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Photo Madness

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We take lots of photos. We take SO MANY photos. We used to take photos on occasions when we remembered to bring the camera, like vacations or parties or holidays. But we are now approaching 15 years since the introduction of the iPhone and since that time we take pictures ALL THE TIME. If you are a GenXer like me your photo collection probably looks something like this: boxes or albums of print photos you took in your youth, old print photos passed on to you from your parents or grandparents, many of them in frames. If you are married you likely have a huge, black, heavy wedding album full of photos from the happy day that you lug out every once in awhile. If you have children you likely have a gazillion photos of Child #1, and a slightly less but still impressive number of photos of subsequent children. Your phone (and potentially a cloud service) is full of pictures of friends, lattes, kids, parking spots, screen shots, dogs, cates, views of airplane windows, selfies and various memorable meals. Depending on how prolific you are you likely take between 1000 and 2000 photos a year. Let’s multiply that by the past 13 years. That means you have upwards of 25,000 digital photos just from your phone, plus the additional boxes, albums and framed pictures located in various places around your home.


What to Do? Well, maybe not anything. The pictures will continue to accumulate (by a magnitude) as the years go by. You will enjoy them ephemerally as you take them, maybe texting them to family members or posting them to social media. And then they are gone, lost amongst the thousands like them. If this does not bother you that’s perfectly fine. It’s how millions of people live with the pictures that tell the stories of their lives.

But I submit that we can derive great satisfaction and joy from (most) of those pictures. I believe that photos are one of the Things That Matter and that we should prioritize them amongst all of the other stuff we accumulate in a lifetime. When your photos are easily accessible there are an infinite number of ways to enjoy them:


Yearbooks tell the photo story of what happened across a year. I made one of these things every year that included the best photos of what was happening in our family from sports events to vacations to images from our every day lives. My kids devoured these yearbooks and would actually hound me, ‘Mom, when’s the yearbook coming out?’ like it was on a publishing schedule. As they’ve grown up they like to grab a stack and go through them when they are home visiting from college or having some down time. We keep them in the living room and because they are fairly low profile and don’t take up a ton of space we can keep the whole collection pretty handy. I love those books. And if the house burned down we could easily replace them because they are preserved as digital copies on Shutterfly where I built them originally. They also make great gifts for your people if you are going through a photo organization project.

Gallery Walls

Gallery Walls are excellent places to showcase the Best of the Best of your photos and there are so many modern ways to achieve an elevated look that can blend in with the aesthetic in your home. I have several gallery walls in our house (shocking I know); one that feels more formal and 2 that are casual in feel but bring me joy every time I walk by them. When your photo collection has been digitized and organized it is easy to find the real gems, the photos that are (or should become) ‘famous’ in your family, and those are the ones to put on display so you can enjoy them every day. There are endless companies with products at varying price points to help you turn your best photos into a lovely gallery; the two I’ve used are Shutterfly and Mixtiles. Shutterfly does everything from framed & matted photos to canvas prints to photo tiles with lots of options for size, shape and framing. Mixtiles just has one product, 8x8in ‘tiles’ that mount on your wall very easily with no hardware. I love their product because it’s so fast and simple to place your order!

Slideshow Videos

Another great motivation to get your photos organized and accessible is so that they are available when a big milestone or event approaches. An edited collection of photos, set to music and enhanced with copy makes a personal, thoughtful and eternal gift that you can enjoy over and over again (and it doesn’t take up any space in the house!) I’ve created slideshow videos for milestone birthdays, graduations, engagement parties, memorial services and sports banquets. They are a hit every time. They are easy to share and last forever. They are fantastic to enjoy as a group at a party. And they are a great way to enjoy your photos!

So anyway you can see I’m passionate about this topic of photos, ever since I was a little kid pouring over the albums that my grandmother made for our family. Pictures are the best; they preserve our memories, take us back to happy times and tell the stories of our lives. You should make your collection accessible and get around to enjoying the memories you’ve created over the decades – it’s a worthy investment! If you need help getting started just visit my Photo Organizing Services page!

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