Friday, May 26, 2017

How Stop Being a Photo-Stasher and Start Being a Heritage-Maker

This post was updated 2022.

What's the best tip you read this month on #familyhistoryfriday?  Why {getting digital photos out of digitalform} is a must?  How to {turn digital files into actual photos}?  Or the {tips to make these goals into reality}?  I hope you've found a life-changing nugget this month!  Once you have, how do you make the transition from photo-stasher to heritage-maker?  

In other words, how do you stop just amassing photos and start turning them into family stories and heritage?

The first thing to do is listen to yourself.  You are unique.  The things that make you YOU will affect how you move forward using the tips you've learned so far on #familyhistoryfriday.  

Introverts do things differently than extroverts.  If you like planning ahead, you'll have preferences that differ from someone who likes making decisions as he/she goes.  Are you {an HSP}?  Do you think through everything and process things slowly or are you a more snap-decision maker?  All of these tendencies, preferences, and traits affect your everyday life and choices, so they will naturally affect your memory-keeping, too.

Listen to yourself.  Go with your strengths.  You may have to {step out your comfort zone} and stretch to do new things as you become a memory-keeper, but the more you enjoy the process the more likely you are to be successful and consistent.

Nike said it best with their "Just Do It" slogan.  If you want to get different results than you've gotten before, it's important to DO something different.  Use the tips we've talked about, and move forward.  Just do it.  Make a plan, set goals, and GO.  

Sometimes the first step is the hardest, but with something as fun and beneficial as preserving photos and memories and stories, the rewards come quickly.  You can easily use that momentum to propel you forward week after week and month after month as you consistently stay on top of your photos.  That's what will make you a heritage-maker, not a photo-stasher.

My favorite resource to do All The Memory-Keeping Things is Forever.  Watch the recording of this 35-minute class and you'll know everything you need to know to preserve and share your photos and memories, plus videos and even old family movies!  

Let me tell you the most important thing--the key to successful memory-keeping.

Recording family stories from the past generally has a conclusion.  When I recorded my own memories of my grandparents, I ended the story.  I could certainly add more in the future if I want, but I'm happy with what I've preserved so far.  It's done, as far as I'm concerned.  

That's not the case with my own story, my family's story of the present.  It's ongoing.  We'll go on vacation again this year, and there will be birthdays and holidays and first days of school again this year.  And I will take pictures of all of it.  So will you.

So the key to success is consistency.  

To be a memory-keeper, I have to consistently repeat the steps we've talked about on #familyhistoryfridays this past month.  I have to upload my photos from my camera and phone to my computer.  I have to then publish them with their stories (our memories) again and again.  

We make new memories all the time.  New things happen in our family's story, from a broken bone to a trip to Yellowstone or Disneyland, from graduations to cousins visiting.  As a heritage-maker, I record and preserve our story consistently.  And the good news is:  it's fun!  (especially when it's done consistently)

Just keep your eye on the goal.

If you start to fall out of the habit of keeping up on your memory-keeping, keep your eye on the goal.  Connecting yourself and your children to those who came before you is powerful and has long-lasting effects.
"When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves."  ~Russell M. Nelson
This is equally relevant if you're NOT recording ancestor stories.  This is just as valid when you're preserving family stories and photos from today.  Remembering good times and celebrations as well as the triumphs that have been overcome have a strengthening effect on children, adults, and families.

Besides that, every photo you have on your phone or camera was taken for a reason.  You wanted to remember.  You wanted to capture something beautiful, fun, memorable, funny, enjoyable, impressive, even sad.  So if you want to remember, you have to preserve.  You have to see the photo and read the memories associated with it.

That's how to remember.  It actually {keeps your memory from fading}!

{Get started here} with heirloom-quality memory-keeping and guaranteed photo privacy.  If you need extra tips, explore the {photo organization tab}, {tips to catch up if you're behind}, and how to work together with {our community} to help you accomplish your goals.

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This post was first published on May 26, 2017, at by Jennifer Wise.
More #familyhistoryfriday posts can be found at the Labels below by clicking the hashtag.

