New Year’s Resolutions

Fireworks. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Designing a Family Album and Other New Year’s Resolutions


Happy New Year! May 2018 be kind and more gentle, perhaps. Hope that it will inspire us to be “more good” (to borrow from the movie Angels in America) and to create powerful work. Now that New Year’s Day is behind us, I have a question: Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? And if you plan on actually keeping those resolutions, what’s your secret?

Every January I have a long list of resolutions, most of which have traveled with me from one year to the next. Certain resolutions need planning, and, hence, I’m going to talk about them. Hear me out.

Into the Sunset. Lensbaby Photography by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Into the Sunset. Lensbaby Photography by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

I’m very much aware that the holiday season is over, but the beginning of the year is the best time (of the year) to think ahead, so that next holiday season doesn’t catch us unprepared. For example, creating a family album is one of those projects that require time and attention to details, as well as cooperation, at least in part, from certain family members. The final result makes it all worth it.

How to create a family album?

– think big, as in album size, number of pages, images included in the album

– think of the family album as a way to tell the story of your family: think in chapters that tell the story in a chronological way (or start by thinking in a chronological way and then adjust, if necessary)

– talk to members, maybe close members of your family and plan on gathering all the necessary images

– take notes! make sure you find out (and understand the meaning of) the stories behind the images, or at least some of them

– study the actual images, figure out what images need to be restored–how, how much image restoration needs to be done, etc [one note on image restoration: make sure you maintain the look, mood of the original image! restoring and retouching images to be included in a family album or any other project is a lengthy project in itself, it requires a tremendous amount of patience and attention to details; choose these images wisely!]

– before starting to design your album, perhaps using Adobe InDesign; you might need to create a template or use the template provided by the printer that you choose to use to print the actual album; check the available book/album formats

– again, before starting to design the album/book, choose your front cover image, back cover image, and a cover design (again, including font type); also, I usually go with wraparound hard cover; it’s a sturdy cover that looks good and doesn’t get damaged easily

– when creating an album, don’t think only of images, but also text, in particular the best font to use for your book

– when creating pages, don’t forget a copyright page, a dedication page, a title page; although think of how the last page of your book should look like–maybe include a powerful, memorable image and a few words of wisdom, etc.

– when designing your album pages, don’t include too many images on one page, definitely not too many important images; stick with one image per page, maybe a handful of two-page spreads, here and there several images; consider leaving the ‘chapter’ pages or title page with only the text, without including images, visuals of any kind, give the eye a break

Writing. Caligraphy. Photo by Alina Oswald
Writing, ink pen in hand. Photo by Alina Oswald.

-when you’re done, take a break from it (maybe a couple of days), then come back and review your project: check spelling, typos, grammar, as well as flow, narrative (in images and text); take your time; it’s best to review your album or book in “Preview” option; have someone else look through it, someone you trust; if it’s a client, have the client look through it then meet and exchange notes; if you’re putting a family album together for your own family and you want it to be a surprise for the holidays or anniversaries or birthdays or what not, find someone (a family member(s)) that you can trust to look through the album, and, again, take notes, discuss possible changes, if any, etc.

– upload the book and print a review/preview copy, just one copy (you might be able to use a coupon for it, too); once the actual book/album arrives in the mail, check it out one more time with your team of reviewers; if all looks good, go ahead and either make the album public online or share it, also online, with everybody or certain individuals, order it as a gift

– don’t wait until the last minute when it comes to these kinds of gifts

Fireworks at Night. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Don’t underestimate the importance of such gifts–a family album, an old, almost destroyed image restored, printed and framed, a family calendar, and so on. Because there comes a time when loved ones are no longer with us, when we turn to old family pictures and albums, reread old letters in the handwriting of those who’re no more, and commemorate their lives, keep them alive in our hearts.

Fireworks light the night’s sky. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Happy 2018!

Alina Oswald


  1. Hi, Alina! Great post (of course). A family album. That one is hard; though we have our little one, it’s not set in stone. If she winds up going back to her mother, it will break my heart. BUT, luckily, I have all my photos in my phone (hopefully nothing happens to it). So, I’ll think about making a family album for sure. As for New Year’s Resolutions….not sure about that. I try not to make resolutions as I will just set myself up for disappointment if I don’t follow through. What I like to do is MAINTAIN what I’m already moving forward with. For example, I stopped drinking in August, so I’m going to continue with that through this year. Working out, cooking, eating better, these are things I started last year but I’d like to continue with this year – and get better at. 🙂


    1. Hi Sean, thanks for your kind words. Happy New Year to you, too! I’ve been keeping up with your posts and updates. You’re really an inspiration. I look up to your posts to try to keep myself on the right track. So, keep those posts and images coming! Please! As for the family album, I’ve done several so far. It’s a time-consuming process, but all worth it in the end. Wish you and yours a wonderful 2018! And thanks so much for keeping in touch. xx 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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