quinn’s 4 year old photo book

it arrived two weeks ago. i read it. and i cried.

it is quinn’s 4 year old photo book.

i created a whole entire book of photos, stories, drawings + memories from the year quinn was 4. i started with his 4 year old photos and his 4th birthday party and ended with the last few photos i took of him right before he turned 5. it is a giant 174 page book of quinn.

i was inspired by a few people to make this book. one was my friend, angie warren, and our conversations about documenting the details. she said that she could easily fill up a book with all the photos of the little details of her kids. i also take lots and lots of photos of my kids. and i love looking at all the pieces and parts of who they are in photos. so i gave myself permission to put all of these photos of quinn into a book just for him. to document his life in detail.

i was also inspired by another fabulous blogger, photographer and mom - kelle hampton. she makes yearly photo books for her kids too. and they are lovely. lucky me, i got to meet kelle last year at a book signing and she is just as sweet in person as she is on her blog. (by the way, if you haven’t read her book, you must run out now and get it!)

this is the first real photo book i have made for quinn. i have so many a million photos of quinn (and tate too). and up until now, none of them were printed anywhere. instead of continuing to feel overwhelmed, i decided to just begin right where i was. and that was in the middle of quinn’s 4th year. i worked on pages here and there. scanned artwork and entered blog posts about him into the book. and slowly this book began to take shape. and eventually became the epic novel that it now is.

this book is my gift to quinn. a documentation of his 4th year of life. i will go back and make photo books for his first three years. and every year i will make him another book.

(and yes, i am doing the same thing for tate. i’m up to my ears in his 2 year old book now…)

a little about this photo book:

how did you design this book?
it took me a long time to just figure out how i was going to make this photo book. i tired creating my own pages in photoshop, but it was way too time consuming for what i was trying to do. i also looked into a few different photo book websites, but most don’t let you add more than 100 pages. and i couldn’t customize my page layouts like i wanted to. i started creating this book using one photo book website, only to have to start over again because i was not happy with what i was making. but i was determined to find something that would work and thankfully i finally discovered the perfect solution for me… hello blurb! i used their free booksmart software that you download onto your computer. it was so easy to use because i could do the following:
1.) upload all the photos directly into booksmart or import them directly from lightroom
2.) use their page templates
3.) edit their page templates by moving photos, changing size, adding photos and text (and save these custom templates to use again later)
4.) make my own page templates (and save them to use again later)
5.) drag + drop photos into the page templates – by far the quickest and easiest way to get the photos in the pages

i used a combination of blurb’s pre-designed page templates and my own tweaking of these templates mixed with some of my own page template designs.

printing details:
i printed this book from blurb. it is a 13×11 hardcover image wrap book with 174 pages printed on standard paper. it was $3 more for the image wrap cover and it was worth every penny. as for pages, blurb prints up to 440 pages on standard paper and up to 240 pages on premium paper. that is more than plenty of pages for me. thank you very much blurb!

cover design:
quinn drew a picture for the cover. i just asked him to include the number 4 and his name. the rest was up to him. he also drew a family picture that i used for the back cover. i’m going to have him write his name and use it on the cover of his photo books each year. i think it will be fun to see how his handwriting changes through the years.

what did you include other than photos:
i started the book with the birthday letter to quinn that i write him every year. i also added any blog posts about him and text explaining some of the photos. i scanned his drawings and took some photos of his artwork. i made monthly collage pages of instagram/iphone photos of him. next year i’m going to interview him and print that at the end of the book on the last page.

this photo book and project life? why both?
i look at project life as our family journal. an account of our everyday life. what we are doing, seeing, hearing and loving every week. this photo book is all about quinn. not as many everyday details and stories, but lots + lots of photos that i didn’t use in project life. this is where they all go. just for quinn.

where do i start?
start with now. the current year. the current month. today. get into a good rhythm of making pages as the months go by. do it a little at a time and you won’t get overwhelmed. and then go back in time to fill in the gaps.

ETA: how much did this book cost?
the book was $115 for the 13×11 with 174 pages, hard back image wrap cover and standard paper, but i had a 20% off promo code so i only paid $92. the shipping was $10, but i also ordered two 8×10 softcover photo books at the same time so i don’t know if that changed the shipping cost. this might seem a little expensive, but this is a gift i’m going to give to both of my boys each year for their birthdays. it will be a gift that they will have forever. it will outlast the star wars figures, the legos and the angry bird games. i started off limiting myself in pages because i was worried about fitting everything into 100 pages or less with the first photo book company. but when i found blurb, i could create pages to my heart’s content (up to 440 standard pages!). i knew that the more pages i added would increase the price. but i decided to just focus on the memory keeping and not the cost. and having this book is worth every penny i paid for it.


