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.
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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 on April 27, 2018, by Jennifer Wise.  You'll find more #familyhistoryfriday posts by clicking the hashtag below next to Labels.


  1. Thanks so much for linking up with me at #AThemedLinkup 21 for Photos and Videos, open until July 25.


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