Sometimes my thoughts take rest in the house I grew up in: they wake in the top bunk and listen to my brother deeply sleeping in the bed below, rise and wander through the 1970s avocado green kitchen with its huge dining table, and slide down the bannister to the basement wall where my parents would mark our height with ruler and pencil.
By now, I’m sure, that wall and has been painted many times over, or hidden behind faux wood-grain panelling. It’s a shame we can’t go back to photograph a loved home — all the nooks and crannies and special places that take up residence in our memories 30, 40 or more years later.
It was with that nostalgic state-of-mind that I created a photo book for a special neighbor. Susan has a wonderful sense of humor and an amazing green thumb. In the fifty years she occupied the house next to ours she had nurtured a lush, beautiful garden. Sadly, for us, Susan recently decided to sell her home and move into a high-rise condo.
During the short window between her move out and the new neighbors move in, I photographed her garden, trying my best to capture the vivid colors and active visitors. I then placed photos in a photo book to give Susan at an upcoming “condo-warming.” The gift was incredibly well-received.
A photo book of a treasured home makes a great thank-you gift to give the home seller at closing. It’s a keepsake of a part of their past that they can take with them to their new home.
Here are a few tips if you decide to give a collection of images to a valued client:
1. Several companies that offer custom greeting and holiday card services (Shutterfly, Mpix,) also offer photo book creation software services. You create the album online choosing from a multitude of page layouts and cover options — the process can be involved and time consuming if you’ve never created a photo book before. If that’s the case, consider hiring someone to do it for you.
2. Photo books can range from coffee-table book size to as small as a 5×5 square albums. Most of the online photo book sites require a minimum of 20 pages. The cost of the photo book increases the more pages your book has.
3. A photo book’s impact is greatest when the photos capture the home as it’s lived in now — before furniture and knick-knacks have been removed for staging. If possible, arrange for the photographer to visit the home before it’s cleaned up and cleaned out for sale. You might also consider asking the client for any old photos of the home, yard and gardens. These can be scanned and added to the photo book.