Friday, April 27, 2018

Why Taking Photos is So Important – And What to Do With Them

Taking photos used to be more of a treat than it is today.  In the 1800s, a small percentage of people had photos taken of themselves, and it was a big affair.  It took a lot of time and money.  If they were lucky, they had more than one photo of themselves taken during their lifetimes.  

Today we can have 100 pictures taken of ourselves in a single weekend.  We take pictures of sunsets, animals, and food.  Because photos have become so commonplace, it can be easy to forget how important they really are.  Unfortunately, digital photography has led to {photo overwhelm}, and most often people take pictures but don’t really know what to do with them.


Why Taking Photos is So Important

Life is full of a lot of regular old events, but there are always special ones scattered in.  We go to weddings, take special vacations, make new friends.  There are always things we want to remember. 

Right now, I have a friend who is moving to an older house down the street because it’s on some land. The new house will be wonderful in time, but for now leaving the house they’ve called home for ten years tugs at their heart strings a little.  They made so many memories there, brought 4 babies home from the hospital there.  

My friend’s mother-in-law asked her recently, “Aren’t you sad to be leaving all the memories of this house behind?”  She said yes, she was, but that she had photos of all their good times with their written memories {preserved in a book} that they can pull out and enjoy and remember any time they want.
These heirloom-quality, fully personalizable products {were made here}.
I read a beautiful article recently by Laura Mazza called {“Why Taking Photos Will Mean So Much More To Your Family Than You Realize.”}  Mazza talked about a friend whose father had passed away.  She told Mazza that when she misses her dad, she pulls out his picture–a picture of him before cancer, a picture of him the way she remembers him.  This is exactly why {photos are so powerful}.  They bring back moments in time that are otherwise gone.

In fact, pictures have been shown to increase happiness!  Gretchen Reuben’s {“Happiness Project”} found that viewing photos help us remember happy times.  This makes us happier in the present! In addition, a picture can “bring back” people, places, and things we love.

Looking at pictures has been found to both lift mood and increase relaxation.  {Dr. Peter Naish’s} study compared the result of looking at photos to the result of common things we use to try to increase our happiness such as eating and drinking.  His study showed that those things actually only increase mood by 1%. After looking at photos, people reported an 11% increase in happiness! (By the way, his study also found a 22% increase in relaxation after looking at pictures!  Pictures even beat out chocolate for relaxation, which only came in at 8%.)  

Take the photos!  Ask a stranger to take a photo of your family on an adventure day.  Capture little playful moments at home.  Moms, get in the photos.  No excuses.  These are the times you’ll want to remember later.  Your family will want them, too.  

Just don’t forget–you can’t stop there.

Next, Do Something With Your Photos

Once you’ve decided to take the photos, capture the moments, and be in the photos, there’s another important thing that MUST be done!

Remember the classic “This is your brain on drugs” television spot from the 80s/90s?  I wrote a blog post once based on it called {“These are your photos on a flash drive.  Any questions?”}  And it’s an important thing to remember.  Photos in digital form aren’t actually photos–they’re just files.  

In fact, photos left in digital form are like they were never taken.  

Think about that.  They’re rarely seen, and when they are seen there aren’t any details or memories recorded with them.  I’ve heard of siblings looking at old unmarked photos, unable to tell if that baby is themselves or their sibling.  Sometimes moms can’t even remember!


Photos must be published or printed in order to be seen and interacted with and loved.  Those photos must be accompanied by recorded memories and details.  Otherwise, you have nothing. 
Aside from the fact that {digital storage can be pretty fickle}, you don’t really want to just STORE your photos.  You want to SEE them.  That’s why you take them.

What to Do With Your Photos

There are so many great things you can do with your photos!  There are options that don’t take a lot of time, options that don’t take a lot of money, and options that will fit your needs and style.  


If you don’t really know what to do with your photos, peruse these ideas and see which sound the best to you.  Click the links for more in-depth descriptions and photos: 
And here are some {Tips For Bringing Your Photos to Life}, too.  Click here for some photo organization helps if you need them.  If time is the main thing keeping you from doing something with your photos, you can find {lots of ideas for making time} here! 

