There’s something incredibly special about looking through family photos from my childhood. Recently, my dad gave me a couple of large shoe boxes filled with pictures from my childhood. Dusting off and opening up those giant boxes is something I treasure. I love sifting through and reliving those memories with my sister. And I love sharing them with my husband and kids. As a mother, it’s important to me that I document our family’s memories. I know that I’ll cherish photos of my little ones when they’re grown. And I imagine that they will be grateful to have photos from their own childhood.
A few years ago I found myself overwhelmed by this task. Technology is constantly changing the way we take, view, and store photos. I’m grateful for this, but I worried that my kids would have trouble accessing pictures from long ago. Now, I’m sure there are and will be easy ways for me to share photos to them electronically. But I longed for physical copies that they’ll be able to hold in their hands when they’re grown.
Because technology has made it so easy, I take way more photos than my parents did when I was young. While I love that I can do that, I didn’t want my kids having to sift through millions of pictures to find their favorites. I started to wonder how I could sift through them quickly and easily in an effort to have something tangible to hand my kids when they grow up and leave my home. While I don’t consider myself a slacker, I find myself wanting to prioritize my time as a homeschooling mom of three, with my own business and my own passions, too. I needed a way to solve this problem that didn’t involve hours pouring over photos and making tough decisions.
Over time, I’ve developed a super straightforward and easy system. I like it for myself for a few reasons. It’s manageable and efficient. It draws from photos taken with my phone (because that’s my main tool these days for taking pictures). And it succeeds in capturing our very favorite family photos in physical form for my children.
A Slacker’s Guide to Preserving Family Photos
- I take photos with my smartphone.
- My phone syncs with my Google account so pictures are automatically uploaded to my Google Photo account and stored in the cloud. (I have an Android, but you could do this with your iPhone and Apple account, as well). I like that all of my photos are automatically saved and organized by date.
- When I capture something that I really want to remember, I upload the picture to my Instagram account. My account is private so it’s mostly just friends and family who will see them. But you’ll see in a moment why my Instagram account is almost more for me than for sharing with friends and family.
- As a birthday approaches for each child, I take one evening and head to one of my favorite sites for printing photos, Artifact Uprising. I head straight to their Instagram Friendly Book. With this product, I can pull in all of my Instagram photos and start designing. I choose my absolute favorite photos from the past year with that particular child and add them to the book. I try to get a good mix of photos that capture their passions, any major developmental leaps that happened, and moments in their relationships with my husband, their siblings, their friends, and me. Choosing photos doesn’t take too long because I’ve already cut down on my choices throughout the year by uploading only the very favorites to Instagram.
- I order the book (they start at just $18) and give it to them on their birthday. Once we’ve enjoyed the book, I am careful to keep it safe and in decent condition. My kids know where the books are and can ask me to grab them and look through them at anytime.
And that’s it! I’m so happy with the quality of these books and they’re worth every penny. With very little time investment, I am able to preserve our favorite family photos for each of my kids. I love that I can highlight our favorites and still have the rest saved in the cloud. There is no worrying about permanently deleting any pictures, I simply print the favorites.
I imagine myself handing each of my kids a box of these little books when they head out into the world. And I love to imagine them cracking open that box to reminisce or to share their memories with their own families.