Highlights Album


In response to my doomsday prediction that the total mass of all scrapbooks and photo albums will eventually exceed the weight of the planet earth, Mary Bell offers her tips for creating a Highlights Album.

Perfect for everyone!

If you have never done an album telling your family (or personal) story, or if you are finding that you are not keeping up with your albums, this is the one you CAN do.

Although I have already made albums for my personal and family stories, this Highlights Album is special in its own way.  It is a summary that I will always be able to keep current each year as well as an index to my more detailed albums.

My Highlights album records only the most important events of my family’s life in a very brief form.  By using only one side for each year, I cannot use the many photos that I have.  I need to pick the ones that highlight the most important events of the year. This is very liberating!

As I planned my album, I made sure that I included photos that fit the events that I had chosen to highlight.  Different people could focus on different things, but here are mine, and remember you would only use one photo of these things:

  • Our wedding,
  • Each baby’s birth,
  • Each house we’ve lived in (and the cost of renting or purchasing if known),
  • Major religious ceremonies,
  • Graduations (HS, college, and grad school),
  • Our children’s weddings,
  • Our grandchildren’s births,
  • Major accomplishments,
  • Major vacation of the year,
  • Family group picture each year—usually the one we sent with our Christmas cards.

How do you make this album?

First a few decisions:  What size and style album, how many sides each year, and what do you consider your “highlights”?

In our traditional Creative Memories albums, if you make a title page, and then use one side per year, you could get 79 years in one album!

If you have not already done a family or personal chronological album, you might want to do a double-page spread (two sides) for each year.

If you choose to use a double-page spread per year, you could put 39 years into the first album, and then start a new album at the 40th year mark.

After these decisions are made, the rest is EASY!  At the end of the year, I look at my calendar to determine the most important events of the year or since I am using digital photography, I can scroll through the year’s photos on my computer.  I select the events that best represent my year and get the photos printed or use them to make a digital Page Print and get it printed.

Wouldn’t you love it if your parents had done such an album?  A book telling just the essentials of where they lived each year of their married life and when each child was born, etc. would be amazing!

People who have seen what I’ve done have been very excited about the idea of this kind of summary album.  Who cannot find time to pick out a few photos from the previous year and stick them into an album?  If this were done annually, it would take about an hour to complete.  If you wanted to do a more inclusive album later, this summary would be the guide.  But even if another album were NEVER done, at least you’d  have your life story in a brief form.

My Highlights album is the one my children want a copy of, and if my house was burning down, and I could grab only one thing—it would be my Highlights Album!

Mary Bell                               11/12


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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5 Responses to Highlights Album

  1. Nicole says:

    I do something similar – I call it a “timeline album” and I do a 2-page spread for each year, but I’m not as efficient at putting in details as she is. Thanks for this!

  2. lyn says:

    A great idea for time staved moms – and you only need blank pages 🙂

  3. Cindy says:

    Love it!
    Another option for those who did not keep up w/ albums for their kids is a Toddler to Teen album. Plan the topics ahead based on the # of pages your album can hold – a 2-pg spread of Easter, Christmas, Halloween, pets, sports, or any special events you choose. Then just choose your favorite photos for each 2-pg spread (or you can do 2 single-pg layouts for things you don’t have as many photos for). These are great gifts for h.s. grads and are fun to have out at the graduation open house.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I make a blank one of these for a wedding gift. With 2 pages for each year. I just put the year on the page in the corner and then along the inside edges I write things like gallon of gas: ____ gallon of milk:____ favorite movie:______ favorite song:_____ etc. Just random things that they can easily fill in and it will give a historical look in years to come. I do it for 25 years so they have something to look at on their 25th anniversary. The first few pages are for engagement, then a few pages for wedding photos, then the 25 spreads for their anniversary.

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