Taking and preserving photos is an important way to remember, and a precious way to strengthen your family.  As I always say, #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs

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This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on April 27, 2018, by Jennifer Wise.  You'll find more #familyhistoryfriday posts by clicking the hashtag below next to Labels.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The HOW and WHY of Getting Your Photos out of Digital Form

We're well into the 21st century now, so most of us only know photos as something digital.  Unfortunately, we've lost sight of an important fact:  digital photos are photos in storage.  They're essentially film negatives, only you can see them a little better.


I say this because most people don't just sit down and scroll through jpeg files.  If you do-- if they're your screen saver, for example --that fantastic, but they are incomplete.  Jpeg files are lacking details, names, dates, memories, and stories.  So jpegs are really only half of what they could be.

I wrote a series several months ago (on a blog I'm a regular contributor for) on getting your photos out of digital form--not just the WHY, but the HOW.  I want to share with you the MANY tips and ideas you can find here: 
What's the best tip you found from these articles?  What's going to be your game-changer?  Tell me in the comments below.

#dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs

Friday, April 20, 2018

Family Matters: Two Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

"Love your parents.  We are so busy growing up that we often forget that they are also growing old.” -anonymous
Flowers and ties are always nice gifts for parents, but what if you could give the mothers or fathers in your life something they would never forget?  With a little planning, this Mother’s Day or Father’s Day can be unforgettable–with an affordable gift that keeps on giving.  I have two special gift ideas to share with you today.  Both will be cherished for years to come.


#1 Reasons I Love You

I think this is one of the most meaningful gifts you can ever give anyone!  Really sitting down and putting into words what you love or appreciate about someone is a forever gift.  It can actually brighten someone’s day for many, many days to come!  You may have seen the “52 Reasons I Love You” floating around Pinterest, made from a regular deck of playing cards.  The cards are hole-punched and have one reason written on each card.

Another idea is putting those same thoughts or reasons into a little hardbound book.  I personally love how the professional, heirloom-quality printing just gives it an extra special, “extra mile” feel.  And they’re beautiful!  

"Being a parent is like folding a fitted sheet.  No one really knows how." -anonymous

These little books are only 7×5, and they’re printed with a library binding so they’re durable.  They’re $30, which is less than I’ve spent on Mother’s Day flowers in the past!  I really love that this is cheaper than dinner out but lasts so much longer.


To help you with this sweet and meaningful gift, I’ve even made a little video to walk you through making a Reasons I Love You book.  I start with a template, and there are several to choose from for both moms and dads, but even templates can be changed however you want, so you’re never “stuck” with one design, layout, or idea.  Check out the video–this beautiful gift idea will come together faster than you might think.


 #2 Personalized Playing Card Deck

I know I’ve shown you playing card decks before as a way to learn ancestors–{family matching decks}, etc.–but they remain one of my all-time {favorite gifts}.  Maybe a slight step down on the heart-warming scale, this is a gift that is a little more whimsical and playful in nature, and it’s something many people can enjoy together.  It would make family game night that much more fun, and grandparents would particularly enjoy showing off their grandkids to their friends during a bridge game.
"Family isn’t an important thing.  It’s everything.”  -Michael J. Fox
This creative and unique gift is only about $23 for a deck of 54 cards.  There’s a lot of flexibility as to how they’re made, so if you want a regular card deck (Ace, King, Queen, etc.) with a family photo on the back, you can do that.

Since creating a playing card deck online and submitting it for professional publishing isn’t something most people know how to do, I’ve got a video tutorial to walk you through that, too.


Need more gift ideas?  I've got a nice collection at my {Family-Centered Gift Ideas for Grown-Ups} post.
"You spend years wishing your parents would get off your back, only to realize they were the only ones who ever really had your back.”  -unknown
Do something different this Mother's Day or Father's Day that will make the special ones in your heart smile!

NOTE:  The book will arrive at your doorstep in about 7-10 business days.  The playing card deck is printed by a specialty printer and can take about 3 weeks.  So plan accordingly!

Save and share these fun gift ideas on social media!
This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on April 20, 2018, by Jennifer Wise.  Find more #familyhistoryfriday posts by clicking the hashtag below next to Labels.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Teacher Appreciation Gifts that will Knock Their Socks Off

There are so many teachers who give so much, going above and beyond to make sure their students learn and love learning--and are happy at the same time.  I love giving truly meaningful gifts to those special people, beyond flowers or a gift card that will be gone and forgotten in no time.

