Sequence your selected images so they tell a good story. This takes awhile and you may decide to substitute one image for another. Know why you’re including each image. Mull it over until you’re satisfied with your visuals. These create the framework of your memoir. Identify one photo for the front/inside cover. Number and name your photos for easy reference and access, e.g, grandma, postcard, letter, etc.
#2 First Postcard
#3 Letter from Dad
Organize Your Images
3. Scan each photo or memento as a digital file/jpeg for optimal resolution and clarity. Open a new folder on your computer to store your jpegs. Give each jpeg the same distinct name, as in #2 above, e.g. grandma.jpg, postcard.jpg, letter.jpg.Most printers have a “scan” function. If you don’t have a scanner, take your photos to FedEx/Kinkos or Copy Club. They have self-serve scanners or they’ll do the scanning for you.
Realize, you’re not writing yet–you’re just thinking about and listing what you want to include in your photo memoir. When you are satisfied with your list, you are ready for the next step.
First the Photos
4. Open a new document file on your computer and insert the first photo. Be sure to place photos top, middle, and bottom for variety. Important or favorite photos may be enlarged to cover an entire page. Add a caption for each image to focus the reader’s attention on the important aspect and to hint at exciting things to come.
Next, the Memories
5. Enter the memories that go with each image. Recall family stories, legends, and anecdotes, teachers, landmarks, lonely rooms, favorite hangouts, and hideouts. Include the outstanding memories that still frighten, annoy, or add laughter. Be sure to label each memory with its associated photo. If you get stuck, remember to include the Ws–who, what, where, when, why, and also how. HINT: If you hate to type, use speech-to-text software such as Dragon or Speechnotes. Such softward programs have become remarkably accurate.
6. Be sure to add interest: vary the length of paragraphs and sentences; alternate long pages with short pages; alternate serious pages with lighter ones; start each page with a fresh, new subject; open the story at some dramatic point rather than at birth.
7. Make each photo as large as possible on the page. Each text page will hold 200-250 words. Place photos opposite pages of entire text for variety.
Add a Title
8. For the title, consider the theme/message of the memoir. What do you want the reader to remember most after reading it? Make a list of titles to consider.
Revise and Proof
9. Reread and revise the memoir and use the spelling/grammar checker to catch any errors.
10. Print your memoir using this suggested outline: page 1, front cover photo/title/author; page 2, copyright; page 3 dedication; page 4 is left blank; page 5 inside cover photo/title/author; pages 6-22 contain your text/photo pages; page 23 blank; page 24, back cover with author photo and author bio/message.