I have been creating a family calendar for several years now, giving it to each of our kids at Christmas. Each year I pick some pictures from the past year and include them. I started out with a do it yourself approach where I would have actually printed the pages on my home printer, then take them down to the office supply store to have their wire bound.
Although I am a big user of Adobe Lightroom, and rarely use the iPhoto program that comes with the Mac, I gave it a shot last year in producing the family calendar. That turned out to be a great process and much easier than some of the online services I had tried. Right from within iPhoto, I am not only able to create the calendar but click a button to have it printed and mailed to me. In past years the calendar was only 8.5 x 11 in sheets, but this new one is much larger format and the quality is very professional.
I didn’t have to give it an second thought to use iPhoto once again to create the calendar but since two of my kids have digital SLR cameras and my daughter takes far more and much better photos of her family than I ever was able to do, I added a new approach. I created a photo gallery on Mobile Me for staging of all the photos. I had a title slide for each month, not to be included in the final product, but to help me sort the photos so I would have several candidates for each month. With our children living all around the country, I needed a method for them to easily give me their photos.
Then any in the family could use this gallery to upload their photos directly. Then using iPhoto 09, it was easy to drag the photos around inside the web gallery to get them sorted by month.
Between Anne and I, our four kids and our eight grand kids, we have birthdays on most all of the months of the year. I grouped the images so those who had a birthday in a particular month could see the pictures of themselves on that month.
Next step was to use iPhoto to create the calendar. I just selected the Mobile Me gallery and clicked the create calendar button. I did not even have to download the photos to my local hard drive. I selected the Picture Calendar format to use, which has a photo page on the top sheet and a calendar on the bottom. ON screen I could work which each month and all the images from the Mobile Me Gallery on the left side. I started out with the cover page and picked an image to include and changed the title.
Then for each month, I would first enter any birthdays on the calendar portion (I had it insert the US holidays when I first started). Then for the top picture portion, I would first select a layout, from 1 to 7 images. Then it was a simple matter of dragging the photo from the left bar into one of the image placeholders. If I wanted to try some other photo, I just dragged it over and it replaced my first attempt. Once inside the placeholder you can zoom and pan the image if you wish.
When Anne and I were happy with the final results, I clicked the Buy Calendar button at the bottom. The cost was about $20 per calendar, plus shipping. I will get them in time to hand out to the kids at Christmas time.