Organize Your Photos: As-They-Grow Albums

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.

Psalm 127:3-4


Welcome to the second post of the Organize Your Photos series!

My goal is to encourage you to enjoy some of your photos offline, so you can cherish those memories and bring your family closer together. If you missed the first post about simple Interest Albums, please check it out!

Remember, you can enjoy your photos without a big, hard, long project. Keep your project simple, short, and fun. The Interest Album was the perfect way to start.  Now, let’s keep it rolling…


Today’s idea: The As-They-Grow Album

Like Interest Albums, these albums feature only a few photos at a time—but an As-They-Grow album focuses on photos from the same event or time period each year.  For example, you can make an album of photos from a certain holiday, year after year. (Be on the lookout—I’ll be sharing these albums in Organize Your Photos series posts around upcoming holidays!)

But an As-They-Grow album doesn’t have to be that specific—consider the Portrait Album.

You’ve probably had professional photos of your kids taken a few times, or collected a stack of school portraits. Do you display them in frames? If you’re like me, your heart aches with spiritual clutter as you take the old pictures out of their frames to make way for the new ones. Portrait albums are the perfect way to continue to enjoy those precious smiles!


This can be extremely simple.  My husband’s grandmother kept her portraits in a magnetic album (this is a big no-no because it was rapidly turning the photos yellow). After she passed away and Travis received the album, I was happy to update it. I wanted to stay very true to her original format and style, so I placed her portraits just as she had them, but on plain white cardstock paper with silver photo corners.

If there was a date on the back of a photo, I added it to the page with silver pen (this looks prettier in person than in the picture below).

You can’t get much simpler than this! And I have to say, is my hubby cute as a two-year-old or what!?  Talk about enjoying memories… this is all it takes.  This super-simple type of As-They-Grow album may be for you.


I like to be a little fancier with our portrait albums. For one thing, I do have the photos organized by date (hence the as-they-grow effect).  I also like to do it up with a bit more style, because scrapbooking is one of my favorite hobbies.  Even so, I try to keep these very simple so that adding more portraits each year is quick, easy, and fun.

I have my kids’ photos taken right around their birthdays each year. I started putting my oldest son’s portraits in a simple album with very simple scrapbooking techniques: just matting the photos, adding solid blocks of blue paper in the background, and adding strips of black and white paper for a little flair.

Then I continued the theme as he grew.  (Incredibly, he’s 15!  This album will be finished in just a few years with his senior pictures.  Unbelievable.)


When Karly came along, I decided to go for something more girly.

Don’t get scared now! You can use the same, simple theme I used for Spencer’s album, but perhaps with more feminine, patterned paper for a daughter.

To make Karly’s album easy on myself, I use the same basic layout every year. I just move the flowers around a bit and adjust their colors to match her outfits.


When Oliver came along, I decided to make his album just as simple using little squares (and sometimes halving them for triangles).

Just as I do in Karly’s album, I change the colors of the paper to match what he’s wearing in the portraits.


As you can see, even these slightly fancier albums don’t require a lot of creative effort. Once I decided what the very first page was going to look like, I no longer had to think about what to do. Each year I just repeat what I’ve already done and loved.

And you don’t have to have the perfect portraits for each year. If you skip a year or two, it doesn’t matter. And you don’t need professional portraits—you could make a beautiful album with just one photo that you’ve taken during each year (I bet you can think of a favorite photo or two from each year).

Nor does this album take much time. You don’t have to start from your child’s birth, you can start with this year… and work your way backward if you choose to. On average, I spend one afternoon (or late evening) per year adding to each of the kids’ Portrait Albums. Two or three hours a year isn’t much to ask for such tangible memories!

We look through these albums on the kids’ birthdays, on rainy days… on any days! They love seeing themselves as babies, and watching themselves grow up with every turn of the page.  And my heart rests in the fact that these photos are neatly organized and easily accessible for instant joy.


Take the Challenge:

Do you have old portraits of your kids lying around, or stacked up in frames? It’s time to enjoy them! Get an album and attach the photos with photo corners, or add and little flair with some simple colored paper designs.

Bonus idea: You could add a little journaling to this type of album by noting their “favorites” at each age, or writing down a cherished memory of something funny they said or did at that age. Or you could include one of your favorite scriptures on each page (if that intrigues you, take a look at my Scripture Scrapbook series).

Bonus idea: Why only focus on the kids? One of my readers suggested doing a marriage album this way, with just one or two pictures from each year. I love this idea! They don’t have to be professional, just reflective of the love and memories you share. I may have to try this myself…


Tell me about it:

How do you like to enjoy your kids’ portraits?


For more about organizing belongings in a way that glorifies God, check out my second book, Building Your House.

Please do share these ideas with other mommas!  Here’s a Pin-friendly image:

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