The Most Photographed Generation

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Our children are certainly the most photographed generation in history, between print photographs, digital photographs from cameras and phones, Tweets, videos, Instagram posts, Snapchats, and much more.  When I talk to people about their pictures, the focus quite often seems to be on making sure their digital images are backed up, followed by having them organized.  I completely understand why.

When I was a child, with my first little 110 Instamatic camera, I took pictures in sets of 12.  Today with my phone and DSLR I take pictures in the 100’s.  It’s so easy to do!  The challenge we face is in dealing with the 100’s of pictures, as it can feel quite overwhelming.  So we look for simple solutions that will make us feel like we’ve HANDLED it and can move on.

I completely agree that backing up your digital images is extremely important.  One computer crash can be horrible if you don’t back your things up.  Having organized images and prints is also key, so that you can find things when you look for them.  I regularly help my clients with organizing both digital and print images, and can attest to that feeling of satisfaction when everything is in it’s correct place, labeled and ready to be used, found, enjoyed, etc.

Here is my question though.  Back when we took pictures in sets of 12, we would print them, choose a really good one to frame and hang up, carry them in our wallets, tuck them into the side of a mirror in our room, give them to friends, make scrapbooks with little stories about the picture, write the date and information about the picture on the back,etc.  I don’t think we are doing much of this today.  We share our digital images online, and I love the ability to do so easily and quickly!  I use Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram to stay in touch with friends and family.  Every now and then, though, I wonder……

Is there any program or technology that I am using that I believe will still be around in 15 years?  20 years?  25 years?  Probably not.  So here is my thought for the day.  I think that this most photographed generation deserves to have some of their best pictures USED for something.  Make something with them.  It can be as simple as a mousepad for your desk, or a framed print, or a notecard.  Take your pictures out and find your favorite – the first favorite you come across – and enjoy it!  Remember when you took the picture and why.  Think about the place or people in the picture.  Tell the story behind the picture to someone you love.  Don’t these amazing images we are all producing deserve that once in a while?

As I sit here at my desk, I realize that I am not immune to leaving the images trapped in my computer or box.  But I have used pictures in things that make me smile all the time.  I have favorite pictures of my children framed in our family room, and I can remember the day I took those pictures.  I have a great picture of my husband and children that I turned into a mouse pad when Shutterfly offered me a free mousepad last month, and my coaster on my desk is a picture of my husband’s flower garden last year.   I ‘grabbed’ a bunch of pictures from my daughter’s Instagram account last December to create a calendar for her for 2015.  There are so many things we can do with our pictures.  Let’s just enjoy them!

I am happy to help anyone make something with their pictures, just ask!

Love my children’s artwork! (but……..)

Do you have children?  Do your children do artwork?  Some of us keep everything our children have created, from preschool or younger to the present.  Some of us enjoy it and then keep only our favorites.  Some of us are really good at clearing things out every year.  I fall somewhere in the middle.  Even though I don’t keep everything, it can still accumulate quickly and if I didn’t have a plan for what to do with it, I would feel overwhelmed quickly.

One of my favorite things to do with their artwork when they were young (preschool and elementary) was I chose my favorites and framed them.  I didn’t use fancy frames, just the ones on sale at the local craft store.  Then I created an art wall in the upstairs hallway.  Someday when we downsize the house and the kids are grown and have their own places, they will receive their framed pieces.  Some of them are truly good (I may have ‘mommy goggles’ on here!), and some are important because of the subject, or are part of their childhood that was important.

Another thing I have done is incorporate their artwork into scrapbooks, both traditional paper ones and digital ones.  With the ability to digitize their artwork, the possibilities are endless!  Sometimes my clients want help making things with the artwork and other times, they just need help getting good digitized copies of them.

I ran across an article today (http://www.buzzfeed.com/morganshanahan/genius-ways-to-immortalize-your-kids-artwork) with some ideas that I already knew about and some more wonderful ideas.  Check it out and let me know in the comments if you have any other good ideas!