With a little planning, you can give teacher appreciation gifts that will knock their socks off!


I've been thinking lately about what kind of teacher appreciation gifts might fit the bill this year.  For quite a few years now, I've created gifts using Heritage Makers because they're so personal, and many times I spend less than I would on flowers or a gift card.

When my kids were in elementary school, we gave their teachers little books.  You can {see a few of them here}, page by page.  I would have my kids help me write the books--they would write something they loved about the teacher, something they learned in class, something they improved at with the teacher's help, etc.  We sprinkled some photos in, too.  We LOVED giving those books to those special teachers because we knew they really showed the depth of our appreciation, and we knew they would be cherished for years.


Now that my kids are older, my mind keeps going back to the gifts I made for their teachers more recently:  personalized candy bar wraps and notepads.  I'm thinking this might be just the thing this year, too.


The candy bar wraps (underneath the scissors there) are nothing more than a 12x12 scrapbook page from Heritage Makers, printed on lite paper so that it's easily wrapped around a Hershey bar (after it's cut).  You can make four wraps from one page.

You can always create your own design from scratch using the thousands of pieces of (included) digital art, or you can use templates like these:
I know those last two aren't school-themed, but you can always edit any Heritage Makers template 100% so you'll get just what you want.  (Or click the "contact me" tab at the upper left if you want me to send these candy bar wraps that I made to you--I can transfer them from my Heritage Makers account to yours!  Then you just personalize.)


Then I made matching notepads, to go along with the candy bars!  They come in a set of 4, and each one can be a different style or name. Here's a fun school-themed notepad set.  Click on each of the 4 thumbnails underneath so you can see each of the 4 notepads included in that template.
I really love how personal these are!


Creating anything using Heritage Makers means you create it digitally online (like you would in programs such as Canva or Publisher) and then submit it for publishing with Heritage Makers.  It's shipped to you in about 7-10 days.  

I actually made you a little tutorial video about how to make notepads, so you can see it for yourself!  

You can learn about sizes and product specifications (like how many papers per pad) plus learn how to quickly personalize a template in the first 22 minutes or so.  Stick around another 15 minutes and you'll see how to create notepads from scratch--the sky is the limit!


Just follow the video or {these steps} to start creating something those special teachers in your life will always remember!

Then Pin this for next year!  :) 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Building Bridges between Generations using Photos and Memories

What good is the past?  Are there benefits to looking to the past?  Absolutely!  Here’s why the past is infinitely important to me:  My grandparents lived there.  I learned lessons there.  I fell in love, got married, and had babies there. 

My grandparents passed away before any of my children could know or remember them.  If I want my children to know where they came from and know those sweet people they didn’t get a chance to know, I need to take them back to the past.  The best way I know of to bridge generations is using photos and memories.  Photos bring people to life and put faces to names.  My memories of my grandparents make them real people to my kids and provide opportunities for connections, even though they’re gone.


Having lost all my grandparents, and now more recently my mother, photos mean a lot to me these days.  They’ve always meant a lot to me, I admit, but now they’re kind of everything.  

This statement by Mehmet Murat Ildan is true.  Remembering those special people in my life is like giving them life again.  I love sharing memories and photos of my progenitors with my kids because it makes me happy.  It gives them {a sense of belonging}, yes, but it really just makes ME feel good, too!


Scott Hamilton gave a little more perspective to generations in his keynote address in this year’s {RootsTech}:
"Without our past, our present has no meaning, and our future is worthless."  ~Scott Hamilton, former US Olympian
Wow.  Have you ever thought of it that way?  Connecting with our past puts us in a good place in the present, and it makes our future meaningful.

Who were your grandparents?  What would your children benefit from knowing about them?  What about your parents?  I’m always struck at how my kids only know me as a 30-year-old/40-year-old person.  They don’t have any inkling of what I was like as a college student or as a little kid–unless I tell them.  It’s the same thing with grandparents.  My parents as 40-year-olds were a lot different than they were as 70-year-olds when my kids knew them.  Because I knew my parents in both of those stages of their lives, I’m a valuable resource for my own children as they learn about their grandparents.

This heirloom-quality personal storybook was created {following these steps}.
{Telling family stories} is fantastic!  Writing them down, however, is even better.  That’s because the written version becomes a source to go to for remembering the whole story.  If you have photos to add to your story, all the better!  Photos make a story come alive.  

