Friday, February 9, 2024

Help! My Photos Are in Too Many Places!

You're not alone.  If you've got photos on your phone, your computer, in Google Drive and Dropbox (and maybe some other places too), it can be a little overwhelming to organize them.  And it's a common problem.

Luckily, it's a common problem that can be solved easily!

I accidentally changed someone's life a few months ago with this idea for how to get them all in one place easily, so get ready to let it change yours, too.

If you're feeling overwhelmed with your photos because they're in too many places to locate and handle (or overwhelmed with your photos for any reason, really), it can be easy to get stuck in overwhelm.

You've probably never thought about this, but Photo Overwhelm is dangerous.

Why Photo Overwhelm is Dangerous

When you're overwhelmed with photos, you miss out on all the good-for-you benefits that interacting with your photos gives you (which have been proven in studies, by the way).

You miss out on increased happiness and relaxation.  You miss out on increased perspective, purpose, and belonging.


You miss out on decreased stress.

So getting out of Photo Overwhelm is a really big deal for your own well-being!

Why Having Your Photos in One Location Matters

You probably don't need to be told this, but having your photos and memories scattered in multiple locations contributes immensely to overwhelm.  It also makes organizing your photos much, much harder (maybe even impossible).

It's so important to simplify your photos by having them in one location.


When your photos are in one location, you'll be able to find them.  And see them.  And share them.  And enjoy them.  And use them.

Think about it this way:  Imagine trying to organize a child's toys.  Except the Legos don't have a bin and the dolls are in the basement but the doll clothes are at Grandma's house.

If you have one toy cabinet or closet with different drawers, shelves, or compartments, you can keep everything in one location, and everything has a place to go.  When you want to find the puzzles, you know where they are.

It's pretty similar with photos.  If some are on an external hard drive and some are in Google and some are still on your camera, you won't be able to find a photo, let alone know what you have.

NOTE:  I am a Forever affiliate (a decision I made because I love it so much), so you will find affiliate links in this post, from which I earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.

How to Easily Get Your Photos into One Consummate Location

Remember how I told you that I changed someone's life with this suggestion?  Here's what happened.  

I was teaching a photo organizing class, and I was talking about the best way out there to store and organize your photos in the cloud.  (That's only one way you should preserve your photos, by the way--experts recommend two digital ways, one onsite/at-home and one offsite/cloud, as well as one way in print!)

As we talked about organizing your photos in Forever Storage where they're private, secure, triple-backed up, and guaranteed for your lifetime plus 100 years, one of the gals in the class lamented that her photos are in so many places that it would be super challenging to get them all in one place in order to upload them all to Forever Storage.

She asked if I had any advice.

I told her to go the other direction.  Instead of getting them in one place first, just open a Forever account (it's free), then go to all your different devices and open your Forever account on each one.  Then upload photos to your Forever account from each device.   

So easy!  It solved her problem in a snap.

Remember that advice I mentioned from photo experts?

Once all her photos are in her Forever Storage, they are saved in Digital Way #1--they're preserved offsite (in the cloud) in case of onsite disaster (anything from a flood to a computer crash).

From there, it was so easy for her to download her photos to one computer.  And just like that, her photos were stored in Digital Way #2 (onsite/at-home).  

One thing that is important to know is that downloading your own photos from Forever Storage is free (which you don't always get with some cloud storage companies!) and you get your photos back at full resolution, meaning the same quality you took them at. (Some other cloud storage companies store lower-resolution versions of your images, lowering the quality.)

She didn't have to figure out how to transfer all her photos between devices.  She just accessed Forever Storage from all her various devices and uploaded what was on them.  

It was a simple way to get all her photos into one place, both in the cloud and later onto one computer.


Your Photo Solution in 2 Easy Steps 

Let me walk you through the 2 easy steps you'll take to do this same thing.  Getting your photos into one location is the first step to eliminating your overwhelm and allow you to find photos easily so that you can love, share, and enjoy them.

  1. First, open your free Forever account here.  Your free account comes with 2 GB of free photo storage, so start filling it up!  It also comes with a $20 coupon, which we'll use in Step 2.  This tutorial I made on how to upload and organize your photos in Forever Storage will probably be very helpful.  You can also watch this video on editing photos in Forever Storage and this one on how to use the "tags" tool to find a photo fast!
  2. Second, use your $20 coupon to buy additional Forever Storage.  The great thing about purchasing it is that you OWN it, so you're not "renting" it with monthly fees.  You'll get additional Forever Storage at this link where you can also determine how much you need.  Click on any package and you'll see details on how many photos you can store.  For example, 25 GB is 3,750-12,500 photos, depending on the file size of the photo.  I ended up buying a lot more storage once I got my old VHS tapes digitized and wanted to save them Forever, too.  You can choose a one-time payment or 24 monthly payments, but either way you OWN the cloud storage and can access it from any computer, phone, tablet, etc.   

