Today I get a break from trying to come up with witty stories and helpful advice. My dear friend Melissa has graciously put together an amazing guest blog post for me to share with you. She has outlined several ways to save, organize, print and share your photos…on your phone or from a “real” camera. 🙂 If you know me, you know I absolutely hate it when people don’t print their photos. They are no good on your phone or on your hard drive where no one can see them! But the idea of sorting them, choosing the best, and printing them is daunting. I know. But Melissa has some fabulous ideas to take the stress out of it, get them printed, and reap the rewards!
Thank you Melissa!! I don’t know how you had time to do this, but I am so happy you did!
I am not usually a blogger. I am a long time friend of the Kelleys and I am a blog reader. I love to watch Kim’s girls grow up and laugh at the funny things that Tom is doing. It makes me feel like I am still a part of their lives, especially when she records every day occurrences…remember when Tom married Payton? Adorable, right?
I would be lying if I didn’t say that I also get a twinge of sadness thinking, my kids don’t have any of these memories recorded. If my girls want to look at pictures of themselves, I pull out my phone and take 5 minutes to scroll through 1,572 pictures to find the right one. Doesn’t matter though, they have already moved on by the time I get there.
I am a pretty normal working mom: some days, I have my stuff together and the kids get to school with their My Little Pony themed snack of the day (rice krispie treats with fruity pepples mixed in) and some days I am peeling clementines at stop lights because I forgot it was “snack day” and my husband threw a bag of produce from the garage into the open window of my still-moving car. Most days, my work-outs don’t get done, dinner came from the microwave and my teeth haven’t been flossed since the last time I went for my check up (Just kidding, Dr. West, I faithfully floss twice daily). There was no chance for me to get those adorable family moments recorded.
However about a year ago, I stumbled upon a way to deal with family memories that I want to share. In an effort to pay it forward, I want to pass along these life-hacks in case there is another mom like me desperate for some help.
I am a busy lady, just like most of you—professional job that requires 60+ hours a week, three little kids under 5…so these solutions have a low time-impact, but they get the job done.
- How to organize family photos
I know you just rolled your eyes, but before you stop reading immediately, let me explain. You can actually do this by the time you finish reading this blog. Download a free cloud photo storage app to your phone. I use Amazon Prime for everything (EVERY.THING—I complain that we have to leave the house to buy milk). For Amazon Prime members, you have free unlimited photo storage. Download that Amazon Prime Photo App, sign in and it will automatically upload the photos of your phone. Repeat on your husband or loved ones device by signing into the same account. Repeat again on your computer and other devices. Amazon Prime photos will categorize all of the photos by date and voila, you have just backed up all of your photos and they are already organized by date. This happens automatically everytime you open the app.
Did I just change your life?
Amazon Prime is not perfect, it sometimes uploads pictures with future dates, or dumps them into an undated category, but it is pretty good. I have heard that google photos is also good.
- How to capture and record family moments
I know that I just conjured up images of smiling women in mock turtle necks surrounded by tables of stickers, paper and specialized scissors. (Sorry, Mom, I didn’t just mean you). Digital scrapbooking is kind of amazing thanks to the ProjectLife App. This app helps you to take those pictures that you just organized and add them to pages with text. That is the purpose of scrapbooking—bringing the story and the text together (also, the purpose of blogging, right?) The wonderful thing is that you can do this all right from your phone. This was something I could get behind. I was already using my phone for a lot of things that didn’t lead to anything: checking facebook, scrolling through instagram, counting my calories—why not do something where there was a beautiful product at the end?
This app is so quick that I could literally make a family yearbook in 2-3 weeks working at night and on weekends. Those results might not be replicated—when I get excited about something, I tend to go overboard. Becky Higgins, the creator of Project Life App has a million wonderful videos to get you started. I promise it is EASY and completely worth the $2.99 initial investment. (Yep, under $3)
My picture taking has gotten so much better too. Because I am scrapbooking, I am actually thinking about recording memories in real time. When the kids are doing something fun, I think about getting my phone out to take a photo that tells the story. My photograpghy is getting better because I am intentional about taking photos and then reviewing them because I am using them. Don’t get me wrong, I put the crappy photos in the scrapbooks too if the story is funny enough—like the picture of the poisonous snake in our garage that my husband texted me and then battled with our barefooted neighbors—that was funny, and now we can relive it.
