Thursday, August 29, 2019

My Best Methods for Organizing and Storing Digital Photos

Are you in {my Facebook group}?  It's a great place for information and inspiration, but I love it when people use it to share projects they've created and to ask questions.

A few months ago, Angela posted a great question.  Here's her post:
"Looking for some advice on best methods of organizing and storing photos.  Please share your methods!  Go!  Thanks!"
This is a great question!  AND this is such a common question and common need that I want to share the answer with you, too.  Here's what I told Angela that I hope will be helpful to you also.

There's so much talk today on photo organization and storage that it can feel overwhelming and even impossible.  Some people even pay to have their photos stored.  But the purpose of a photo isn't to store it.  It's to see it.

So here's how I make sure my photos are taken care of, all the way around:  I store them digitally and in print, which are the two suggested ways for storing them.  (Experts say not to put all your eggs in one basket and that the safest way to store photos is in print.)  Storing photos in multiple ways might seem overwhelming, but the way I do it is actually really convenient--I only use one website for multiple methods!  

Here's what I do:

  1. I store my photos in print (again, one of the safest ways to store them).  By "store in print," I mean that I publish my photos and memories in books and/or individual scrap pages.  You MUST prioritize quality, though.  {Find my recommendations here.}
  2. I love using a company where my entire projects are safely stored digitally as well.  So I not only have my photos saved in printed books and scrap pages like the ones shown below, but I have access to the digital versions of those works-of-heart as well.

  1. First, I save my photos to my computer.  Computers {aren't the safest places to store photos}, but I also use Digital Method #2 (below), so my Photo Eggs aren't all in my Computer Basket. 
  2. Experts recommend one onsite (computer/hard drive) storage option for digital photos, plus one offsite (not in your house).  When looking for an offsite (cloud) storage option, it's important to prioritize photo privacy!  (If you haven't heard yet that other photo companies sell your photos, be sure to {read this article ASAP}!)  My go-to recommendation for cloud photo storage is {Forever}, for privacy and more:  

Doing this means I know my photos are SAFE and secure, plus I get to actually LOOK AT THEM in printed pages any time!  Print is where photos actually get loved.  

UPDATE 2023:  I've put my answer to Angela's question into this 13-minute video:

And for a lot more detail covering everything you need to know very thoroughly, including strategies for consistency, I highly recommend these 3 videos to you:

Part 1:  Organizing and Decluttering Photos

Part 2:  Solutions for Storing and Preserving Photos (and why they're not the same thing)

Part 3:  Strategies for Consistency (10 ideas to make your good intentions into reality)

I think video is the best way to see what I'm talking about, but here are some pointers in written form for both physical (already printed) and digital photos, if you prefer.  Just click here to read:  How to Organize Both Printed and Digital Photos


My niece was here visiting for my daughter's graduation in May.  We were really busy most of the week (especially me), but it was fun to see that during downtime, my niece would pull out the scrapbooks and photo books I've made.  She and my son are the same age (22), and they enjoyed looking at pictures of themselves when they were babies "meeting" for the first time and toddlers playing together.  

That just wouldn't have happened if I'd had a CD or a flash drive sitting on the shelf.  The printed version, complete with details and memories written out, is what means something.

It's what pictures are for.

Get started preserving them {by following these steps}.  Because it's the BEST!  Really.

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This blog post was updated in 2023.  Any references to Heritage Makers are no longer valid since they discontinued their photo storage capabilities after they were purchased by a health and wellness company, and it was never guaranteed storage anyway.  Forever's focus is digital cloud storage for photos and videos that is guaranteed to outlive you by 100 years.  Learn more about Forever Storage here and the Forever Guarantee here

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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Yearbook Boot Camp - preserving a year's worth of pictures in 4 weeks!

Have you preserved your photos and memories from last year yet?  What about 2016?  Or 2012, for that matter.  

If it's been a while, or if you feel a little lost about the best way to go about preserving the myriad pictures you've got on your phone, camera, cloud, computer, etc., do yourself a favor and come to Yearbook Boot Camp.   It's all online!  And it makes {a fantastic gift that is meaningful for decades to come}.  

If you don't see a date that works for you, request your own and invite some friends!