Monday, May 22, 2017

an easy way to preserve your own story: social media

Thanks for stopping by.  We have a 2023 UPDATE before you read on:  Heritage Makers and Snap2Finish became YPhoto under Youngevity (which purchased Heritage Makers in 2013).  YPhoto uses only templates, so the creativity showcased here is no longer available there, and they also no longer have capability to print previously-created projects like these from the old system. YPhoto is not a photo storage site like Heritage Makers was. 

Best-in-the-industry quality and permanent cloud photo storage with guaranteed privacy are required for anything recommended here by Photo & Story Treasures, so we highly recommend Forever for:  

·        creative digital scrapbooking applicable in a variety of photo products using Artisan software

·        easy photo-memory books using free AutoPrint and Design & Print software programs

·        private, permanent, secure, and guaranteed photo and video cloud storage (triple-backed-up and bank encrypted)

·        white glove digitizing services for old memories like VHS tapes, slides, old scrapbooks (scanning), 8mm film, audio tapes, and much more

Learn more here to  find similar products at top-quality with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.


After a few years of being on Facebook, I realized that the little posts I was writing were really my life story in snippets.  We sometimes think about writing our life story in paragraphs and chapters.  Those are obviously very effective ways to do it, but why not think outside the box?  In what ways do you already record your life story?

I decided to compile my little snippets in a storybook. 

I had seen this block style book on a Heritage Makers template before, and it was really easy to duplicate.  Each two-page-spread is a different style, using the included digital art.  But the fun thing is that you can do it YOUR way--any way you want.  

This project was basically just a lot of copying and pasting, and uploading photos.

I actually really enjoy looking back on these posts and pictures preserved this way.   It's fun!  My kids like it, too.

Think about where you have recorded little snippets of YOUR life story!  Social media?  E-mails?  Gathering them and preserving them in a tangible form makes them easily accessible and enjoyable. 

{Learn more about heirloom-quality photo-storybooks here} and why Photo & Story Treasures' recommendations are the best.  When you're ready, the {how to get started} tab gets you on your way.

P.S.  I realize that most people think Facebook is going to be around forever, but who really knows.  Trusting that bits of your life story on free, online platforms will always be accessible may or may not be wise.  Plus, in my case, who knows when you might want to actually get OFF Facebook!  ;)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tips on Bringing Your Photos to Life

In the last couple of weeks on #familyhistoryfriday, we've talked about both the WHY and the HOW of getting our photos out of digital form.  Bringing our photos to life in this way allows us to see, hold, and actually interact with our photos.  It helps us remember important moments, make connections, and experience the {benefits of memory-keeping} in a very real way.

However, we can know the why and the how but still have some hiccups along the way.  Today we'll look at some tips that will help you successfully bring your photos out of digital form to life.

As you know, you rarely "find" time for anything.  You make it.  But these days it's often hard to add anything to our calendars.  Consider these suggestions and think about what would work for you.
  • An hour a week makes a difference.  Setting aside just an hour on a Sunday morning or Friday night makes a difference.  That's 52 hours a year towards getting your photos off your phone or camera, putting them in albums, writing down your memories and stories, recording details of photos, etc.  What kind of progress could you make on preserving photos and memories if you spent 52 hours on it this year??
  • Make it a family activity.  Can you imagine a better family tradition on a Sunday night?  Talk, interact, and reminisce as you transfer photos from your camera to your computer or as you create digital memory-keeping books or as you sort printed photos and place them in album pages and write out the stories that accompany the photos.
  • Consider the many ideas and suggestions included in {this post about making time} and see what ideas or tips stand out to you.  Look for ways you could alter or prioritize that would help you find just one or two hours a week.

