Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On a Mission to Teach Photo Organizing

Photo Credit Nancy Aikins
I've been on the road a lot lately, educating the public on photo organizing.  By the end of this month, I'll have spent time teaching in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Hampshire.

Buried in a Sea of Photos...
Photo organizing is definitely a hot topic these days!  Most of us have boxes and old albums full of printed photos, digital photos all over our computers, old home movies we can't watch anymore, not to mention boxes of memorabilia and children's artwork.  We don't know what to do with it all, and it continues to pile up, creating an even more difficult situation to deal with.  It becomes a vicious cycle.  One couple who was at one of my recent events told me, "We're here because we can no longer walk into our office."  Another woman said she was there because her husband keeps all of their memory cards in a drawer as backup.  And when I mentioned digital hoarding, many people agreed that that term describes them!  Many of us download our memory cards but don't go through and delete the pictures we don't need, taking up extra space on our hard drives and making it more difficult to go back later and find the pictures that are truly important to us.

It's not that we don't feel like our pictures are important.  To the contrary, our photos and memorabilia are extremely important to us!  Studies have shown that after family members and pets, our photos are the next thing we would try to take out of a burning house.  So why have we let ourselves get into such a state of disarray?

The answer to that question is easy...lack of knowledge and time.  It's as simple as that.  But we took those pictures (or saved that memorabilia) because they had meaning to us.  Personally, I think we owe it to ourselves to create a system to ensure our photos are available to us in the future.  But it's easier said than done.

Creating a Plan to Preserve Your Memories
If you live in the Northeast, and you'd like to hear more about how to jumpstart the memory preservation process, please join me at one of my upcoming community events.  I'll be at The Memory Studio in Old Greenwich, CT on May 3rd, at the Cherry Hill Library in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on May 8th, at the Fairfield Museum and Historical Center in Fairfield, Connecticut on May 15th, and the Cragin Memorial Library in Colchester, CT on May 16th.  They're listed under my Events tab at the top.

There's lots of other places to get information on preserving your memories.  Your Digital Life is one of my favorite sites.  Techlicious recently posted a great article on The Best Photo and Video Digitizing Services.  If you'd like some help and want to work with a professional, check for a photo organizer local to you on APPO's website.  They can help you with your digital dilemmas too!  You can also join their Facebook Group: Association of Personal Photo Organizers for tips and techniques.

Photos are a gift we leave to future generations
One way or another, I hope you'll find a way to get help with your photos.  How great would it be to know that you won't be a stranger to future generations?  I want my grandchildren and great grandchildren to know what life was like for my generation, and I also want them to know ME, and where they came from.  It truly is a gift that we can offer them.  Watch for my upcoming blog from guest blogger and genealogist Jen Baldwin on how to research your past!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ninety-six Years of Pictures

by Caren Kimenker

Last year, my daughter's grandparents on her father's side passed away within 8 months of each other, leaving behind a ninety-six year legacy of family memories in photos.  They both loved their family and friends and surrounded themselves with photos of family groups and grandchildren as pleasant memories when they couldn't be there in person.

As precious as these family photos were to my mother-in-law, it would have been a shame to just sort them and box them away or just split them up amongst various family members.  So, I offered to scan them and make a picture book so that everyone could have their own copy of the photos to enjoy.  This turned out to be a larger task than expected as there were old photo albums and pictures stored all over the house - in main living areas, in the basement family room, in the attic, and in drawers.  But, to me, it was a labor of love.

I had so much fun looking at all the pictures as I was scanning them and then putting them into a book.  Seeing my in-laws in their younger years, the way the outside of their house looked when they first moved in without the porch and the landscaping, seeing my ex and his sisters growing up, all the family vacations and the adventures that they went on, and then the siblings' families as they grew.  My daughter was the oldest grandchild and she managed to have her picture taken with all the other grandchildren.  The pictures made me feel a special connection to my in-laws and a special appreciation of the joy and love they brought to their lives and to everyone they touched.

Putting together a picture book for someone else was not something that I was used to doing, so I took special care to make sure everything was just right and in the correct chronological order.  But, the more pages I finished, the prouder I felt that I was doing this not only for the family members but for my in-laws, because I know how special pictures always were to them.  Lil had diligently labeled every photo with the dare, the location, and the names of everyone in the picture so that the memory was never lost.

My special tribute to them is the last two pages where I did a collage of pictures of the two of them together, always smiling and always showing the love they felt for each other.

The book is finished, except for some final editing.  But, even before she saw the final product, my sister-in-law reminded me of why I do what I do as a photo solutions consultant: "You do a mitzvah with this business--in just one example, for those people who have pictures of their loved ones who have passed away, it is a way to continue honoring the loved ones, by honoring their memory."

Pictures are special because the people, places and things in them are special and because they all tell a story.  Don't lose the stories.