I remember seeing for the first time a picture of my fifth-great grandmother.  Photographs in the 1800s, of course, were not what they are today.  Nobody smiled.  It seems my fifth-great grandmother’s “resting face” was a bit frowny.  For a long time, I didn’t really think about her much.  She didn’t LOOK that interesting.  But then I read her story!  Part of her story is rather miraculous and touching, and knowing this about her changed everything for me.  Now I look at that picture with great pride, loving that I come from stock like her.

So let's talk about HOW!  How do we actually go about connecting generations with pictures and memories (or stories)?

Using photos and stories to connect generations can happen in many ways.  In February, I shared some of {my favorite ways to preserve and tell stories}.  If you missed it, be sure you click that link.  Remember, too, that you can tell stories and share photos that bridge generations through other means besides written pages and published books, such as cookbooks and DIY playing card decks (like family matching or family trivia games) and everyday reminders like canvases or posters.  You can find these {creative ideas for sharing stories here}.

There are {guides for how to start recording a life story}, and ways to {professionally publish your books for a fraction of the cost}, too.  These links should be helpful to you, but if you need story maps or other guides and ideas, don't hesitate to {contact me}.  I love to help!

Life stories and family stories both connect generations, but don’t forget that your own memories are a huge part of that.  What do you remember or know about your own parents or grandparents?  Is it recorded somewhere?  Who knows what you know besides you?

This heirloom-quality life storybook was created {following these steps}.
Oral traditions, or oral literature, has always been a part of the human experience.  {We tell stories}.  Downfalls of oral traditions, though, come through age and time.  What if I forget the story?  What if I remember the story but forget to tell it?

Right now I teach an early-morning {scripture class} to a great group of high school juniors.  My daughter happens to be in my class.  Several months ago in a discussion, something came up that reminded me of a really scary experience I once had where I had to decide in a split second if I was going to be brave and stand up for what was true (even though my life was in danger, actually!) or if I was going to run from the situation.  As I was about to tell the story, I realized that my daughter had never heard this story!  She didn’t know this about my life.  She didn’t know this about ME.  It almost seemed impossible that she didn’t know this, but there it was–the fact is that even though she and I are very close, I had never thought to tell her that story.

Giving our stories a place to live– outside of our own heads and supplemental to an oral tradition –brings them to life.  Add photos and you’ve got the whole experience captured, ready to re-live, learn from, laugh at, appreciate, and cherish.

This heirloom-quality family stories storybook was created {following these steps}.
Take your family back to the past, back to where your grandparents lived, back to your most trying or heroic times, back to your graduation day.  Put faces to names and names to stories.  Use photos and memories.  You don’t have to tell the entire history of your family, or even your whole life.  “Memories of Grandpa” or “Growing Up Stories” are just as valuable.  Just record what you know and then share it.

Using photos and memories to bridge generations is one of the easiest, most powerful ways to do it!  It’s a quick source for happiness, too.
"Bridges between generations are not built by accident.  …  Not one of my children has any recollection of my grandparents. If I want my children and grandchildren to know those who still live in my memory, then I must build the bridge between them. I alone am the link to the generations that stand on either side of me. It is my responsibility to knit their hearts together through love and respect, even though they may never have known each other personally."  ~Dennis B. Neuenschwander
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This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on April 13, 2018, by Jennifer Wise.  You can read more #familyhistoryfriday posts by clicking the hashtag below next to Labels.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Celebrating National Scrapbooking Day with a Sale!

Did you know that National Scrapbooking Day is always the first Saturday in May?  It's true!  In 2018, it will be Saturday May 5.  So let's celebrate!

Here at LifeTales Books, we know photos and memories do miraculous good for the heart and soul, no matter how exactly that memory-keeping is done.  It all counts.  You've probably noticed that most of the focus here is on digital storybooking and digital scrapbooking through Heritage Makers, but for this day of national celebration of our photos and memories we're sharing some sales on hands-on (paper) scrapbooking and memory-keeping--plus some fun bonuses sprinkled in that aren't necessarily scrapbooking-related.


