I love photography (but have no training whatsoever).
I am the third child and have about 17 pictures from my childhood.
Because I love pictures (I always have....beginning in middle school, I carried a camera in my purse everyday) and I am overcompensating for the lack of pictures (in fairness, my parents aren't photo people; my oldest brother probably has 26 photos total), I am overly obsessive about my photos.
This month of consistent blogging has certainly given you a glimpse into my neurosis, and this will certainly confirm my issues.
To prove my point, I have monthly photos from each of my four children's first years of life. NO ONE keeps up with those past 2 children. Except me. And maybe, like, six other moms.
Once my kids turn one year old, I take yearly photo shoots (obviously with tons of everyday pics throughout the year). I used to get these "professionally" taken [by a 16 year old] at JC Penney's until one year Brett's aunt Judy said to me, "You take much better pictures of your kids, why are you paying someone to not do a good job?"
Though I am far from a great photographer, she was right....I am, at least, better than a 16 year old with an outdated camera. Plus, my kids HATED those photo sessions.
The candids I take throughout the year.....I upload to Shutterfly and order prints from there (proof of neurosis: I am up to date on my printing of photos). I wait until holidays to order pictures, because Shutterfly almost always has 101 free prints right after a holiday. I usually have way more than 101, but that saves me about $10.
I have color specific albums for each of my kids:
I only get one copy of each print, and whoever looks the best/cutest/funniest/etc in the print gets the photo in their album. Or if it's their birthday or something like that, they get the pic.
I have a separate album for the remaining pics or ones of Brett and me.
People (including myself, as noted above) always say the first born gets the most pictures. While that is true, I've realized the reason why: parents keep EVERY SINGLE photo of their first born and take a million of each thing ("look, he's sleeping.....again"). With subsequent kids, parents discard blurry, worthless pictures.....and only take a small amount of each activity. First borns aren't extra loved. Parents are just extra crazy.
Each January (while memories are still fresh), I make a digital scrapbook of the previous year. Once again, these are often on sale on Shutterfly, so once I've made the album, I wait until a good sale to order. I order 5 copies: one for myself and one for each of my kids.....and put their copy in the keepsake boxes to have when they're older.
My copy is displayed on a shelf in our home. You wouldn't believe how often my kids look through these albums. They are WELL loved.
The best part about Shutterfly is they store your pictures and albums forever. So barring them going out of business, I like to think of them as my external hard drive.
My kids' joy in looking through their individual albums and the digital family scrapbook makes the effort worthwhile.
I've never been into traditional scrapbooking because, from the get go I knew I wanted a large family, and I knew I would not be able to maintain scrapbooks. I think they're amazing and so cool. But I knew they weren't sustainable for me. I do not like unfinished products, so I knew it would incessantly bother me. That's how I developed my current system of photo keepage.
What is your system for keeping up with your family's photographs???