I have this big wall in my office. I knew it needed something on it but it need to be just the right thing. And then I figured it out. A huge display of every-day photos. The little things that remind me why I get up every day and why my people matter to me so much. I spent time going through all my photos picking out just the right ones and printed them all off as 4x6 horizontal photos. As I was putting them up on the wall, one of my daughters said "I can't believe you put so many pictures of just me all by myself. I must be special."
There's this thing that happens (be it intentional or not) when we take photos of our kids. We're sending a message. And it's one our kids hear loud and clear: I value what you're doing so much that I'm going to stop what I'm doing and take time to document this.
That message goes one step further when we make the effort to get the photos off our phones and computers and out where our family can appreciate them. Keep the stories alive. Keep the memories alive. And it doesn't have to be as hard as we think.
I know a lot of people get overwhelmed when it comes to their photos. Now that we literally all have a phone in our pocket, we're taking more and more and more photos. And then they just sit. Because it seems like a lot of effort to organize them and make some semblance of order so we can print them.
Here's my suggestion.
Just pick ONE thing. One vacation, one event, one holiday, one month, or one year (if you want to start out ambitious). And print those photos. Pick a system that works for your family. A photo-book designed online, a regular old photo album where you just slide the photos in, a wall-display. Something. Anything. Just pick one thing and start there. And when you finish that, pick the next thing. As you start to do this more, you can adjust your strategy. If you don't like the way you're displaying them, pick something else. The key is to START.
The system that works for me right now is Project Life. It's simple (simple=done). It's fast. It's affordable. And there are a few choices. You can use a physical product, a digital product, or, my favorite, you can use the Project Life App. You can document your family stories literally in the palm of your hand.
There are two major things that happen for me when I make an effort to print my photos:
One, printing photos keeps the memories alive. Literally. My memory is horrible. Worse than horrible. I can't remember what I wore yesterday, let alone all the things we do from day-to-day throughout the years. If I wasn't photographing these things, it's like the stories never happen. A friend of mine said "Photographs fuel memory. And memory fuels the heart and soul." Amen. Some days I need a lot of that fuel.
And two, going through my photos on a regular basis and printing those photos out helps me see a.)what parts of our every-day lives I'm forgetting to photograph and b.)what things I'm not making part of our stories yet--I'm not forgetting to photograph them, I haven't made the effort or had the opportunity to make them part of our lives. When I first started getting serious about getting our photographs printed, I started with vacations through the years. Traveling is important to me and something I want to do as a family. As I went to print these photos, I realized we aren't traveling enough. There weren't enough photos documenting vacations because we weren't taking enough vacations. Going through the process of printing photos helped me see parts of our story that were missing. So much to my bank accounts chagrin, we're finding ways to make travel a priority.
If you aren't in the habit of printing out your photos, may I suggest you try the process? Pick ONE thing and ONE system and get something printed. Then move onto the next thing. And the next. And make an effort to get your photos printed and displayed. It's worth the effort. And your family for generations to come will be grateful.
About Lindsay Ross Photography:
Lindsay Ross is a stay-at-home-mom, photographer, and writer at Lindsay Ross Blog. She spends her days keeping little humans alive (and hopefully happy) and her spare time teaching others how to document their every day lives through photos.
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