Yet another perk of Forever Storage for your photos and videos!

People often ask me for advice on how much photo storage to buy.  It's hard to say since file sizes differ and some people take more pictures than others, but I would say if you are an average photo taker and you've been taking pictures regularly for 10 or 20 years, you probably need 50 GB.  This will be different if you also want to store videos in Forever Storage because video files are bigger.

You can buy some now and buy some later--whatever works for you--but notice that it's cheaper per GB the bigger the package you can get.  I heard someone say once that you can't buy too much photo storage since we're always taking more pictures, which is a good thing to consider.  

Also, once you've purchased Forever Storage in any amount, you may want to check out this great way to keep getting free Forever Storage.    

Another Benefit of Eliminating Overwhelm 

And there you have it!  If your photos are in too many places, organizing them can be overwhelming--so much so that you might not do it!  So use Forever Storage as your secret weapon to get your photos into one place and get them organized so you can access them, see them, share them, and use them.

Then you're ready to finish up that expert advice we looked at earlier.  From Forever Storage, you can easily put those photos (and even videos using this fun method) into photo-memory book pages!  Then you'll always have access to your memories without worrying if your book is low on battery.  

Forever Print has something for everyone, from quick and easy books to fancy digital scrapbooking, so find your favorite kind here:

And then tell someone you know about this amazing solution!  It really can change everything.

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Friday, January 12, 2024

Start a Photo-Preserving and Memory-Keeping Habit in 10 Minutes a Day

Yes, really.  I'm going to give you some simple directions here to get a handle on your photos--to see, organize, access, preserve, and enjoy them--in just 10 minutes a day.

Find the video version of this post below.  You'll also find a free printable with all this information at the end of the post!

Developing a routine leads to a habit.  Maybe you have heard that a habit can be developed in 21 days or 28 days.  According to the Harvard Business Review, building a habit isn't that cut-and-dried--there actually isn't a certain number of days or repetitions required to develop a habit because there are too many variables.  One variable, they noted, is that it depends on if the habit is fun or not.

For example, I'm very confident that I could start a new habit of eating a Ferrero Rocher chocolate every night preeeeeeetty easily.  They're delicious, it takes no additional work aside from buying them at the grocery store when I'm already there, and it would take me about 15 very enjoyable seconds to complete.

You might think that taking care of your photos is a lot harder than that.  Actually, it isn't.  For 2 reasons.


#1 It's as good as chocolate.  Actually, it's better.  Studies show that spending time with your photos boosts mood 10 times more than our traditional go-to mood boosts of eating, drinking, listening to music, and watching TV or movies.  This same study found that looking at their pictures relaxed people--more than drinking wine and eating chocolate!

So, as I like to say, memory-keeping makes you happier than chocolate.  


Reason #2 that you will find that memory-keeping is an easier habit to build than you probably think is this simple concept:  momentum.  Starting is actually the only hard part.  Because once you get going, you'll be enjoying your photos, remembering good times, and finding that you're having a lot of fun with it.  You'll look forward to it.  And remember with The 10 Minutes Daily Photo Plan I've got for you, you'll be doing all this in manageable bites.  That makes it entirely doable!



NOTE:  I am a Forever affiliate (a decision I made because I love it so much), so you will find affiliate links in this post, from which I earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.

The 10 Minutes Daily Photo Plan 

This plan will probably take you 5-10 minutes a day--and I'd like to offer you a challenge.  Do this for 6 weeks to help you begin a memory-keeping habit.  See how you feel after 6 weeks.  (And, then--please!--let me know!)


The 10 Minutes Daily Photo Plan is based on this advice from photo experts to preserve your photos in two ways digitally (as files) and one way in print.  The plan also takes advantage of technology that provides you (and me!) with both convenience and quality, all the way around.  More on that shortly, but first:  here's the plan.

SUNDAY:  Cull photos from the previous week.  Delete duplicates, out-of-focus photos, and photos that aren't very important.  Save favorites.

MONDAY:  Upload those photos from the previous week (the ones you just went through yesterday) from your phone or computer to Forever and to your computer/external hard drive.  (More about this in the Using FOREVER section below.)

TUESDAY:  Add tags and descriptions to photos in Forever.

WEDNESDAY:  Find a page/pages in your book to preserve the photos in.  This is only deciding and preparing!  (More about this in the Using FOREVER section below.)

