Stay on top of school memorabilia

Stay on top of school memorabilia


You’re only just starting to think about making lists, shopping for shoes and uniforms. Believe it or not NOW is the time to think about planning an end of year photo book to celebrate your child’s year at school.  Planning ahead can and will save you a ton of time at the end of the year. Whether they are a tiny tot off to big school for the first time, a tweenie off to the first year in high school or even one on the brink of adulthood in their HSC year, there will be school memories to collect.  If you put the right processes in place now, you can make creating a photo book at the end of the year painless and super quick and easy.

If you are a savvy social media user and love a good hashtag then this post is for you.

If you have hopes and dreams of creating photo books online but life gets in the way and you never find the time, then this post is also for you.

For others it could be a post that inspires you to embrace social media and finally see a point to hashtags.

Introducing Chatbooks!  Chatbooks is a free app (available on ios or android) that is perfect partner for your social media photos.

First here are the basics of Chatbooks then I will talk more about a custom book for your school memories later in this post.

First Download the Chatbooks app, and connect your Instagram account

Subscribe.  If you opt for a subscription, all of your Instagram photos will be automatically loaded into a series of books each containing 60 photos.  Once you have your Instagram photos loaded, you are able to edit your books. So for example if you have been on Instagram for many years you could easily have over 1,000 photos. Once they are loaded into Chatbooks, you would end up with 10+ books filled and ready to send to print.

Once you are caught up to present day Chatbooks will automatically continue to fill books for you with your most recent Instagram photos.  They will send you an email once you have filled a new book (i.e. added 60 new photos to your account) and you then have a few days to edit your book before it is printed and mailed. There isn’t a monthly fee. You are only charged when a book is printed.

The back log – After your initial upload from Instagram you could be left with a costly catch up exercise. Chatbooks offers several options for catching up. You can…

  • Order all of your completed books at once
  • Subscribe to receive 10 books every month until you are caught up
  • Subscribe to receive 5 books every month
  • Subscribe to receive 1 book every month.

Multiple users – If you and your partner both have an Instagram account and are using the same hashtags, you can add both of your accounts to Chatbooks and your photos will be combined together in your photo books.

Numbers – Each book includes 60 images on 30 pages but is easy to exclude/delete images from your books. In the catch up phase be sure to start with book number 1 and delete any photos that you don’t want included. The very clever software will automatically move other photos up the order and the other books configuration will change as the gaps are filled.

Captions – You can turn off the captions or include them. You will all be aware that we are big on the storytelling aspect of photo books and often your photos won’t make sense without a caption. If you include them, you can edit each one if you need to. Note that if you have an extra-long caption, Chatbooks will print the text on the page next to the picture. I find this detracts from the overall design of the books so I am careful to keep my captions short and sweet to begin with OR to take time edit any that are too long.

Dates, times and locations – You can include the date, time and location for each picture and it will be printed just above the photo. All of these features can be turned off in the settings if you prefer to exclude them


Cover – Chatbooks software automatically selects the first picture in each book as the cover image, but you can change it to whatever photo from that set of 60 you prefer

Spine – The automated design of the spine of each book is the date range of the photos included in the book and the volume number. But because Chatbooks is really great you can add a customised title if you want to

Paper – Books are printed on thick photo paper that is similar to other photo books I’ve created online. You also have an option to choose a paperback or hard cover  (for an additional cost)

Cost – Remember there is no monthly fee you are only charged when you fill a book with 60 photos. Once you are caught up with all of your completed books, you won’t be charged again until you fill your next book (whether that takes one month or four).  Chatbooks are based in the USA but even with conversion rates and shipping, we think they are great value

Here is where the beauty of Chatbooks HASHTAG FILTERS can be put to good use to create a customised book (not part of a subscription series).  By planning ahead and using Chatbooks I will be able to create a photo book specific to my children’s 2017 school year and I will be able to do it in less than 30 minutes, probably closer to 15 if I have been diligent with the first 3 steps below as it means there will be minimal editing steps required.

  1. Come up with a unique hashtag:  this is a vital ingredient in making this magic work.  For my family I will use #gabiYr1WPS and #jacobYr3WPS as unique identifiers
  2. Post regularly: if you want your book to flow with a chronological accuracy it is best to post the photos as you take them (on the day or as close to as possible).  So for me if I take a school related image that I think is book worthy I will post it to Instagram and apply the relevant hashtag on the day I take the photo
  3. Be consistent:  come up with a consistent way of captioning your posts and don’t forget the hashtags.  For the purpose of this type of photo book my caption convention is a short two or three word title as opposed to a long story.  I like to keep my longer storytelling for bigger projects in full size photo books.  There is no right or wrong way to caption but consistency is fundamental to ensure a nice looking design
  4. Include artwork etc:  Rather than have copious amounts of artwork etc taking up space in storage or memory boxes why not do what I do and ‘snap and trash’.  I take a photo of the artwork (often before it even enters the house) and then it goes straight into the recycling.  Unless it is wall worthy (I’m not a complete Cruella) and they want to put it on display, in which case they get to keep it for a while.  In those cases I still take the photo on the day and if they are that chest puffingly proud of it I get them to be in the photo – have them hold it up nice and close to their smiling faces
  5. Time for the magic:  Log in to Chatbooks apply your unique 2017 school HASHTAG filter and hey presto a book specific for the school year.  With a small amount of culling and editing as described above you will have created a customised book of memories in a painless, quick and simple way.

Get your first book for free! – Check out Chatbooks – I think you’ll love it! Follow this link and you’ll get your first book free: 

Remember consistency is the key to success and by planning ahead you will pave a smooth road to success at the end of the year.

This post is not sponsored by Chatbooks. We simply love the concept, software and ease of use.  We will get the same benefits from your sign up that you would get from sharing with your friends so why not check it out.


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