A Family Bonding Fun Chore

Some of my fondest family memories have been the ones where my family sat down in a huddle and turned the pages of our photo album, a real book with real pictures and wonderful memories. If you want an activity that can give you a closer family, this is probably one of the best family bonding experiences. Its one of those activities that gives you one on one time with your family, young or older, and helps you re-live not only your story but theirs, which is an important part of who you are as a family and as individuals. Many times during these huddles, our individual stories would come out. Either mom & dad would expand on how we were when we were too small to remember or, as we got older, we could tell our own perspectives on that day. Often, these times were filled with laughter, fun and the closeness of a family.
Today, computers & TVs play slideshows, but it’s not the same as having those memories in hand as slideshows move on to the next picture too quickly. In my opinion, you lose some of the closeness a physical picture can create. Don’t let your pictures sit out in cyberspace forever, make them real things.

When deciding which ones to get developed, try to remember a few things:
1) Step out of your own perspective for a minute and think about your whole family and which perspective they may want to remember forever before you discard a picture.
2) Try not to be overly critical. A picture where your hair may be slightly out of place when hugging your child may be one of your childs’ favorites as they grow up. You shouldn’t destroy a memory another may cherish because you don’t like the way you look. This one is especially difficult for me as I am not a photogenic person but I have to remember that these aren’t just my memories, they are my families’ too so there is a middle ground that I have to come to when picking which ones to send to the printers.

You may say “Christy, I’m so busy, I have 8 kids, a full time job, a demanding spouse, I don’t have time to get them developed or organize them afterwards!”
To that I would recommend, find the time, its an easy task! Here are some of the photo related things you can do while you are cleaning, showering, cooking, feeding, or doing whatever your busy self is doing. These are multi-tasking opportunities.
– Plug your camera into your computer to upload your photos
– Upload your photos to the site of your choice for backup and future (near future) developing.
Note: You can always go back and edit which ones you want to keep later during those rare few minutes of peace in your life, but when you’re busy, just get them off your disc.
Find a photo developer that is convenient for you. There are developers who will deliver right to your mailbox. If you don’t want to pay the extra shipping, you can order from your local department store and then you can pick them up on your regular trip there.
You say, “Then what? I don’t have time to put them all in a book, organize them, etc, they will just sit in their envelopes and gather in strange places all over the house.” Let me give you an easy solution. Keep one of these

When you pick them up, write on the envelope (be sure to take the pictures out of the enveope first) the occassion inside with a general date or date range and stick them in the box for snowy or rainy days. On the snowy or rainy days, organizing them either in a book or in some sort of organizational order would make a great family moment. You can bring in your older kids to help.
For the older pictures, organize them best you can but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to remember exact dates, just get them in your box or book.
Note: Make sure if you put them in a book, it has acid free pages as the acid in the old books have been known to contribute to the detrioration of photos. Most photo albums made today are safe, but this may be another good reminder to remove old pictures from old albums to save them from further detrioration.
In summary, make your memories a priority. It may not seem important in the everyday ‘busy-ness’ of our lives but the moments when you all sit down together, turn off the tv, and go through those little snapshots of time will create memories in themselves. It will give you together time and you’ll even likely hear others differing perspectives of the same events. Your family will bond and learn more about each other. This is even a great event for older crowds during that Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering! This is one of those beautiful pastimes for all ages, that doesn’t cost a lot and can keep you all entertained for hours on end.

Remember to Upload!

Has this happened to you?
Your child decides to make some funny faces in the mirror, you stifle a laugh, rush for your camera turn it on but get the message that your card is full. DANG! You forgot to upload all of those pictures off of your camera from a birthday party weeks ago. Next thing you know, the moment you were hoping to capture is gone forever.

Another example happened to a friend of mine. She recently told me how she took a lot of adorable pictures at her daughters birthday party. She came home started on her chores, turned on the TV and thought it could wait until later to unload the photos. The next day she took her children to the pool with her camera in her bag and fell in! She not only lost her camera, but the pictures of her childs 3rd birthday. It can happen to any of us.
I know we all live very busy lives, but when you come home from that vacation or that birthday party, do yourself and your family a favor and take the time to get those pictures off of that disc so your camera is ready to go and your pictures are more safe then they were. The longer you leave them in your camera, the more you risk losing them forever. Take the next step as soon as possible and upload them on an online site for extra protection. That way if your computer goes down, you still have a place to go to retrieve them.

Another thing you should do to ensure your camera is ready, is remember to format your memory card. Formatting your card is a maintenance step for your disc to keep it healthy and less likely to become corrupt. It is recommended you do this each time after you’ve uploaded your photos to your computer or storage device. Before you format, be sure your photos have been properly uploaded because formatting will delete the images and you will likely not be able to recover them. Read your camera owners’ manual to find out how to format your disc.

Lastly, don’t forget the batteries! Make sure you have new ones on hand and keep at least one set near your camera at all times.
These are just some of the things that help me, as a photographer, stay ready for any moment. Most of you may have all ready known these tips, but I hope if nothing else, it serves as a reminder to make your photo memories a priority.

My next post will contain a tip about
– something to do with family (whether you have a young family or older)
– it’s free
– it will cross something off your to-do list
– And potentially provide hours of entertainment!