THURSDAY:  Put the photos in the pages, adjusting them as needed.  

FRIDAY:  Add details to the photos.  This is sometimes called journaling or story.  Your memories are what make the photos worth something. 

SATURDAY:  Catch-up! If you didn't finish anything this week, finish it today.  OR set aside an hour or two to follow this same process for older pictures from last year or last month that you haven't preserved yet.

Of course, I'll give you all the details (with tutorial videos, too, if you need them) on how to do each step, but first let's think about how to find 10 minutes every day.

How to Find 10 Minutes 

Sometimes we feel so busy that we aren't sure how we can find an extra 10 minutes in a day.  There are lots of great ideas here for giving yourself more time if you need them.  For now, let's just consider where 10 minutes might be lurking.    
  • over lunch--fork in one hand, technology in the other
  • first thing in the morning
  • while dinner is in the oven
  • every evening at a certain time (6:30, 9:00, whatever works best for you)
  • 10 minutes less of Facebook/Instagram/TV/etc.

Where else do you think you could find 10 minutes?

Or, how about this similar idea?  If you enjoy a little dessert or coffee after dinner, make that your memory-keeping time, too!



Using FOREVER for Memory-Keeping:  Here's How To...

As I mentioned earlier, we're going to use some technology that's not only convenient but comes with some top-quality print products, unique photo storage guarantees, etc.  So, these are the details behind the seven daily steps above.

TO CULL (Sunday)
TO UPLOAD (Monday)
  • Today, save your photos two ways digitally, as experts recommend.  One should be onsite (your house) and the other should be offsite (the cloud).  If both are onsite and there's a disaster--anything from a fire or flood to a computer crash--your photos are sadly gone.  So we'll take care of both digital ways here.  I have an "easy button option" to simplify these two parts as well.
    1. Upload them to your computer.  If you need some help with this, this basic article can help and so can the video posted below.  If you prefer, you can save your photos onto an external hard drive if your computer doesn't have enough space.
    2. When choosing a cloud service, you'll want guaranteed privacy and security.  Many people don't know that common cloud storage providers including Google, Dropbox, and Shutterfly, reserve rights to your photos and your data (meaning, they can sell them!) and also reserve rights to change their policies at any time (meaning, they can discontinue their services, delete your photos, etc.).  It's best to buy--not rent--your cloud storage (here's why!), so taking all of those things into consideration, you'll want to open your free Forever account there to make sure your photos are safe.  You'll start with 2GB of free cloud storage for your photos and videos, but you can buy more as neededYou'll be able to organize your photos any way you want in your Forever Storage--watch the How to Upload & Organize video here to see it step-by-step.

NOTE:  You can upload photos at the Forever website on your computer, phone, or tablet, or you can get the Forever app, which makes this step and the next super easy and convenient.  This short video gives you more information about the app:

EASY BUTTON IDEA:  I have personally found it very easy and convenient to just upload all my phone photos to my Forever app and THEN open my Forever account and download them to my computer.  It's just faster than uploading twice.  Forever saves your photos in full resolution (some photobook companies reduce the file size and therefore the quality), so the ability to download back is a great backup for my computer, too!  And my photos in Forever are triple-backed-up, so there's that!

TO ADD TAGS AND DESCRIPTIONS (Tuesday)
  •  Photos without names, dates, places, and details are worth very little.  If you don't know who is in the photo or why it was taken, the photo loses its value.  You might think you'll always remember, but trust me:  you won't.  Memories fade faster than we want them to.  Plus, the babies in those photos will grow up and have no memories of the events at all--make sure you can pass on your photos WITH VALUE.
  • We'll add details (value!) to our photos in print pages later, but for now, you can quickly add them to your digital files in your Forever account.  You can Tag your photos (like put a tag called Bob on all the photos with Bob in them), and you can add Descriptions (names, dates, places, details).  Start this video at 6:45 to see how.  It's super easy!  Again, this can be done straight from your phone if you want.
  • This is what it looks like in your Forever Storage.  You can see the Description I added at the right (it's kind of a paragraph) and the Tags in blue at the bottom right. 

