I don't know about you, but the taking, storing, and displaying of family photographs seems to be one of those endless burdens of parenthood. There were many years when I was on top of things. Ironically, it was when managing photos wasn't so 'easy'. You had to put film in the camera, have the film developed, and then put the photos in the photo album. And after all that, you still needed to figure out a way to store all the negatives. Given that, I still managed to keep up with the photo albums. Sure, I might have gotten a bit behind now and then, but through 2008, I kept them up to date.
It was in 2006, for our first adoption trip to Vietnam that we went digital. I must have had the digital photos printed out, because our first digitally produced photo album wasn't until 2009, when G. and L. were born. I made that book online quite a few years later. It took forever. Really, I'm sure it was at least three times the amount of time it took me to physically put photos into an album. I didn't even enjoy the process. I did like having the (expensive!) bound book at the end, though. I started uploading and creating books for the next several years, but never quite finished them. Our photo albums have been stalled in 2009 for a ridiculously long period of time. I keep thinking I should go back and sort out where I was and what I had done, but just the thought of tackling, much less recreating and figuring out where I left off, is so overwhelming that I keep letting it slide. I hate that the photos aren't available for people to easily look at, but I just can't reenter that frustrating rabbit hole of making online photo books.
And then last year after we moved, I entered the current century and got a smart phone. With the phone came an app that has changed my feelings about photo albums. We may be missing 2010 through the first half of 2017, but the second half of last year is easily viewed in real photo albums. I may sound like an advertisement for a moment, but I assure you that I have received nothing from this company. I just love the product, which is Chatbooks. (I apologize for the pictures. I took them. I know you've gotten a little used to TM's photos. Sorry for the jerk back to reality.)
Each book is softcover and 60 pages, with one photo on each page. The spine has the name and volume number on it. Plus, they're only $11 shipped. These get looked at a lot, and so far they have held up quite well. Here's how it works. The app is linked to your Instagram account. Whatever pictures you share there, plus the labels, are put into your next photo album automatically. When you reach 60 pages, you get a notification that you have a new book ready to be printed, and you can go through and do any editing you want, if you want. You can also choose which photo goes on the cover. Then it arrives in the mail. I love it because I don't have to actually do anything. It's perfect for my life right now.
The customer service is also excellent. A few months ago, I received an email from someone at the company. They had noticed that not all of the pictures had printed in one of my volumes and a couple of other things had gone wonky. (I hadn't actually noticed, but they were correct when I sat down and actually paid attention.) They sent me a replacement book for free with the corrections made. I love companies who catch their errors before I do.
My next goal is to figure out how to get all those years of pictures uploaded from discs to Instagram where they could also be made into books. That seems so much more manageable than trying to spend hours and hours creating one myself. There is a small gleam of hope that someday the missing photo album years might make an appearance.