Resolutions and ‘the pile’

New Year Resolutions – do you make them? Do any of them involve pictures? Something like … I’m going to take more, do something with them, back them up, find them, make a scrapbook, open ‘the box’ of photos my parents gave me, etc. I struggle just like everyone else. I used to take pictures 24 at a time, with my awesome SLR camera. I remember waiting at CVS or Target or Wolf Camera for the developed prints. Now I take pictures 100’s at a time. This is one of the BEST parts of our new digital world. I can see right away if I got the shot, and if I can’t I just keep shooting in the hopes that out of the 100’s I’ll get a few good ones. (There is usually at least one good one once I have a chance to look at them!) The challenge is that instead of figuring out how to deal with 24 prints (or 48 with doubles!) and negatives, I have 100’s of photographs to deal with. Sometimes all that means is that I get them moved on to my computer. Sometimes I am able to organize them and tag them. Sometimes they get put into the pile for ‘later’. There are months (let’s be honest here – years) that the ‘later’ pile wins. I don’t make resolutions for the new year, instead I adopt the Word of the Year approach that I learned from Christine Kane. This year’s word is ‘PLAN’. Everything, for me, seems to be less stressful and more smooth when I plan, whether I’m talking about what I eat, getting to the gym, or even enjoying my photographs. So this coming week, amongst everything else on my calendar, I’ve planned two things. One of them is that I will spend 1 hour sorting through as many of the digital photos on the ‘later’ pile as I can make a dent in, and 1 hour making something with them (probably summary pages for a year in review digital book). The other thing I planned to do is write this post to share that you don’t have to be overwhelmed. If you want some advice about where to start, give me a call. If you want some help getting it done, give me a call.
(Now I can check of
f one of those things – I LOVE the feeling of checking off items on my to-do list!)

It’s beginning to look a lot like … it’s empty in here!

After the holidays, it always strikes me how empty the house looks when we take all the decorations down.  The place looks huge and barren compared to all the homey touches we add over Christmas and New Years.  One of my favorite decorations are the cards and letters we receive.  I always display them on a table between my kitchen and family room, with all of the pictures smiling at us every time we walk by.  It’s great to see all the faces from extended family, neighbors from our new town and old hometown, longtime friends, and new friends.

I used to gather up all the pictures and letters and put them in a plastic bag because I really didn’t want to just throw them away.  Then the plastic bag made it into the bin with all the other pictures that were waiting.  Waiting to be dealt with, used, enjoyed, SOMETHING.  Then one year I had an idea that I’ve carried through every year since.   I have a Christmas album (actually a few now).  I’m not talking about anything complicated or fancy, but I take all of the important pictures, and letters and put them in a set of pages labelled with the year.  I also add whatever the annual post office stamp is to the front page along with our family photo card.  It is so fun to look at the changes in everyone through the years, particularly the children as they grow.  (As a side note, I take my favorite non-picture Christmas cards and cut them up to be tags for presents next year!)

It takes me about two hours start to finish to add the year’s collection to the album, and it’s a fun afternoon project.  It also makes me happy to know that I have done something meaningful with all of those smiles and adorable pictures everyone sends to us!

Our collection of photo cards and letters from family and friends, 2014 edition!
Our collection of photo cards and letters from family and friends, 2014 edition!

I love my job….

Welcome to my FreeMyFotoz blog!  I LOVE my job.  I truly enjoy working with photographs and bringing them to life, or bringing them back to life.  I’ve been inspired by the stories behind my clients’ projects, and I feel privileged when they share the stories behind the pictures and memorabilia.  Some projects that stand out that I’m particularly proud of are:

  • Creating a 72-page book for a client that incorporated letters written home by her father-in-law from the Korean War and paired them with pictures taken while there.  The book lets them share that story with everyone in the family without worrying about damaging the originals.  This kind of first-hand history is a real gift to future generations.
  • I had a client who was the keeper of the family heritage photos, paperwork, and everything else.  She had a small room filled with boxes, bins, and envelopes that we digitized.  One highlight was letters in a leather satchel that were sent home by her father during WWII to her mother.  One of these letters literally outlined D-Day and what was seen and experienced.  We not only digitized these letters, but also put them in chronological order in protective sleeves in binders for the family to be able to look at without damaging.
  • We created coach gifts for two years in a row for my daughter’s Swim and Lacrosse coaches.  Coaches usually appreciate monetary gifts, which they did receive, but the albums were keepsakes that they would have for years with highlights from each of the seasons.  Similarly, we created framed prints for all of the graduating seniors that showed highlights of their years in the sport.
  • I created a 100-page book for my son’s Boy Scout journey, from Tiger to Eagle.  He really enjoyed seeing that book and all of his experiences over twelve years.

I’m lucky to be able to do something I love for a living, and I’m looking forward to bringing more stories to life in 2015.  Happy New Year!