If you're not already in the memory-keeping groove, it can be hard to know where to start.  Here are some getting-started steps (taken {from here} if you need a few more).
  1. Organize your photos.  Chronologically by month and year works great for most people.  Organize in physical envelopes or digital folders depending on the type of photo you have (hard copy or digital file).  Once you know what you have and where it is, it's a lot easier to move forward.  {This video on photo organization} can help if you need it.  Or check out my {three-part series on photo organization and preservation}.
  2. Choose your favorites.  Back in the day when we took two film rolls of 24 per year, we just kept every picture we took.  But now it's easy to take 240 photos per weekend trip.  It's OKAY to just choose your favorites.  I know that's really hard for some people, but it really is okay. You officially have permission to not preserve every photo you take.  You're welcome.
  3. Choose a memory-keeping method that is in line with the time you have available and your own interests.  You don't have to do what's trendy.  Do whatever works for you.  {The videos and information here will help you find something that works for YOU.} All of them are heirloom-quality options because nobody wants to spend time OR money twice.
  4. Keep your appointments with yourself.  When "work on photos and family stories" is on your calendar, keep the commitment you've made to yourself and your family like you'd keep a lunch appointment with a friend.  It's definitely that important.  Actually, more.

And I have some great news!  This will make a difference in your life immediately!  

Many worthwhile things don't provide immediate rewards, but memory-keeping isn't one of them!  When you start preserving photos and family stories, you'll feel great.  You'll see familiar faces and good times and happy moments.  Memory-keeping is grounding and calming, gives people a sense of purpose and belonging, and increases gratitude and happiness.  Those happen all throughout the process, not just at the end of it.  You get {those benefits} every time you sit down and preserve photos and memories.  (And if you want to know more about the connection between happiness and pictures, {this is a great place to start}.)

The best part of this is that if you just START, you'll want to keep going.  The first time you spend an hour on a Friday night working on preserving memories and stories, you'll come away feeling fantastic and you'll look forward to doing it again.  The benefits to the heart and soul make it a worthwhile and fulfilling activity, not a chore or a task.

So don't delay!  Start now, reap the rewards immediately, and reap them again and again as you look at completed albums, pages, and books and share your photos and memories digitally, too.

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This post was first published on May 19, 2017, at by Jennifer Wise.
Find more #familyhistoryfriday posts at the Labels below.

Friday, May 12, 2017

How to Get Your Photos Out of Digital Form

How many of your photos are still just files?  We talked {last week} about the importance of getting your photos out of digital form-- printing them --so that they could be seen and enjoyed.  But how?  How, exactly, do you take files and make them into photos?

This can be a difficult question to answer because it depends on where you are.  Some people don't know how to get their pictures off their phones or cameras in the first place, and other people just don't know how they want to print them.  Here are some ideas and pointers no matter where you are. 

Some people have a roadblock before they begin because they don't know how to get their photos off their phones or cameras in the first place.  If this is the hurdle that's tripping you up, don't worry because you are not alone.  I am surprised sometimes to find how many people take pictures with their phone or camera but don't actually know how to do something with them besides just leave them there.  I made this video tutorial that should help:

I'm excited for you to do this because once you've gotten this far, you'll be thrilled to now be able to actually do something with your photos.

Once your digital photos are saved to your computer, you might ask yourself, "Now what?" 

First thing is to pat yourself on the back!  No kidding.  Next, now that your photos are on your computer, it's time to make them into something!  You may need to explore some options to find what works best for you, but these are common options these days:
  1. Simply submit them to a photo printing source to receive back plain hard copies.  Walmart, Target, Walgreens (and others) have photo-processing centers, and there are online companies such as {Forever}.  Once you have your photos in hand, it's important to give them a high-quality home where you can also tell their stories.  A shoebox doesn't count! 
  2. Skip the step of printing physical photos and make your digital photos right into {digital books or scrap pages}.  One of the advantages of printing digital books or photos is that you have the option of ordering multiple copies without repeated work.  (I highly recommend using a website that keeps your project in your account indefinitely just in case something happens to your original project, too.  And CHECK, because not all companies do!  This was a huge factor in {my own choice of digital publisher}.)
Whatever you choose, be happy with it.  Choosing something YOU WILL DO is vital to the success of getting your photos out of digital form consistently so you can enjoy them.  Here are some fantastic options to consider:

By the way, the current thinking for storing digital photos is TWO WAYS DIGITALLY and ONE WAY IN PRINT.  I personally do all of that {at the same website}, but however you store your photos, keep in mind that the PRINTED form is the most meaningful way to store your digital photos!  It counts!  In a world that focuses so much on digital photo storage, print counts!