TO CHOOSE A PAGE IN A PHOTO-MEMORY BOOK (Wednesday)
  •  Whether you're a "scrapbooker" or not has nothing to do with this, so don't worry!  
  • Putting photos and memories in pages is so important!  Experts always say that no matter how you save your photos digitally, print remains one of the safest places to store photos.  Plus, you can easily add all the memories and details when they're on a page, and you don't need an expensive device like a phone or computer to be able to access your precious photos!  A book makes a great gift and really isn't the same as an email with pictures.
  • Books from Forever are printed at the highest quality in the industry, so they last, plus a PDF of your book is automatically saved in your Forever Storage, so you have a digital version of it, too.  (So easy to share!)   Find a book template you like here (I suggest searching either "yearbook" or "classic").  Click "start my book" and then you'll choose a page or two that you'll put photos and memories (journaling) in tomorrow.  This video gives you a quick rundown of how to change page layouts.  So, if--for example--you have 9 photos this week that you'll be saving in pages tomorrow, look for a page or two that will hold 9 photos. 

TO PUT PHOTOS IN PAGES (Thursday)
  •  Put photos in the template's photo place holders, as you saw in the video above.  Adjust them within the photo space as needed.  Feel free to choose a different page layout if it turns out the one you'd chosen before doesn't fit the pictures how you like.
  • NOTE:  Using a Design & Print template is the quickest and easiest way to preserve your memories in pages, but if digital scrapbooking with full creativity and flexibility on pages is more your thing, use Artisan instead.  It's what I use, and I *love* it!  Learn more about Artisan here to start, and find my whole Artisan Quick Tips with Jennifer series here.
TO ADD DETAILS IN PAGES (Friday)
  • Click the text boxes on the pages you've just put photos in so you can add details.  This is sometimes called journaling or story.  Your memories are what make the photos worth something.  Refer to the Yearbook Template video above if you need a refresher.
TO CATCH UP (Saturday)
  • If you got behind on any part for any reason this week, catch up today!  If you're right on track, use this time to work on photos and memories from previous weeks, months, or years.  
  • If 10 minutes isn't enough to catch up as much as you'd like, set aside some time on your calendar, or join our quarterly Photo Rodeo: Rein in Your Photos for some dedicated work time online (and I'm there for questions if you have any).
  • Some weeks, you'll take more pictures than other weeks.  On an average week, I take 0-5 photos.  However, I spent 6 days in Ireland last spring and took about 50 photos a day!  It was pretty easy to cull photos each night at the hotel, especially with the app, but that's really all I had time for then.  So, I set aside time on my calendar (before I left!) to come home and do these other steps.  Use this "catch up" time for whatever suits you best, and add more time as needed for non-average weeks.  

Now you're ready!  You can start a photo-preserving and memory keeping habit on Sunday! Keep in up in just 10 minutes a day.  


I suggest getting everything ready to go for Sunday NOW by doing those things that require some set-up under the "Using FOREVER..." section.  You can peruse some savings information here so you're ready for Sunday, too.  It'll be a great day!

Keep up The 10 Minutes Daily Photo Plan for 6 weeks, and tell me what you think!  What changed for you?  What did you discover?  How do you feel after 6 weeks with your photos and memories?  Tell me in the comments below, or email photoandstorytreasures@gmail.com 

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Friday, December 29, 2023

Crafting with Digital Pages and Creative Software

One of my all-time favorite discoveries about digital scrapbooking was that it can be used for so much more than digital scrapbooking!

Yes, preserving my photos matters so much, and preserving them with my memories has many benefits that are good for my heart and soul.

And, yes, in fact I actually need the therapeutic process of sitting down with my photos and memories and putting them together.  (Here's why.)

And digital scrapbooking is so convenient for this:

individual scrap pages unbound (thick like cardstock)

a digital scrapbook with bound, lighter-weight pages

But when I discovered that individual digital scrapbook pages can be used for all sorts of things, from gifts and home decor to party favors and banners, a whole new world opened up!  The thick, glossy paper works beautifully for so many things.

And that's when--many years ago--you started seeing this type of creativity with tutorials here at the blog:

framed scrapbook page to use with a
dry-erase marker to count down days

personalized bookmarks made from a scrapbook page

perpetual calendar and holiday blocks made from digital scrap pages
(the whole set of perpetual calendar and holiday blocks)

magnetic countdown to Halloween
photo credit: Mary Beth Lovejoy

personalized graduation congratulations banner in school colors
made from 4 12x12 scrap pages

cute gift idea--cut out and wrap around a candle

silhouette nativity blocks made from a scrap page

I don't need to tell you how much creative fun I had crafting from digital scrap pages (for years and years!).  They made unique gifts and home decor and were so much fun to give away!

And Then I Had to Pivot

I was pretty happy doing this for 12 or 14 years.  The company I'd been using for my digital scrapbooking also had some really fun products I could get creative with, like address labels.  As it turns out, these address labels fit perfectly around a Hershey Nugget!



And the larger labels could be cut in half to fit around lip balm!

