How could it possibly be fast, you ask? Especially since we came back with over 500 pictures (from two cameras) and I loved lots of them! I really did have to simplify in order to make the goal of a quick mini book practical.
Here are a few things I used to make it happen:
- Since I usually spend some time during the trip itself enjoying looking at my photos, I put that time to work and started choosing favorites during the trip. That way after we got home I could finish narrowing down pretty quickly. I chose 54 pictures to print so I obviously didn't narrow that much! Since the book design is so simple, having that many pictures wasn't a problem.
- I cropped all of my pictures in portrait (up and down). This was my first instinct, but then because there were a few that wouldn't work that way I rethought and rethought it before I came back around to it again. The whole book would have been even faster if I had just accepted this idea to start with. Luckily, in the struggle I found a couple of helpful things to do to make it easier. I hope to post soon with more about that. But however it is managed, having all the pics in the same orientation made the book come together very quickly.
- I wrote the story right on the pictures before I even printed them. I used Picasa (a free program from Google) but lots of programs have a text tool. I chose a cute font and added all my text in white over the darkest corner of the photo. I only wrote on 23 of the photos, since a lot of them were just fun pics of the kids playing. I included a couple of stories - like Sammy's fear of the sand - by using brief comments over a couple of photos (see below).
- I printed the photos with a white border to add a double-matted look with a single matting. I love my Costco's print lab - cheap, fast and good quality (not all Costco's calibrate their printers as often... you'll have to check out yours) and the white border doesn't add to the $.13/print cost.
- I used nothing but plain black cardstock and a ribbon for the book. I cut 8.5x11" cardstock into 5.5x6.5 pieces, getting two out of each sheet. I scored each sheet just short of 1" from the edge, glued photos front and back, punched two holes and tied the whole lot together with a ribbon. It took less than an hour, with interruptions from Sammy, to put it together.