Look for testimonials from previous attendees in purple throughout this post!

Minimum 4 attendees in order to hold the session.
Session 1:  September - November 2019
Session 2:  January - March 2020 
(hiatus while I attended graduate school)
Moving forward, Yearbook Boot Camp will only be 4 weeks because we will use a simpler photo project platform that only takes about 10 minutes to learn!
Session 3:  September - October 2022
Session 4:  March 2023
Session 5:  September 2023
Session 6:  May 2024 
Session 7 TBA  

How Does Yearbook Boot Camp Work?

In 4 weeks you will preserve one year's worth of photos and memories in a high-quality, well-organized hardbound (or softbound, if you prefer) book--which makes a great gift, if you choose.

Every week of Boot Camp, we'll "meet" at a 1-hour video call where you'll receive your assignment for the week and plenty of resources to help you complete it.  (And each video call will be recorded and emailed to you to watch later if you can't make the call live.)  Most of the time, you'll be able to complete your assignments in the hour we're together, but if there's outside work (like organizing your photos), you might need about 1-2 additional hours per week to complete your assignments.

Look at what you can have in just 4 weeks!  And I'm not talking about bargain bin "photo books," either--these are heirloom-quality treasures!!

When I say "heirloom quality," I mean these books are printed with the highest quality inks, bindings, and papers in the industry!

With Photo and Story Treasures, you have a lot of options to make your Yearbook exactly what you want it to be.  There are several sizes, two types of top-quality bindings, and a wide variety of styles to choose from as well. 

Here are all the details of Yearbook Boot Camp:

"Jennifer is so professional and knowledgeable.  It was an excellent experience start to finish and the best part is you actually finish a family yearbook!  It's something my family will always treasure."    -Candi, Washington, Yearbook Boot Camp session 1
Some people like to just choose favorite photos (instead of preserving every photo they take) and just dedicate 2 pages to each month of the year.  However, you have the option to add more pages if you like (up to 99) if that fits your needs and preferences better.

"Thank you for the workshop.  I have been scrapbooking for years but appreciate the format in which you broke it down in small chunks.  Never thought of that!  I'm happy to work with you." -Brenda, Yearbook Boot Camp session 1

How Do I Register for Yearbook Boot Camp?

REGISTERING FOR YEARBOOK BOOT CAMP IS SO EASY!  Just *email ASAP to RSVP.  You'll receive an email reply with Venmo payment information.  Once you're registered and paid, you'll receive an email with a link to our weekly video calls (via Zoom).  You'll pay for your book and for shipping separately at the end of YBC.  

"This was a great boot camp!  I committed 3 hours a week (sometimes less) and I have a whole year of memories done for my kids.  This is super doable for anyone.  Jennifer was always super fast at responding and helping when I needed it."  -Elnora, New York, Yearbook Boot Camp session 2

FYI:  Previous YBCs required about 2-3 hours of additional work outside class per week, but the new platform should shorten that to 1-2 hours, or less!  If you'd like a look at the new platform, here's a short walk through it:

if you're a new customer) to make our Yearbooks.

"Thank you, Jennifer, for doing the Yearbook Boot Camp.  As you know, I've done several calendars and storybooks with you, but you taught even this old dog some great new tricks that I will be able to use for years to come."  -Radeen, Colorado, Yearbook Boot Camp session 2

What Makes Yearbook Boot Camp So Great?

Putting photos and memories in pages is on just about everyone's to-do list.  Yearbook Boot Camp is the perfect way to get it done!  

Interacting with your photos and memories has a host of personal benefits, including increased happiness, relaxation, self-esteem, gratitude, and connection.  

Although the yearbook you'll create is (or can be) a physical gift you can give yourself and/or your family, it's also a personal gift that will keep on giving right back to you because you'll have the skills and knowledge you need to keep creating and preserving your precious photos and memories!

