I had intended to finish my “Motivation to Start” series back in August with what I think is the biggest motivator of all – sharing – but somehow here it is mid-October already!
As some of you might remember, my mom celebrated her 80th birthday in August, and I was preparing some photo gifts for her to help her feel like her friends and family weren’t so far away, even though they were scattered across the world (or at least 6 feet away!).
But everyone in my family and my husband’s family knows that the chances of getting a photo-related gift from me in any given year for any occasion (or no occasion at all) is going to be pretty darn high. Why? Because I think there is something magical about sharing images of a life event with a loved one. Whether they are photos from a shared experience, such as a holiday or reunion, or a special event in your own life that you want to share with others, these gifts let the recipient experience and remember special moments in a way no other medium can.
If you’re like me, you might feel compelled to sort through and organize 100 years’ worth of photos and memorabilia and curate the most beautiful and poignant images into a full-color, professionally printed book that would look dazzling on any coffee table. And, of course, that’s fine if you have the time, patience, and know-how.
But sometimes these lofty goals become overwhelming, so the project never gets off the ground. Which photos should I choose? How should I arrange them? Should I add captions? What’s the best printing company? And so on.
That’s why it’s important to remember that sharing photos doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming, expensive, or require special products or services. In fact, how many times have you come across a photo while scrolling through your library and texted it to a friend because you know it would brighten their day? Free, instant, and magical.
Apply that same notion to a photo gift. For example, years ago I made duplicates of photos I took when my husband and I visited my parents in Durango, Colorado. I had some colorful construction paper lying around, so I just glued the duplicates onto the paper and made silly captions to go with the photos. Now that my dad has passed away, I love looking back on this fun time we all had together.
Another time, I glued duplicates of a family vacation into a journal made of handmade paper, which was a bit more fancy than the construction paper. It didn’t matter that neither of these was archival quality because these weren’t original copies of the photos.
Of course, there are a variety of professionally printed products you can create, too. Everything from books and albums to wall art to mugs…and new innovations every day! I always look forward to my sister’s yearly calendars, which feature photos of her life in Scotland. And yes, I have, in fact, created a photo book of photos curated (some restored) from seven decades of photos for a 70th birthday. So much fun!
The fun ways to share photos are endless, and in my opinion, the joy that these photos bring to the recipients is a great motivator for getting started on organizing your photos. Maybe you know where some great ‘70s Halloween photos are in your collection that you can quickly pull out and share with a parent, sibling, or child in a couple weeks? Maybe the “person who has everything” would cherish a special photo album for Christmas, featuring vacations through the years or milestones in their life?
I challenge you to go to your physical or digital photo collection right now, organized or not, and open any tub, album, or folder and find one or two photos to send to someone, either digitally or through the mail. Letting someone know you’re thinking of them is truly the best gift of all, and the photo is just the icing on the cake! And everyone could use a little more cake these days.
I’ll start: I recently came across a photo of my sister-in-law in a Halloween costume in 1970. Isn’t it adorable? I can’t wait to email it to her and the rest of the family as a Halloween greeting. They likely haven’t seen this photo in decades, so I think it will be a fun surprise!
You’re next! Does sharing a photo give you new motivation to take a stab at getting your collection organized so you can easily share more in the future?