When my first daughter was born, I had high hopes of creating a scrapbook showcasing each of her birthdays.  I started off strong, leaving a new scrapbook open for friends and family to write in during her first birthday party.

For year two, I forgot about the book, so instead, I held onto the cards she received and cut out the hand-written messages.  I diligently added the notes, stickers, and photos to the book; and, managed to keep up with that process for a total of 6 years.  Then I just stopped.  Work, mothering, life, a couple of children, and I just couldn’t keep up.

However, by starting this project years ago, I realized that documenting and showing the progression of a repeating event or significant holiday is worth capturing and holding close. So, I have taken on less scrapbook-y projects, and have moved toward a multi-year book project showing the progression of the same event over the course of several years.

A project with photos is a simple way to preserve memories and simpler than my initial vision of a scrapbook.  I love the idea of scrapbooking, I just wasn’t good at executing it.  With the photo project, everything is digital, which means it takes up no space in my office, on my desk or in my closet. Rather, I create folders on my computer and have everything organized digitally.

Multi-Year Photo Project: An Example

A project that I initiated 4 years ago are books showing my kids at summer camp.  Every summer, my children attend a 3-week away camp.  The camp is divided into age groups, with three different ‘sections’ of camp.  So, they will each get a book upon completion of each section.  So far, they have received Volume I which was the first two years of camp.  We are currently in the midst of collecting photos for Volume II which will include 5 years of camp.

Through the Years: Creating a Photo Book for Repeating Events | ThePhotoOrganizing.net


Creating a Multi-Year Photo Project

A multi-year photo project like this can’t happen without some pre-planning and organization.  First, I created a dedicated folder on my computer that houses a copy of each photo that I intend to use for the project.  At the end of each camp, I upload the photos I have into the folder and then create a subfolder for each year within that folder.  I treat this folder as my working folder which is my secondary hub – ie, I edit, crop, and delete out of this folder.  After each year, I have my culled selection of photos that I will ultimately put into a book.  And then I wait for the next year.

Through the Years: Creating a Photo Book for Repeating Events | ThePhotoOrganizing.net

I then have all the photos I need and load them into the design program.  Although I do like to be proactive, I choose not to start design until I have all the photos and I’m ready to make and order the book.  For me, styles change, I change, my kids change, and the last thing I would want to do would be to design something that 4 years later would have to get redesigned.  So, I design the book once the cycle is over.

I love this type of book because it really shows the growth and development in a condensed version vs getting buried in a typical Year in Review book.

Through the Years: Creating a Photo Book for Repeating Events | ThePhotoOrganizing.net


Ideas for Inspiration for a Multi-year Photo Project

Aside from a story-book of summer camp, there are other fun things to document in a book like this. Think a season of sports or special/fun holidays.  Here are a few ideas to mull over:

  • Holidays – Can be something fun like Halloween, Fourth of July or Memorial Day
  • A family vacation destination
  • A Journey through dance or other performing arts – Through the Wonder years, Growing years, and Formative years
  • Repeating Seasons of football, soccer, volleyball, swim – you get it… any sport
  • Go back to basics, and do a simple birthday book

I love the idea of these theme-specific books that span multiple years.  Looking back in one book on something that happened 5-10 (or more) years in a row is great.  I love gifting my kids with these books.  They love the recap, and I love watching the smiles on their face as they look fondly back on those memories.

If you need help organizing and preserving your lifetime of photos, videos, and keepsakes, find a photo organizer near you at the Association of Personal Photo Organizers.
Don’t forget to grab your copy of Photo Organizing Made Easy: Going from Overwhelmed to Overjoyed from APPO founder Cathi Nelson.

Lida Bunting of Znimka CreationsLida Bunting is the owner of Znimka Creations, a boutique company specializing in retelling people’s meaningful stories in exquisite custom designed photo books.  A mother of two, she knows the immeasurable value of capturing her family’s memories and is committed to creating photobooks that capture all events – annual repeating events, vacations, year-in-review, memorial books, baby books, renovation books – you name it, she’s made it.  Her clients find her work personal and beautiful – and, she finds the work gratifying and meaningful.  Visit Lida’s website at www.znimkacreations.com.


Through the Years: Creating a Photo Book for Repeating Events | ThePhotoOrganizing.net