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When it comes to family history albums, there are a number of ways that you can go about putting them together. In this case, this process involves getting the best images that you intend to use in the family history book. When we say the best images in this context, we don’t just mean the photo quality of the images. Instead, we mean the impact that the photo has on the narrative that you are trying to tell about your family. It is important to remember that family history books are story books, and each photo (or any other item that goes into the book) is part of the narrative.
Having considered this, let us now look at the process of selecting the right images for your family history book.
Does The Photo Advance The Narrative?
As we pointed out, every image that you use in your photo book must advance the story that you are trying to tell. With this in mind, the first question to ask when selecting photos for your family history book is how much each image advances your narrative. Any photo that takes away from the story should be excluded. This may not always be possible with all the photos, but the best effort must be made. If you have photos that are valuable in their own right but don’t fit into the narrative, you could consider a separate photo book. You could also consider having a miscellaneous section on the photo book where all these photos go.
Prioritize Photos With People
Professional photographers will tell you that people like to see people in the photos they look at. For this reason, all things constant, prioritize photos that have people in them. This means that if you have a photo of your grandmother standing in front of a large oak tree, and another with just the oak tree alone, you should choose the photo of your grandmother in it.
Do They Have Personality?
While studio photos tend to be neat and proper, they also tend to lack emotion as people generally pose for them. However, unposed photos, such as that of your dad laughing out loud on the beach, tend to capture personality and humanize the image. Whenever possible, you should prioritize these kinds of photos over the ones that have less personality. This is because such photos provoke our memories thanks to the emotion that they contain. For example, in our example, looking at such a photo of your dad years on, you will probably remember other moments when he laughed just as hard and bringing these memories back is one of the reasons we put together family history books.
Don’t Worry About Photo Quality
Even if some photos are grainy and are not of the best quality, do not hesitate to use them if they tick all the other boxes that we have listed above. A photo with personality and that tells a story is still the best option, even if the quality is not so good. People generally understand that the quality of photos has been evolving.
If you intend to share the photos widely, it is always a good idea to alert people in the photos of your intention. This is especially the case for family history photos that have very recent photos.