About Caren: I have been helping people create their own photo albums for eleven years.  People would buy the products to make their own albums but then they never completed the album.  They would comment that they didn't have time. Making scrapbooks and preserving memories and stories of photos has always been a strong passion of mine, so I changed my focus to help people get it done by helping them organize their photos and creating their albums.  So, I started CSK Photo Solutions to help people organize their photos and memorabilia, paper or digital, create memory books telling the stories of the pictures, photo gifts, wall prints and much more!  I receive a lot of pleasure from seeing client's reactions to looking through their books that tell their stories.  I will be glad to help you.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Photographing Everyday Moments: Soccer and BMX

Soccer and BMX...these are the things I took photos of this weekend.  I like to take pictures of our everyday activities.  I have to say I am better about doing that than capturing big events.

Sports play a big part in our family.  My husband and I are runners.  We both ran in high school and college.  Neither one of us ever played soccer, but for years, that was the sport of choice for our kids.  In the spring and fall, soccer dominated our weekend activities.

This season I will have a lot of different sports to take pictures of.  My oldest son is running track for his high school and playing soccer for a town travel team.  My daughter is playing soccer for a premier team, and my youngest son is playing soccer for a town travel team, and now has decided that he wants to try BMX racing.  It was fun to watch him kicking up the dirt at the BMX track this weekend!

What kinds of everyday things do you take pictures of?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Favorite Pet Photo Contest

Do you have a favorite pet photo?  Do you like to try out new programs?  Here's your chance to show off your favorite pet photo and try out a new photosharing program at the same time!

The rules:
1) Go to my Facebook page Creative Photo Solutions, "Like" my page and leave me your email address so I can invite you to my Favorite Pet Photo line on Linea.

2) Once you have your invitation, download Linea onto your computer, and add your favorite pet photo or photos.  You can add as many pet photos as you would like.

3) Double click on your favorite photos, click on the + sign and add a comment.

4) Our contest ends Sunday night - the photo with the most comment wins!  Want more comments?  Tell your friends to come by my FB page, give me a "Like" and ask for an invite to the line of photos!

The prize: 
A copy of Beyond Snapshots  (a great book on how to take better photos!) by Rachel Devine and Peta Mazey!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Sparkle of a Photograph

by Halli King

Taking photos is what professional photographers do.  They get the right shot, the right colors, the right exposure, and the shot looks great. When the professional photographer creates the perfect shot, it looks pleasing to the eye, so complete and easy.  One might think, "I can do that!"  Some people can; others, like me, don't always create the best or perfect shot.  Unfortunately, the attitude used to stop me from taking photos.  I would be hesitant to take the shot, in reservation of not getting it just right.

Along came digital and the ability to see what you are taking before it is printed.  Now, people take photos of events that happen in their lives on their phones, cameras, iPads, and other digital devices.  They keep these photos on camera cards and keep the cards, rarely printing the photos they so carefully took.  I too have joined the multitude of picture takers.  I snap pics on the phone without thinking.  I take the digital cameras to special events to record the events.  I may even download these jpegs to a computer to keep track of them.  But am I at the same place as before when I was reserved about taking photos?

We take photos to remember an event that has touched us in some way.  We want to remember the smile, the color of something just so.  If we keep these special photos on a memory card (or hard drive), we can lose sight of the event we wanted to keep.  Memories can fade and with that goes the descriptions of the events we hoped the photograph would trigger.  Print the special photos and write something about the event they are "talking" about.  If the photo is a restaurant, why was it important?  Was the food you ate the reason for the picture, or was it something else?  I took pictures of the door to the kitchen at a restaurant we visited as a family.  Ok, I took several pictures of the door.  Why?  Believe it or not, the children in my family were mesmerized by the opening of the door.  It just seemed to know when someone was approaching the door.  The topic at our meal was about the door, not the food or the fabulous scenery.  On the way out, the waitress showed us the trick...a foot panel that opened the door.  I wrote this story on a card that is with the pictures of the door.  The kids still laugh when they see the picture of the door.  That is, in my opinion, why we take photos and keep them.  The photos are triggers to memories that bring us back to when they were taken.

Take photos.  Print the photos that are the sparkle to the memory.  Write something that goes with the photo so that the sparkle to the memory will be there for others (and yourself) to enjoy for years to come.

I have joined an organization called APPO, dedicated to preserving memories.  I, along with my colleagues, work with clients to help them to preserve the sparkle to the memory.  We work in all types of media: photos, memorabilia, film, digital, printed material, and much more.  We can help you preserve some of the sparkles in your life!

About Halli: 
I have been helping others preserve their photos and memorabilia for 9 years.  When I first started working with photos, I motivated others to work on their photos.  After a few years, I noticed that people just don't have the time to work on their photos.  It wasn't that the photos were not important to them; they just didn't have the time to make the traditional photo albums.  

Our photos and memorabilia document our lives, showing the life we lived and what we valued in our lives.  Taking the time to organize the memories that are important to us and those around us is very significant.  I enjoy when I can help a client take their memories and create something that honors those memories.  That is what Cherish the Photos is all about, placing the memories so that others can 
celebrate our memories, too. I offer help in organizing photos/memorabilia, be photos or jpegs, in creating memory books, memory displays, wall prints and much more!