As the reality of the Coronavirus pandemic begins to make itself felt all around the world, there has never been a greater need to have something fun and positive to do.

Most of us are in serious isolation or ‘lockdown’ and coming to terms with how to fill our days with something meaningful. Many grandparents are now isolated from their family and are sure to be missing their grandchildren very much indeed.

No matter what your age or situation, a day can drag if there is no meaningful structure or specific things to do during the waking hours.

Why not consider making a Family Photo Memory Book. Involve all your family members, especially those who live alone or who are struggling with the lockdown situation.

Your photo book can be whatever pleases you. ‘A Family Memory Book’, a ‘Recipe book of Family Favourites’ or a Record of ‘How we Survived COVID-19’. Click here to help you choose what size and style photo memory book you wish to make.

Take a trip down memory lane with your family

Enlist all your family members and have them go through their old photo albums, those boxes of photos stored at the top of the cupboard and have fun on a trip down memory lane.

1: Decide who is to make the book.

It is important that one person organises the collection of digital photos and the creating of the Family Photo MemoryBook.

Because of the Coronavirus lockdown, you will probably not all be able to share the physical photographs or albums. This is not a problem at all as everyone can take a photo of the physical photograph and send it electronically to the person who will create the book.

This is not as difficult as you may imagine. Almost everyone has a smartphone these days and it is fine to photograph physical photos, even without removing them from old family albums. The digital photos then need to be sent electronically to whoever will be creating the photobook.
Click here to help you choose what size and style photo memory book you wish to make.

Take photos of physical photos in old photo albums, no need to remove them

2: Deciding which photos to include

Ask all family members go through their old photos and choose the ones that bring back happy and fun memories. Photos that are in frames can also be photographed inside the frames, however, it is important that you do not get any reflection from external lights or the phone/camera onto the glass. Move the framed picture into a well-lit area that does not reflect light or shadows on the glass. Do not use a flash to take the photograph.

The image of my parents here is of ‘low quality ‘as the original print was very small and I have enlarged it to fit the page.
I decided to use it despite the ‘low quality’ as we do not have many photos of my parents and you can still see what they looked like in the photo

Images need to be as clear and in focus as you can get. If a small photograph in an album is out of focus it will not reproduce clearly when made larger in your photobook. Sometimes it is necessary to use an image that is not 100% so that you can preserve the memory.
Click here to help you choose what size and style photo memory book you wish to make.

3: Identification

This is the fun part. The older members of your family will enjoy telling you about the people in their old photos. It will give them much pleasure to be able to share their memories. If you are apart because of the Coronavirus Lockdown, share a few video calls so they can show you the photos and tell their stories.

Many old photographs have the names and dates written on the back, that makes identification easy. If the people in the photos are not known you may need to share the photos with a few family members to verify who is who and where the photos were taken. Video calls are great for doing this as you can be writing down the information as they tell you about the photos. If you are unable to video call then get the person who has the original photo to take a digital photo and share the image electronically.

4: Journalling

Journalling is the ‘storytelling’ part of your photo memory book. This can be done in many different ways and does not need to be uniform throughout the book.
Information can be simply written in a text block like the sample below.

Journalling is the ‘story-telling’ you put into your photo memory book

You can ‘journal’ by using an award or some such in a creative way. In the image below I added the Flinders Island Show Award card to clipart to create more impact. The photobook is a recipe book of Grammy’s Family Favourite recipes that I made for my mother-in-law to give her grandchildren as Christmas gifts last year.

I added clipart to the photograph of a Flinders Island Show Society award to give more emphasis

Journalling or storytelling does not need to be on every page of your memory book.

Consider including photos of things that people have made for you or, like the image below, the sign we responded to when we took on a crew member for our boat in New Zealand. This was what I put on the front page of a photo book that I made for our crew member Zofia of the wonderful time we enjoyed sailing together.

In more modern photo memory books I have had fun including screenshots of ‘conversations’ had on the internet.
Six years ago my partner and I met through the online dating site RSVP and so I copied our ‘blurb’ and snippets of our chats onto a page in a photo book I made for him for his birthday.

Sometimes I use screenshots from internet ‘conversations’ in my photo memory books.

When we were living in Brisbane I often walked past the Supreme Court of Queensland. I was always fascinated by the eyes sculpture. I included photos of the eyes, the information board and the sign to remind myself of my of our time in Brisbane
Include information such as photos of notice boards and signs instead of journalling

What Size Photo Memory Book?

Once you have got all the images that you want to use, save them all to a folder where you can easily get them to upload to create your photo book.

Working our how many pages you will need for your photobook is the next step. Factors to consider before deciding will, of course, include how many images you wish to use.

Photo books come in many different sizes and prices vary accordingly. Simply put, the more photos you use, the bigger your book will need to be. The number of photos used on each page will also vary. I tend to group photos that tell the same story onto a spread. i.e. two pages.
Click here to help you choose what size and style photo memory book you wish to make.

Layout Samples

Image ‘fitting the spread’

The single image has been made to ‘fit the spread’. This is usually only done with high-quality images and care must be taken to ensure the centrefold does not distort the overall effect of the page.

Using a template

The photobook shop software has templates that you can use to help layout the images uniformly. OR you can simply ‘insert a picture box’ and place the image or images wherever you like them to be. In the sample below I have used one of their templates and both pages are of photos taken in places we visited when sailing in New Caledonia.

I have used a Text box to write a short description of where the photos were taken

Using your own photos as background

Keeping in mind that we all know that a ‘picture can be worth a 1000 words’, you may like to consider using your own images as the background to some of your pages. In the spread below I have not used journalling because I believe the photos tell the story well. The Banyan tree grows on most of the islands in Vanuatu and they are often the meeting place for the islanders. The flowers are fascinating and usually fall off the tree as soon as they are fully open. The ground around the trees is often strewn with their beautiful and unusual flowers.

Banyan Tree and flowers

In the spread below, I have used a photo that I took of the stones on the beach to help us remember the unusually dark coloured small stones that made up the beaches on Ambae Island, Vanuatu.
I have not used any templates for these pages because of the different shapes of the images when I cropped them. I put white frames around the photos on the left page so that they are more defined with the stone background.

Narovorovo Village, Ambae Island, Vanuatu

Additional resources:

The PhotoBook Shop where you can select the perfect photo memory book for your family

D.I.Y. Beginners Guide to making photobooks

Guide to make A-Z Photobooks for kids

Smartphone Photography for Kids

Join our Facebook group where we encourage families to have fun with photography.