There are additional "how"s of getting your photos out of digital form, too, such as "How do I find time to do this?" or "How do I move forward with my goals for preserving photos and stories and memories?" or "How do I even begin?"  We will visit these in upcoming weeks on #familyhistoryfriday as we break down FAMILY HISTORY into FAMILY STORIES and then into bite-size pieces.  Start with getting your photos out of digital form, though, and you will have overcome the hardest hurdle.  

And you can always check the tabs along the top of this blog to dive into these questions a little more.

It's just fun from here!

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This post was first published on May 12, 2017, at by Jennifer Wise.
You can find more #familyhistoryfriday posts by clicking the hashtag link next to Labels below.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Wish you "had time"? Here's how to make it.

This may come as a complete surprise to you, but there isn't any such thing as "not having time" or not having "enough time." 

And that's because we all have time.  We all get 24 hours every single day.  Over and over and over.  We all have the same amount of time.  Always.

The REAL question is:  Where are you spending your time?

How much free time do you think you have in a day?  Most people I talk to tell me they have no free timezero hours to do something they're not already doing.  So when people think about preserving their photos and memories, or reading that book they've been meaning to get to, or taking up a hobby, they're pretty convinced they don't have time.  How true is it?

According to {}, people spend an average of 2 hours a day on social media.  And according to the {nydailynews}, people spend an average of 5 hours a day watching TV.


This obviously isn't true for everyone, I know.  But time management is an issue for everyone.  Whether you're good at managing time or bad at it, our time is ours to manage.

What types of things do you wish you "had time" for?  I often hear people "wish" they had time for getting their photos off their phones or cameras and doing something meaningful with them.

So how do we turn that "wish" into reality?  Memories fade so quickly that making time to preserve them is very important.  And this, too, is true:

We know we have THIS moment.  Henry David Thoreau gave us a little perspective in his essay Walden when he wrote:  " if we could kill time without injuring eternity."  Using the moments we know we have for important things takes a little prioritizing and planning, but important things are always the most meaningful and rewarding.

I read a couple of articles recently that I'd like to share bits of with you that can help you "make time." 

{This great article} called "How to Make More Time For the Things You Love,"  gives some excellent tips on how to "prune" your days.  This will be a great resource for you if you're looking for more time to do something important.  To summarize Elsie's suggestions:
  • delete anything excessive (things you're doing too much of)
  • delete anything you're duplicating (like multiple shopping trips)
  • delegate (what chores could your kids be doing, for example?)
  • consolidate (meal prep, errands, etc.)
  • make a plan to do it (don't hope for the time, plan for it)
  • consider creating a ritual, a regular time
  • use your time wisely
Naomi at {} observed that when we "have a lot on our plates, we suppress the ability to create."   Have you ever thought about it that way?  Remember--{creativity isn't for "creative" people.  We all create all the time.}  Our ability to create relates to creating new ideas or new ways of doing things as much as it relates to actually creating something tangible.  So making time to create is necessary!

Speaking of tangible, let's go back to trying to make time for your photos.  Here are a couple of posts that are specific to making time for preserving photos and memories.  See which tips and ideas would work for YOU.
What do you think?  What could you change?  What could you prioritize, plan, or prune?  How could you create a ritual or even a family activity so you can  #makesomethingmeaningful?

Share these tips on your favorite social media platform.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Why It's Important to Print Your Photos

There's so much focus these days on digital photo storage.  There are all sorts of suggestions out there:  cloud, DVD, flash drive, photo storage companies.  It can leave us feeling like we need backups of our backups.  But what good is a stored photo that you don't ever see?  Whether you actually remember the days of film and negatives or not, there's an important thing to be learned from those days:  we didn't focus on storing our negatives in multiple ways and multiple formats.  The focus, rather, was on the photographs.