Next, Print the scrapbook pages.
This is actually an important step. It is great to have the printed photos, out of your phone and into your hands, or your family members’s hands. After I create the pages in the ProjectLife App, I save them to my phone. I then uploaded completed pages to blurb.com. I really like the quality of books from this company and they almost always have a coupon (40% off is a good one). I choose 12 x 12 inch photo books, hard cover, image wrap, proline uncoated pages. They are beautiful!
My advice is to let go of the mistakes and actually bring the books to completion. Perfection is the enemy of the good here. Proofread once then print the dumb thing. Congratulate yourself for finishing the job and if you find a picture that should have been included in April of 2015, just think about all the other ones that were in that book that otherwise wouldn’t be printed if you waited forever.
- How to deal with Kids Art
I have 2 prolific artists in my house and it is hard to deal with all of the paper crafts that they produce in a way that displays things they are proud of, but does not overwhelm us with gluey feathers and spray painted noodles. I have a solution for this, too.
I make small art books for each of the kids. Mine are so prolific, I actually have to do this twice per year. Each day when they bring something home, I ask if they would like to include it in their art book. They always get excited and say yes. I have a bin for each of them in the office and it goes there. They never fight because they like the art books. Special things go on the fridge, but its rare. At Christmas Break and the end of the year, I take a photo on my cell phone of each item. No thinking, no screening, just snap, snap, snap. It takes about 20 minutes. Then they go to the “extended storage.” I use chatbooks app to make a photo book of these masterpieces. Chatbooks creates 6 x 6 inch books (soft or hard cover). One picture per page. You can also add text.
I interview the kids about what each picture represented and I write it in the caption EXACTLY. They are largely intolerant of this portion of exercise, but I persevere. It is hysterical to go back a year later and read “A Snowflake, again! Why are you showing me so many pictures of snowflakes?”
The advantage here, is that these books are cheap for a lot of pages. I never worry about choosing which picture was the most special—I cant really tell the difference a lot of times. It has been fun to watch the progress in the art over the years though—scribbling to coloring in the lines, drawing shapes, drawing our family, writing their names. They are afforadable enough that I can also print copies for the Grandparents. Sorry, chatbooks, but they are not really high quality, the photos are not always the same color I think they will be and the bindings break down, but they are affordable and small for little hands. For this purpose, they are perfect for me.
Did I mention that I get to throw away their copies of their name made out of marshmallows glued to construction paper? That happens, sorry girls, we cant keep food art forever.
- How to deal with Christmas Cards.
I may have gone a little overboard with the scrapbooking and the next tip is definitely Varsity Level. I love Christmas Cards. LOVE them. Send out an excessive number and hang up all the ones that I receive (until Valentines Day). Because I love them so much, I cant quite get myself to throw them away each year. In fact, I had ziplock bags of Christmas Cards in the basement dating back to 2010. Its true. You never know when you might want to look at a card from Cousin Brad from 5 years ago.
Well, this year, I used the Project Life App again. I took pictures of each of the Christmas Cards, made pages and printed a book per year. I use the same general order of cards each year—ours, family, high school friends, college friends, etc. I use Shutterfly to print 8×8 books. I chose Shutterfly because they are almost always having a promotion for a free 8×8 photobook. (I had a coupon—how I have made many decisions in my lifetime). They are cute little books, and it is fun to flip to the same family each year and watch how they grow.
That’s what I do: Family Year book each year, Art books for the kids, Christmas Card photo book. One bookshelf full of memories. Lots of empty storage bins from paper crafts.
Hope this gives at least one person some tips.
Now, can anyone help me with all of the video clips on my phone and video camera?
Kim Kelley Photography