"I love the way you have broken everything down.  I have ADHD and it's hard for me to keep up with things sometimes, but not this.  Your explanations are very clear.  I really appreciate it."  -anonymous, Yearbook Boot Camp session 1

One of the best things I've seen about Yearbook Boot Camp in my years of teaching it is that people come away both happy and relieved.  
  • For people who don't know where to start with their memory-keeping, I've broken everything down step by step.  
  • For people who struggle to find or make time for their memory-keeping, here it is right on your calendar, and it only takes a few weeks.
  • For people who are short on time and don't love the intensity of digital scrapbooking, here are hundreds of beautiful templates to choose from (clean and simple or scrapbook-y) that look like you spent some time on them without having to actually do that.
  • For people who are overwhelmed by the idea of making a photo-memory book, you'll be thrilled at how straightforward it is.  
"Thank you so much, Jennifer!  I am so glad I found you and your class.  I think it's going to be a game-changer for me, and my pictures, and my time." -Michelle, Yearbook Boot Camp session 6  
There's absolutely no time like the present, so don't delay!  (To register, all you have to do is email and tell me you're in.)  

See you soon at Yearbook Boot Camp!  

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

How to Transition from Paper to Digital Scrapbooking (or, what to love about digital scrapbooking)

This post is based on a online class by Photo & Story Treasures in 2019 and was updated in 2022.

Memories fade, and photos in digital form are always at the mercy of technology.  Maybe even more important to remember, though, is the fact that photos and memories {have been shown} to increase our happiness, gratitude, and sense of belonging while also lowering stress and anxiety.

At this blog you've seen lots of examples of digital books, from {life storybooks} to {time-saving yearbooks}, but {paper/traditional scrapbooking} remains a favorite method for some people.  As I always say, it's important to find something you love so that you'll do it.  Looking forward to something you enjoy makes it easy.

But what if you're a {burned-out scrapbooker}?

Or what if your favorite paper scrapbooking company is no more?  :( 

Or what if you LOVE the hands-on method of cutting pictures and using fancy scissors and adorable stickers but you just don't have the time (or table space) any more?

Well, you're in luck.  I can help.

If you're a scrapbooker but find it hard to make time for handcrafted pages--or if you've never been a scrapbooker but just need a fun but high-quality way to preserve your photos and memories--you have come to the right place.  

Let's first look at 5 common questions about digital scrapbooking.  And then answer them!
  1. Why do people switch?  What does digital offer that paper doesn't?
  2. What if I have a lot of paper supplies that I don't want to waste?
  3. What digital scrapbooking method or company is the best, and why?
  4. Why did YOU switch from paper to digital?  (I'll tell you my experience.)
  5. Can I still be as creative with digital scrapbooking as I am with paper?

If you talk to 10 people who switched from paper to digital scrapbooking, you could get 10 answers.  These are the most common reasons I hear:
  • Digital saves lots of time due to the ability to duplicate a page and get multiple copies of the finished product without extra work.
  • Digital doesn't require a lot of table/work space, and it doesn't require any storage space for supplies.
  • You can scrapbook with kids without worrying about what they're touching.  Not having to be kid-free helps busy moms find time for scrapbooking.
  • You can resize a photo or a digital sticker to make it fit your space without the limits of physical photos and embellishments that can only be cropped.
  • Since all you need for scrapbooking is a computer, it's easier to find time because you don't have to spend time getting everything out and putting it away.
  • Digital books--if you use those instead of digital scrap pages--take up a lot less space on a shelf.


It is very common for paper scrapbookers to have a lot of supplies (A LOT!), and equally common for paper scrapbookers to not want to waste them!  Many people create what's called Mixed Media scrapbooks, with some of the pages digital and some paper.  

This is what I did when I made the transition.  I created simple pages with paper, and more involved pages (like a big trip or other big event) digitally since it's so much faster and easier.  So when you go through my scrapbooks today, some pages are paper and some are digital.  You can see some of my digital pages above.  

I'm jumping ahead a little bit, but this is my favorite tool for digital scrapbooking because you can do so many things with it!  Layering, drop shadows, all sorts of things.  Plus, you can even "cut" digital papers with edge effects like you can with paper!  There are "rip" effects and everything!

And this leads us to the next question we're going to answer:  What digital scrapbooking method or company is the best, and why?


I'm sure you'd get different answers from different people, but for me personally, I want certain things from my digital scrapbooking and memory-keeping, and in almost 20 years as a memory-keeping consultant, I've only found one that satisfies everything I want and actually impresses me!  