Everything you see below is on sale from April 1 - May 31, 2018.  (Click the "sales" tab in red along the top of this blog to find monthly Heritage Makers publishing specials.)  All these items can be purchased at www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise by clicking "products."  After clicking "products," click either "Our Memories For Life" or "Anthology DIY," depending on which brand the item comes from.  

READY?!  Let's celebrate!  There are 30% off specials, 40% off specials, and even 50% off specials!

30% OFF

All Border Maker System Cartridges from Our Memories For Life are 30% off.  There are 15 to choose from.  (The Border Maker System itself is sold separately.)  These are so much fun and can be used for scrap pages, cardmaking, or even decorating gift bags.


Perpetual Birthday Calendar Kits from Anthology DIY are also 30% off.
This kit includes everything you need to make the perpetual birthday calendar.  Never forget a birthday!  I think this would make such a great Mother's Day gift!

40% OFF

All Canvas Exchange Sets from Anthology DIY are 40% off.   This sale is on the exchange-able canvas pieces only.  And the wooden blocks themselves are also on sale, so look for them in the 50% off section.  If you aren't familiar with Canvas Exchange Blocks, you are in for a treat!



You can get a better idea of how these Canvas Exchange Blocks work at this little 2-minute video from Lisa Bearnson who is the creative brain behind these sets.  They are the most darling and the most simple home decor!


All those canvas sets can be exchanged on just one set of wooden blocks for rotating seasonal decor!

Also 40% off are the Anthology DIY Scrapbooking Layout Kits.  These are scrapbooking pages that are practically done for you.  Everything you need is already included in the kits.  They come together in no time!  Just assemble the pages and add photos and journaling.



There are lots of different styles to choose from, too.


The last 40% off deal is paper scrapbooking collections from Our Memories For Life:  the Creme de la Creme collection


as well as the It's a Kid's World collection.

Remember, all these items can be purchased at www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise by clicking "products."  After clicking "products," click either "Our Memories For Life" or "Anthology DIY," depending on which brand the item comes from.  Sale runs April 1 - May 31.  

50% OFF

The block pieces that go with the Canvas Exchange pieces shown before are also on sale!  The blocks are already cut--you just sand a little and paint.  Everything is included, including the sandpaper and paint brush.


The 7" Personal Trimmer from Our Memories For Life is on sale 50% off, too!

Happy National Scrapbooking Day!  Don't forget--these sales end May 31!  Share with someone who will love you for it.  :)



#dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs

Friday, April 6, 2018

Thank Goodness It's #friyay

It's the first Friday of the month, so it's time for another #friyay where we find out what people are saying about Heritage Makers.  This one comes to us from a good friend of mine, Wendy, whom I met when I lived in Washington.  For the last couple of years, she has been in the throes of graduate school.  She didn't have time to create some really special books documenting with photos, letters, and e-mails her son's {2-year missionary service}, so she asked if she could hire me to do it for her.  It was honestly a fantastic experience for me, too, getting to be the fly on the wall and learn about her son's experiences and service.  Wendy had never used Heritage Makers before, and though she could go into her account as I was working and see the digital version of the books, here's what she said when she actually received the books:


The Power of Place and Family Traditions

Is there a place, a smell, or a song that makes you feel like you’re home?  What traditions make you feel like all is right in the world?  Feelings of {nostalgia} and belonging take us to happy places.  Especially in today’s busy world of distractions, getting in touch –or staying in touch– with our roots is vital.  We need to connect and to feel at home.  Traditions do that for us.  Places do that for us.  Looking back at photos and recorded memories does that for us.


Have you heard the story of {Bobbie the Wonder Dog}?  Bobbie lived with his family in Silverton, Oregon, in 1923.  His family, the Braziers, took him on a road trip to Indiana.  Not far from their destination, they stopped for gas.  Bobbie was charged by a pack of dogs and ran off.  The Braziers thought Bobbie would eventually show up at the home where they were staying, but he never did.  They searched for Bobbie, but had to eventually return to Oregon without him.

Six months later, a mangy-looking Bobbie was spotted walking the streets of Silverton.  He had walked over 2,500 miles, crossing rivers and mountains to get back home.  

Like Bobbie, our longing for home is innate.  We feel connected somewhere.  It might be the place we grew up or a place where we feel peace.