This month on #familyhistoryfriday we're going to talk about getting your photos out of digital form:  the why, the how, some tips, and how to move forward.

First let's talk about the WHY of getting your photos out of digital form.

Yes, digital photo storage is a good idea.  Yes, technology is fickle and ever-changing, so storing photos digitally in two ways really is a smart thing to do.  However, don't lose sight of the fact that digital photo storage is the same as film negatives -- it's a backup. 

Here's what I always say.

You've probably never thought about it this way, but all those digital photos you have on your phone, camera, computer, even in the cloud--they are not the real thing.  They're not photos.  They are simply files with the potential to become photos.

It's way past time to settle down the hype of digital photo STORAGE and get back to actually prioritizing the printing of photos.  And here's why.  Printed photos, not digital ones, can be interacted with, held, seen, and loved--with their stories intact.  Photos in digital form don't really provide a place to record memories or tell the stories of those photos.  A book, scrap page, or album provides a home for your photo where it can be loved and have its story told.  And if you don't record the memory behind the photo, that photo loses half its value.

{Dr. Linda Henkel}, a psychological scientist, described this well:
"The sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them.  In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them."  ~Linda Henkel
It's not about amassing or stockpiling photos.  That's not what they're for.  Photos were meant to be seen, "accessed," and "interacted with."  

Unfortunately, most people I talk to have a lot of files, but very few photos.  But our memories are better, our connections are better, when we see and hold a photo.  It's easy to re-live a moment when you're seeing it again, especially if it has details (memories) recorded along with it.

And, to be honest, digital photo storage isn't everything (or anything!) it's cracked up to be.  There's {a lot of scary stuff most people don't know about digital photo storage services} and even just uploading photos to social media.  Read the article at that link and tell me what you think about it.

When I talk about photos in "print," that can mean printing the photos and putting them in albums, printing the photos and putting them in scrapbooked pages, or publishing the photos in digital books like {the ones I mentioned a few weeks ago}.  "Printed" just means a tangible, non-digital form.

Did you know a printed photo can last upwards of 200 years?!  

There are photos from the 1800s that are still in existence.  Their current state is dependent on their exposure to the elements, of course, and how well they were taken care of, but printed photos can last a long time.  In fact, if you Google the best ways to store photos, you'll find a lot of opinions, but there is one common theme:  "make sure you have a hard copy." 

Do you want to know how long a digital photo lasts?

Actually, that's a very good question.  The answer is:  we don't actually know.  

According to, hard drives can last around 5 years, DVDs can last 7, and flash drives about 8 (before data on them can be corrupted).  We'll talk more about the MDisc in a few weeks, but the fact remains that technology changes very quickly.  What will be the VHS tape of photo storage in ten years?  We just don't know.

Storing photos digitally is a good idea, as a backup, but that's the START, not the END.  Getting your photos out of digital form gives them life.  It makes them into photos.

Methods (or products) for storing printed photos have improved in recent years, and we have all sorts of options now.  We learned about acid-free albums along the way, so most products available these days are much better than those from the '60s and '70s.  There are lower-quality and higher-quality options now, obviously, but there are some excellent possibilities and tools out there.

Whether you print your photos at your local photo-processing place and then store them in store-bought albums or print them in {digital storybooks or yearbooks or scrap pages}, the printed version of your photos is the meaningful one.

Getting your photos out of digital form starts with a change of mindset-- focusing more on making sure your photos are printed than making sure they're stored digitally in two methods.

Start there, and you're on your way to having meaningful photos, not just files.

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This post was first published on May 5, 2017, at by Jennifer Wise.
Find more #familyhistoryfriday posts at the link below next to Labels.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

preserving photos and stories: why you should care

Why does doing something with my photos matter?  Why should I even care?  What good does it do?

You might be surprised.  Maybe even amazed.  This two and a half minutes touches on scientifically-proven reasons that we need memory-keeping, and what it can do for us and our loved ones.

Memory-keeping can affect us, help us, and change us.  In fact, it should.

Many thanks to Clarissa at Constant Motion Fitness for the video.