All of this was great until the company had some major technical issues and had to re-design the software (thanks in large part to Adobe discontinuing Flash) and eventually stopped offering this type of creative design under new management.

In the meantime, I had been introduced to Forever, which I loved for 3 reasons:

  1. the quality of the books and other products created using not one but three different ways to make them ("easy button," professionally-designed templates, and creative digital scrapbooking) and then professionally published
  2. the permanent, private, secure digital photo and video storage I had not seen offered anywhere else (no monthly fees and lots of other perks)
  3. the best digitizing service (as verified by Trustpilot, actually) where I could get all my VHS tapes digitized, old slides digitized, old photos scanned, etc. 
Pivoting my digital scrapbooking and photo storage was easy because Forever is everything I could ever want for my memories.  

But it took a little time and quite a bit of thinking about how I could continuing to craft with digital scrapbook pages with a new software program and different products.

NOTE:  I am a Forever affiliate (a decision I made because I love it so much), so you will find affiliate links in this post, from which I earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.

How to Craft with Digital Scrap Pages using Artisan

Forever's digital scrapbooking software, Artisan, is pretty astonishing, to be honest.  There is SO MUCH you can do with it.  I've been using it for over 2 years, and I know I'm just scratching the surface.  (The Artisan pros at Pixels2Pages know it all and teach something new all the time!)

I'm so thrilled with what I've been able to do, crafting with digital scrap pages using Artisan software.

So, I've made two videos to show you how to craft with digital scrap pages using Artisan.  

This first video is for things like the blocks, bookmarks, and banners I showed you at first.  These are best printed at the Forever print shop with their professional papers and inks.  The thick glossy paper is just perfect for things like this.  You basically create something, then cut it out or frame it.

Here are two things I've made recently as digital scrap pages (available in 12x12, 8.5x11, or 8x8)  using Artisan and then printed professionally with Forever.

gift tags I made in Artisan from an 8x8 scrap page

In fact, if you click that image, it will open in your (free) Forever account and you can actually save this project to your Forever account and then have it printed without having to do a thing!  Just click the "copy to my library" button above the image.

Same with this birthday banner--just click it to save to your Forever account and print.  Assembly directions included.



birthday banner made from 3 12x12 scrap pages

This second video is for use on projects that you prefer to print at home instead of on the professional, thick, glossy paper in sizes of your choosing.  This method is only for use with 8.5x11 scrap pages so you can print them at home, but they are great for two things especially: 1- printing on thin (regular printer) paper and 2- printing on sticker paper (such as Avery 8165). 

It's how I now make my own stickers like the candy wrap labels for the Hershey Nuggets I showed you before.  I print my Artisan-designed pieces on a page of sticker paper, then wrap them around the chocolates.  Super easy! 



This is a cool way to gift them, too--cut a piece of card stock, tape the wrapped chocolates on, then slide into a pretzel treat bag!

I could do stickers for lip balms (or anything else I might dream up) as well!  

This is a new style I tried for our Halloween Harry Potter party this year.  I wanted to try printing on regular printer paper (thin) so it would easily bend around a candy bar, and I wanted to try snack size candy bars, which I've never done before.  The first go wasn't quite big enough, so I made an adjustment, and now I daresay it's perfect.  :)   It turned out great!  


Again, you can click these image to download it--this one is different from the others I've shared with you because it's not a project, it's just a PNG (image) file.  Once you open it in Forever where I have it saved, you should click the "download" button you see along the top.  You'll save it to your computer and print from there (on your printer). 

Note that only projects are printable with Forever, but you can save images like this one above and PDF files in your Forever Storage, too, along with photos, videos, etc.

I'm not sure how Blogger will do for quality, so if either the Joy to the World stickers or the Harry Potter wraps don't save at high resolution from here on Blogger, please email me at photoandstorytreasures@gmail.com and I'll email you the full-quality images.

Get Creative!  (with a Fun Challenge)

Artisan digital scrapbooking software is so fantastic for digital scrapbookers.  (If you don't have Artisan yet, there's a 30-day free trial of it here.)  


But it's also so much fun for parties, home decor, gifts, and more!

Here's the challenge:  Find an old "crafting digitally" project that I have posted here at the blog previously.  Following the directions using the video(s) posted above, create your own Artisan design using a Forever scrap page.  Then email me a picture of your completed design at photoandstorytreasures@gmail.com to show off.  :)  Let me know if I can use your photo with props to you here at the blog, too!  (Totally optional!)
 
Use the "DIY and crafts" labels to find old posts, or click on one of these options:
I can't wait to see what you do!  
 
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