My very favorite way to preserve my photos and memories: {these digital scrap pages}
I have several “little” happy places, but my two main happy places are:  the beach and the campus of my alma mater.  Many people love the beach, but the main reason it’s a happy place for me is that I have sweet memories of going to the Oregon Coast with my grandparents.  I remember finding agates and starfish with my grandpa.  It’s my happy place because it’s beautiful and peaceful, but also because I’m always happy there.  Similarly, the campus of my alma mater is full of happy memories.  I LOVED college.  I met my husband there, I loved collegiate life, and I loved everything I learned there.  Every time I go back, I’m happy just walking the sidewalks and visiting the bookstore.  It’s really my happy place.

I love the experience shared by Rachel Trotter in {“The Power of Place.”}  The town where she grew up, was married, and is raising her children is home to her, but she feels a similar belonging in a place she doesn’t actually frequent that often.  Her father grew up in a little town in Texas, and as Rachel grew up, she and her family would go back to visit during the summertime.   She wrote:
"There are no words to describe the feelings when we stopped at the Cleburne sign for a family picture or when my son stepped onto the football stadium where his grandpa won a state championship – [hallowed] ground for my football-loving family. It was pure joy to see and feel all those memories of love and home and to share them with my husband, children, sister and her children. It was pure joy for me as I walked into the cemetery. I couldn’t help but feel emotion as I saw name after name I recognized my dad talking about over the years, names on a genealogy fan chart that I realize are real people – my kindred – my blood. I imagined the hardscrabble life they led – tying their babies in trees to work the fields to protect them from wolves – killing snakes with hoes on the daily – unimaginable to me today. The power of place there was something special."
Places can be special things.  Like Rachel, places can cause us to appreciate those who have gone before us.  It can help us feel tied to those we love.  Places can draw us there because we are connected.

Another way we connect with each other is through traditions.  From reading bedtime stories to making gingerbread houses, family traditions create meaningful ways to connect.  Traditions strengthen family connections and relationships within families.  Family traditions are often fun, memorable occasions.  I think one of the biggest reasons that family traditions resonate with us so much and touch our hearts is simply this:  it’s quality time spent together.

Some of my favorite traditions from my childhood involve holidays or food –something special and out of the ordinary– but traditions can be very simple, too.  This {guest post by Cranial Hiccups at Mrs. Lady Wordsmith} gives some great examples of simple traditions their family enjoys.  I love these ideas:  Friends Night, writing letters to grandparents every week, a back-to-school dinner, family outings once a month.

Traditions help us feel we belong somewhere.  Events, places, sights, and smells all contribute to our sense of belonging.  Like Bobbie the Wonder Dog, we all long for home, in whatever form that may be.

Chances are, you have photos of your family traditions.

Do you take pictures of your Christmas gingerbread house tradition or your summer family reunion tradition or your birthday breakfast tradition?  Where are those photos now?  This double-edged sword we call digital photography usually means that most people have hundreds and hundreds of photos that they don’t have time to do anything with.  But have you ever thought of preserving your favorite photos AS a family tradition?


Memory-keeping (often thought of as "scrapbooking") is often just an item on Mom’s to-do list, but the process of memory-keeping is something the family can enjoy together!  The process of going through photos, picking favorites, and then preserving them with the memories you have of them can be a great bonding time.  


If you're ready to create a memory-keeping tradition in your family, here are FIVE STEPS to beginning this tradition: {“Preserving Pictures as a Family Tradition.”}  Try them and see what effect this tradition has on the relationships and happiness of your family!  

Family traditions, photos, and memories are the most powerful things we never think about.

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This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on April 6, 2018, by Jennifer Wise.  You can find lots more #familyhistoryfriday posts by clicking the hashtag below next to Labels.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Learning to Be in Pictures - guest post by Mary Beth at Lovejoy Photography and Heritage Maker



Today I am happy to bring you an insightful blog post from guest blogger Mary Beth Lovejoy.  You will appreciate her perspective as a heartfelt memory-keeper.  She's also an award-winning photographer!  Mary Beth is a mother of two children and a grandmother of four amazing granddaughters ages 13-4.  She enjoys hiking, bike riding, kickboxing, knitting, and making memories with her family.  I have enjoyed many creative collaborations with Mary Beth, and I know you will learn from her story and thoughts:

A LITTLE ABOUT ME
My love of photography started just by photographing my own children when they were young. I have grown through experience and education into both a portrait and landscape photographer. I feel the same passion photographing a wedding or family portrait as I do capturing the landscape of Alaska. The end results put a smile on someone’s face every time!

