, I’m committed to doing my photo books this year. This project, coupled with Dan Milnor telling us to Just Make One, my interest in doing hotobooks is rekindled.

The closing spread – harkening to the cover, but without the masks. And paying homage to Roxie, who we lost in 2020.

While the pressure of the deadline helped, I want to take some time now and do other ones. I used Shutterfly for this book and it came out pretty well. Easy to add photos into different templates, and to change page backgrounds. I know Printique does nice books and I want to try Blurb as well.

Like I always say, though, make prints. And, make books! If nothing else, try making your own family yearbook. And let me know how it goes!


© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2021

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5 thoughts on “The Family Yearbook

  1. I created at least two photo books of the kids before they turned eight. They were born before digital cameras were a serious thing and even once I had a digital camera getting those into a photo book meant making a print. They are now 20 and almost 22.

    This year would have been a shitty year for a photo book. My adult kids didn’t want to celebrate anything. No birthdays. They haven’t left the house. The photo album would be just 10 photos.

    • Maybe that’s the photobook, then – cooped up, pandemic and chill? LOL! I’ve been also trying to document the homeschooling we’re doing with my boys…they don’t like it when I pull the camera out so often it’s just my phone. But they are wise to that, too.

  2. Your photobook reminds us serious and wanna-be serious photographers to not forget the images of the family around the house. We get so caught up chasing photos away from home that we forget to take photos of those near and dear to us. I’m guilty of this and am trying to mend my ways.

    • It certainly is challenging. Even myself, it seems easier to a portrait shoot with a perfect stranger (client) thank to do the “family” photos at Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. But, yes, document our lives!

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