I have pretty high expectations.  I require my memory-keeping company to:
  • keep my photos private (many don't)
  • offer me powerful digital scrapbooking software that offers both individual scrap pages and bound books with best-in-the-industry quality, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • provide excellent customer service and have excellent customer satisfaction
  • provide me a method of digital scrapbooking I can absolutely fall in love with so I have a lot of fun doing it
  • provide me a mobile app for convenience in uploading my photos to my account
Bonuses would include an online digital scrapbooking group run by pro scrappers, as well as an option to digitize old family photos from slides or prints (and videos, too!).  And a photo preservation system that allows me to tag my photos and add descriptions to them, too, would be wonderful.

I have found all of that answered in Forever, and their digital scrapbooking software, Artisan.  Here's a basic overview of what it looks like to create in Artisan, but I have a couple more excellent resources for you, too, so that you can love your digital scrapbooking method as much as I love mine!

There is so much that you can do with Artisan software that I have created two additional resources to help!
  1. Artisan Cheat Sheet - I put this together when I first started using Artisan to help me remember how to do something I just learned.  I update it periodically, so I suggest you bookmark it!
  2. Artisan Quick Tips with Jennifer - This is basically the video version of the Artisan Cheat Sheet, which is nice, I think so you can see how 
By the way, if you want more, the digital scrapbooking group for Artisan meets online and has events every month with bigger weekend ones every quarter.  They have TONS of videos and fun resources (including blueprints, which are like templates) for free, too.  It's called Pixels2Pages and has a monthly or yearly membership fee.  The ladies who run it are called Pixies, which is kind of adorable, and you can learn more about the Pixels2Pages online scrapbooking group here.

Note:  Artisan runs on a PC, but MAC users can use it with a partitioning program.


I had scrapbooked--in one way or another--for as long as I could remember.  I made a wonderful friend when I moved to a new city in the mid-90s, and we started having kids about the same time.  She was a scrapbooker, too, and we started getting together for scrapbook days while our kids (who were friends, too) played.  We'd have 3-day stints where we'd leave everything out on a table and come back each day to work.  It was beautiful--a great "me time" for me to be with my friend, and a great playdate for our kids.

And then everything changed.  

In 2009, I moved across the country, and about that same time, Heritage Makers came out with digital scrap pages.  I loved looseleaf pages because I liked keeping my kiddos' artwork and class pictures and such--and Heritage Makers was high-quality, had tons of beautiful digital art, and allowed me to be so creative while scrapbooking faster than paper.

I decided that once I finished up my paper supplies (does anyone ever do that?!) and once my youngest graduated from high school, I'd switch from individual scrap pages to books since they are cheaper and take up less space on a shelf (and I don't have to bother with ALSO buying sheet protectors and binders and everything).  

And then everything changed again when Heritage Makers was purchased and eventually lost not only the creative capabilities I was used to but also the photo cloud storage capabilities I wanted.

This book is jumping ahead quite a few years from 2009, but it's my first digital scrapbooking BOOK made with Artisan by Forever (which is on sale almost all the time, by the way) and the digital art I bought from Forever, and I LOVE IT SO MUCH!

This is a screen shot (below) of me working in Artisan--I'm trying a two-page spread from a blueprint I bought at Forever.  I used it for my whole Florida trip and loved it!


If you get the right software, digital scrapbooking is just as creative as paper scrapbooking.

The "Artisan Jump Start" video posted above will help you see that digital scrapbooking can be just as creative (maybe more, in my opinion) as paper scrapbooking.  If you'd like to see a couple of examples, here's an Artisan Quick Tip about ripping digital papers

and here's one about adding a drop shadow (or a glow effect)

and here's a fun one about creating your own alphabets--kind of like creating your own stickers!

So come dip your toes in the world of digital scrapbooking and see what it can do for you!

By the way, if simpler digital scrapbooking without designing sounds better to you, Forever has a free program full of professionally-designed templates.  Here's a quick example of what using Design & Print looks like:

Do your friends a favor and share this with them!  Everyone needs a little more happiness in their lives, and pictures are one of the best ways to get it!  So let's make memory-keeping fun and easy.

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