Lovejoy Photography and Heritage Maker works with all ages to capture their memories so that they can tell their story later in life. Our goal is to not have you spend more on photography services than is necessary. Working with clients to script their day helps to determine what is most important to our clients, develop ways to save money, and most of all, how to balance the two.

My style of photography is unique. Although I ultimately work within my clients’ guidelines, I prefer to take candid shots versus traditional staged photography, which allows me to capture special moments rather than styling photos. I don't edit my shots other than occasionally cropping and shifting images. The perfection is in the shot! The images I shoot belong to my clients and all of my photography work is done at a location of my client's choosing.

   
WHY I'M IN MY OWN PICTURES
I have been the photographer in my family since my children were infants. (My son just turned 42 in February and my daughter will be 40 in May!) Being the family photographer meant I was not in many of our family photos.
I became a member of the Heritage Maker family many years ago. I had the pleasure of attending a national workshop called “The Dream Team”. We discussed many things about our lives at this workshop, not what I had expected. It was here that I discovered that I was leaving myself out of my own life story. I felt insignificant to the purpose of my family photography. That needed to change. I could not make up for my past, but I sure could change going forward and I did.
 
As I left my day to day profession, I became more interested in my photography. I began to use it to capture other peoples’ memories and memories of my various trips around our amazing country. My company tag line is “Lovejoy Photography and Heritage Maker: works with all ages to capture their memories so that they can tell their story later in life.” I include myself in images of my trips. Why? It was an amazing location, I want to remember that moment shared with my friend, I want my family to see what I had the opportunity to see…oh so many reasons.

WHY PHOTOGRAPHS MATTER
My home is filled with photographs. Some images are framed and hung on my walls. Some I turned into ornaments and hand from a hook. Others make up a calendar that I use daily.  I have canvas prints and metal print. I also have many books that I have created. Let me tell you about one I created and had printed for every member of my family.
Christmas is a time for my family to gather together. We have gathered at a sibling’s home on Christmas Eve and then my parents home on Christmas day. One year I decided to create a book of the numerous images I had of the many years of celebration. My father had died a few years prior to this so I decided to dedicate it to him and present it to my mom on Christmas Eve. My mother fell about a week before Thanksgiving that year, she hit her head and died on Thanksgiving Day, which happened to be November 25th that year. Those books arrived at my home on the very day of the memorial service for my mother. Christmas was very different for us that year…we were now orphans, regardless of our ages. We gathered at my parent’s home, now my brother’s home, but a great deal was missing. I presented those books to my family. As each one opened the book and looked through the images there were many reactions and emotions shared. We all cried and laughed but most of all, we all new of the love our family shared over the years. Each Christmas since I look through that book, as do other members of our family, and we remember. (By the way, I am crying now as I write this post.) Our images of life do that to us.

See this special family Christmas book, page by page, by {clicking here}.

THE PURPOSE OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND WHAT IT CAN MEAN TO YOUR FAMILY
The purpose of photography is to capture moments of our lives and record them for later in our life or the lives of our children/grandchildren/siblings etc. If we do not record the information about that photograph we will forget or be gone so we can not share with someone else. Technology has changed photography and the way we see our world. Our cell phones take images of everything. What good are they if you never take them off your phone and save them for later in life? (Same is true for our digital cameras today) So many people just look at the images today, scroll through them a few weeks later but do we record why we took the image? Where were we? Who was with us? Why was it important? Think about the opportunities there are with each image.


What if a member of your family was to suffer from a disease/accident that affected their memory? How wonderful it would be for you to be able to provide them with a book that reminded them of their grandchildren or a time spent with their spouse? Perhaps it might even trigger a memory of something that they could not recall before. Would that not be amazing? But if we do not record the details of the images, how will we help them remember?
Take time today, to record your life…not just photograph it. YOU are important to others and they will want to remember your life the way it was lived.
FIND MARY BETH AT
 
Lovejoy Photography and Heritage Maker
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http://www.lovejoy-photography.com/
marybeth@lovejoy-photography.com 

ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT LOVEJOY PHOTOGRAPHY