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Part 01 : Ali's "Halloween Through The Years" Album Project | How To Part One

The next album project I'm embarking on over here is a compilation of past Halloween's. 

Over the last year I've enjoyed making a few different compilation albums - albums that combine the same event or activity over a span of years. It started with the Stories Of Christmas Past kit that included a class on how to build a Christmas Past album. Currently that class is available with the purchase of the kit (at some point in the future we will likely offer it as a stand alone class). In that album I combined Christmas photos from my childhood along with any and all other years from the time I've been taking photos. I loved the end result so much. 

Earlier this year I created another compilation album for our Start To Finish Travel Workshop. The album I put together for that class brought together photos and stories from all my travel adventures to see Dave Matthews Band. It's definitely a personal favorite album now. 

Last year I didn't have a chance to create anything with our 2022 Halloween kit so I decided to combine last year's kit with this year's kit to build an album of Halloween stories. NOTE: Heads up that if you are monthly physical kit subscriber you'll be able to add either/or/both Halloween kits (from 2022 + 2023) as an Add On to your monthly shipment on the 10th and 11th of this month. If you aren't a subscriber you can order the kits through our regular shopping process.

Rather than offer this album process as a class I decided I wanted to share it here on the blog (videos will also be posted to YouTube). 

Today's post is a look at my starting place, including the three things I focus on when I'm embarking on a compilation album project: (1) collecting + organizing photos, (2) establishing a foundation design that can be repeated throughout the album, and (3) printing my photos and journaling. The beginning process for me is always about establishing some kind of structure to hold my stories. My own particular brain wants to have the photos + words organized before playing around with the rest of the fun stuff. This does two things for me: (1) it keeps the primary focus on the words + photos and (2) it gives me a base to build on top of (with embellishments, stamps, etc). 

Right now I'm in the photo + journaling printing process. I'll be back to share more once I have this phase complete. 

Here's a video overview of my starting place:

STEP ONE | FIND + ORGANIZE PHOTOS

For a project like this I begin by going through my Photos and older Aperture archives to locate the photos that fit the theme. I've never set myself up for success by using tags or other methods of organizing so I most often search by month. In the case of Halloween I was able to search by dates. I drag and drop the images I may want to use from Photos into a folder organized by year on my desktop. This folder will be deleted once I'm done printing out my photos (I can still access the photos via Photos or Aperture if I need them again in the future). 

This simple folder method has worked well for me for a number of past projects. For this album I knew that I wasn't going to be using a ton of photos (some years I have more and other years I have less) because I already know that I'll be spanning a number of years and I don't need to include every photo I took during any of our Halloween adventures. 

STEP TWO | ESTABLISH A DESIGN FORMULA FOR THE ALBUM

As many of you are already aware, I'm a big believer in creating a simple design foundation and sticking with it as a way to simplify the entire process especially when you are working on an album that combines a number of years together. If you'd like to see + hear me take a deep dive into design forumulas for memory keeping check out my Start Here workshop that came out a couple months ago. 

For this one I'm going with a full page photo (7 inches x 8.25 inches) + a pocket page protector insert for additional photos and play + a full page pattern paper background from the 2022 or 2023 kit with a photo/journaling layered template added to the top. 

This same basic foundation will be repeated throughout the album for each year I'm featuring. 

Currently I've been adding in this 3 pocket page protector but I might mix that up and use a different one (maybe the 2x2 pockets) for years when I have more photos or I feel like have more pockets for play. 

I saved my Photoshop layered template for those of you who might want to use a similar design formula for a compilation project. The template itself isn't specific to Halloween and could be used in any memory keeping project. The template is sized 5 inches x 5 inches because that was the size I wanted to use on top of the pattern papers. 

If you need a refresher on working with layered templates in Photoshop here's a past post that walks you through those steps. 

Download the layered PSD file.

STEP THREE | PRINT PHOTOS + JOURNALING

Once I've got all my photos collected and I've established my design formula I'm ready to start printing. This is where I'm at in the process right now. I was able to find a couple childhood Halloween photos so I'm excited to be adding those to the beginning of my album with some random Halloween memories from when I was a kid. 

I'm printing here at home using an Epson XP15000 printer

At the same time I'm printing both the full page photos and any smaller photos I might want to include, I'm also inputting a story and photo into the layered template. My journaling for this project will be a mixture of things I can remember (when I can remember anything) paired with feelings when I look back at these memories. In one case already I transferred journaling I'd done on a traditional scrapbook page into the layered template so it will have a home in this project. 

This is the kind of storytelling project that's really filling me up right now! I'll be back again - most likely sometime next week - with my next steps in the process. 

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14 thoughts

  1. asackr01 says…
    10/05/2023

    Thank you for sharing! I love the idea of collecting and documenting past Halloween and fall stories in one place.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      10/06/2023

      You are welcome! So fun!

  2. kruth29 says…
    10/05/2023

    Thank you for sharing. I love the Halloween kit this year! The plastic circles are giving me major vibes as I pull together my October Daily album.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      10/06/2023

      YES! I'm excited to get some of those in here. I also really love the big vellum pieces!

  3. sewestgate says…
    10/05/2023

    Thank you so much! Does the PSD template allow to make a bigger template? I am just learning how to use them but think it would be great as a 7x8.25 template when there’s not many photos but allows for more journaling for these compilation albums but not sure if that’s possible. Thanks again Ali! So inspiring.

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. AliEdwards says…
      10/06/2023

      Hi! Here's what I would do: make a new canvas that's 7x8.25 and you can place this 5x5 template right on top. With the white background you can then make the journaling as long as you want!

    2. sewestgate says…
      10/06/2023

      Ok wonderful, thank you sooo much for your help!

  4. hgauvin says…
    10/05/2023

    Thank for the template! I'm starting a Halloween album of my grandchildren so this was extremely helpful as a starting off point. Thanks again Ali!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      10/06/2023

      That sounds so fun!

  5. me1312 says…
    10/06/2023

    So cool! Thank you!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      10/06/2023

      You are welcome!

  6. starrsstripes says…
    10/12/2023

    I am really excited to tackle a Halloween compilation album. And that picture of Simon as Diego is ADORABLE.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. lhenkin says…
    10/21/2023

    Thanks so much Ali! I am building an album. Do you have hints for printing the full page photes. 7x8.25?

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      10/21/2023

      I crop my photos to that size in Photoshop and then print them on 8.5x11 photo paper and cut off the extra.

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