the front cover

the back coverpage onethe first few pagesi included a quote from one of quinn’s favorite books and a note to him about this book.i write a letter to the boys every year for their birthday. this is quinn’s letter printed next to his 4 year old photos.the many faces of quinn.his 4th birthday pirate pool party.a day at the beach.a blog post i wrote about the boys.pumpkin patch photos in the fall.iphone photos of quinn. a page of photos from each month of the year.i scanned some of quinn’s christmas coloring pages from preschool and his christmas list.christmas morning.simple page design with lots of white space.quinn’s first time at the jedi training academy at disney’s hollywood studios. these are some of his favorite pages.another blog post and some black + white photos.a blog post from my linked 52 project that i wrote about quinn.quinn was always in a robe playing star wars and light saber battles.riding his bike.sick days in bed.

his drawings that i scanned and sized down so i could fit more on the page. when he saw this page he asked why his drawings were so small.a beach day with the family.one of my favorite photos of mark and they boys on mark’s 38th birthday. and a few photos on the facing page of quinn preparing for dad’s birthday.i included a few pages just for quinn’s preschool days. i was in the classroom with him a lot working on personal yearbooks with his class, so i got lots of photos of him in school.some photos of just me and they boys taken by my friend, ali.this book is filled with lots of memories. as we flipped though the pages together quinn kept saying “oh, i remember that!” it is such a great way to help him remember all the fun things about being four.now i’m off to work on getting tate’s 2 year old book finished before he turns 4!

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Natalie Turetsky - amazing!!!! i love your style. you have inspired me so much and completely changed my approach to project life and documenting my kids life. I can’t thank you enough. My project life and scrapbooks are SO important to me and with 4 kids I always found myself falling behind and trying to stay up to date until I came across your blog. Your system, style and approach fits PERFECTLY with me and has made this process so much easier and more FUN! Thank you Tracy!

Lori Scherf - This book is incredible!! What a fabulous memory! Are you gonna be able to keep it going until 18? HEHE!!

Kirsten - Love the book. Thanks for the peak. Just curious about the cost of the book.

Leanne T. - Absolutely beautiful Tracy, I am so inspired to do a photobook now – my daughter turns 16 in October and I would love to do something like this – simple, clean, white, lots of photos, perfect! Thank you so much for the inspiration.

ee k. - This.is.simply.amazing.

Em - It’s a very lovely photobook. I’ve no doubt Quinn will browse through it often.

Also, you’re definitely making me want to get back to working on mine. ;)

Shari - It’s just gorgeous Tracy! I recently got our family 2012 book in print and absolutely love it. I can’t even count how many times I’ve looked through it! Now to start on the 2011 book. I do have to say that you’ve inspired me. I might just have to tackle a 2012 book for each of the kids.

young c - Looks awesome! Thanks for the inspiration.

Sarah R - wow! so beautiful, love your use of white space and mix of photos and journaling, what an inspiration!

Pedroza - This is beyond beautiful! Love looking at all the photos and the templates.

Liza Lake - Wow, Tracy, you are amazing! What a beautiful book and what am inspiration!

Mairi - HelloTracy,
It is beautifull :-)

barbara - this is beautiful, tracy. thank you for sharing it and continuing to inspire me. i would love to hear more about your personal story around your photography – where you started, how you learned, your process for getting them from camera to print…your photo are always so clean and fresh…love them. would you consider sharing your photography story sometime?

and i too am curious how much quinn’s book cost :)

Kristine V. - What a gorgeous project…so inspiring! Thank you for sharing the idea and your expression of it. What a treasure!

Fiona - This is amazing. I have been wanting to do this for each of my kids, but just got stuck in the planning stages. Thanks for sharing Quinn’s beautiful album, and your tips for getting it done. Fiona xoxo

mindy - love this!! i am in the process of sorting through photos & artwork to begin doing this for my son. can i ask how much your book ended up costing?

tracy - The book was $115, but I had a 20% off promo code so I only paid $92. It was $10 for shipping, but I also ordered two 8×10 softcover photo books at the same time so I don’t know if that changed the shipping cost.

rhonda - WHAT a gift!!!!!!!!!! I really really really love this!

Heather Johnson - This is stunning. And so inspiring. I really want to make one for my girls now. Love, love love, I am definitely going to bookmark this!

Alanna N - This is absolutely amazing! I wish you all the best of luck in continuing on with these as they grow – such a treasured gift they will become! Just lovely :)

Donna G. - Tracy, this book is beyond fabulous. What a treasure! And what a great idea for using a lot of the extra photos you have of your children that don’t go into PL!

Kimberly L - This book is amazing! Just curious…how do you import directly from Lightroom into Blurb? I would love to make a book for my boys but no idea how you do this…have only ever done the Blog to Book with Blurb. Thanks for any insight you can share!

Erin - This is so lovely.

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