7.27.2015

Back at the Photography Game

Interesting feeling - prepping to do a paid photography session after a long hiatus. Actually, I'm not sure the hiatus will ever be over, officially, but I did pick up my camera, dust it off, and got ready to photograph some relatives who were having a reunion weekend. It's a special occasion to have all of your family together - children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I must be becoming sentimental because I get teary-eyed when I think of the family members I haven't seen in some time.  
The numbers weren't crazy for this group, but over 40 people still felt daunting to me. Would I remember how to pose people? Would I be able to create enough levels that I could see everyone and not stretch out a mile, both directions? What would the light be like at 10am? Did I remember everything? What if I forget how to use my camera?!

Yes, I'm a worry wart. The adage that says worry only robs today of it's peace is true. Things turned out fine, and this group of people made the morning as easy as pie: 

 After getting the large group photo first (the most IMPORTANT photo we were after), we fit in a few individual family groupings as a last minute thing. 







 The smaller children were a dream - they were so cooperative and pleasant, and ...um...GORGEOUS!
 This mother with her four daughters had me imagining the future with my four girls - hoping that we will have occasions to get together, as adults, and enjoy time spent with one another. 

It was an hour out of my life, but it help reignite the joy I once had in photographing families professionally. I live in a market saturated with photographers who do what I do, and do an excellent job at it, so I had turned my focus to the blogs I manage and put photography on the back burner. I'm not saying I'll ever go back to it as a regular thing, but the idea isn't completely out of the question, either :)
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3.16.2015

Spring Cleaning Your Computer! A 3-week "Clean Computer Calendar"


Spring time is almost upon us and the drive to do some spring cleaning often takes hold. We gear up to wash the windowsills, clean out the garage, or tackle the disastrous storage room! But have you ever considered the need to spring clean your computer? Think about this - it is something that we use daily, it gets cluttered, and can turn into an unmanageable collection of "stuff" that is impossible to sort out. 

Lisa, from www.SingleHop.com shared with me this awesome "Clean Computer Calendar" which features weekly themes, as well as daily steps to help get your computer cleaned up this month! I always love a plan to help me take things step by step, and this one is great. Here is a look: 


Week 1: Organization 
This one I think I already had down pat - at least for my photos and videos. I like to organize my images/videos chronologically, so I have a folder for each year, then within that folder, I have folders for each month. I name the month folders with a number, then the month (eg. 01 January 2015, 02 February 2015 etc.) for they will show up in the correct order. Yes. I know - I'm THAT person :) Then, within each month's folder, I have the folders by date. 

Here is a screen shot of my photos opened in Windows Photo Gallery:
Adding tags: 
Using this organization system, I have decided to now go back and label each image with, first the date but also a tag detailing the event or person. Did you know you can add tags to your photos? This makes searching our photos so much easier - trust me!  It's easy to add tags using a PC and Windows Photo Gallery. You can click on the "tag" icon at the top of the screen and you will have a few different options open up to the right - you can add a descriptive tag, or people tags (naming who is in the photos), or even geotags!


This is definitely a project, if you haven't previously been adding in tags, but this system does allow you to tag many photos at once, so that helps.

The key to getting organized is figuring out which method of organization works best for YOU and...STICKING WITH IT. Decide, starting today, that you'll stick with one method of organizing and then do it. It might take time to get through the old stuff on your computer, but at least you'll know that, going forward, it will already be done right.

Week 2: Prioritize What's Important

Here is where it kind of starts to get real for some people - deciding what is worth keeping, long-term. I admit, I might be what some would consider "ruthless" when it comes to purging photos/documents etc. I ask myself, "Will this be something I'll care about in 5 years? 10 years? 30? Will I really need 6 different angles of Johnny blowing out his birthday candles from his 4th birthday? Maybe 1 or 2 would suffice. Get rid of (i.e. delete) stuff that you know you won't need/use/look at ever again. This is easier with things like old documents you have saved etc.

I really like the suggestion on the calendar to place anything you want to KEEP but don't use very frequently in a separate folder labelled "Archive".  This helps take some of the guess work out of what to save. In the third week, you'll be uploading these archived files to an online storage, as well as hard drive (or another physical storage) and getting them OFF your computer. Yes, you'll get to do some major decluttering! Just follow along with the daily prompts in the calendar.


Week Three: Back Up & Deletion

Backing up my computer has been something I've done, but not done well. I currently have an external hard drive with a full back up of my laptop on it. At least, I hope it does - if I did the back up correctly :)

Other ways I back up my things is, I save old years worth of photos onto discs. This has to change. Times change. Discs won't be a viable option much longer. Which is why I have recently started another back up option - using the cloud.

I have recently started using Dropbox to back up my photos. Particularly, the photos from my phone get saved to Dropbox instantly. This helps me to be able to clean off more space on my phone and take more photos! Seeing as I take more and more photos on my phone these days, this makes sense. There are a lot of online cloud storage options. You can look into what works best for you. Many are free, for a limited amount of storage space, then you often have the option of paying for more storage in future. 
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I also do the old fashioned thing and print my photos to put into albums. As you are well aware, I am a Project Lifer and love the joy of holding my albums and flipping through the pages. One of my plans, though, is to photograph or scan every page and store a copy digitally. Believe me, if my house ever caught on fire, there is no way I could save all of my albums. I would need 10 men to help me haul 20 years worth of scrapbooks out of my house! It's another project in the works. 

In the meantime, another option has appeared in the Project Life app! You can scrapbook your photos from your phone/device, store a digital copy in the cloud, and print the pages for enjoyment. It's the perfect solution!


I once read that you should have three back ups - in three different locations. This is the ULTIMATE in security. Think - one copy of your files etc. in your home, one copy somewhere outside the home (think - in your office, security box etc.), and one copy online. If you do this - you can be well assured that your files will be safe. Also, if you can, have different types of back ups. Like I said, my photo "discs" may be unreadable in the future. I would hate to have saved all of our old photos, only to not be able to see them. Try an external hard drive, or even flash drives. The easiest, if you can afford some extra storage, is the online storage solutions. Look for a cloud storage site that offers security, reliability, and who back up their own servers so your stuff is safe.

Once your stuff is safely backed up (in more than one spot) you can then delete that stuff from your computer. I know (GASP) delete it! It will free up your computer to perform faster and be easier to navigate through the things you use regularly. You'll be glad you did (but only IF you've safely backed up the other stuff first - ha ha.)

The key to all of this is, not to be overwhelmed. Just take it one day, one hour at a time and do what you can. You'll love being able to find what you are looking for on your computer, and have the peace of mind knowing that it's backed up. 

Your memories are precious - and so is your sanity! Protect BOTH by using this easy calendar to get your computers cleaned out, organized, and backed up. You can do it! 

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3.09.2015

March Project Life Blog Hop

Welcome to the third of 12 blog hops from the 2014 Project Life Creative Team! Have you been having fun hopping along with us, each month? There is such a lot of inspiration oozing out of these ladies, am I right? We love this small way of continuing to share what we've been working on with our friends - all of you!

Here is a peek at what I've been working on. Be prepared for a Heidi Swapp overload! Ha ha

This layout was done using cards from Heidi's Favorite Things core kit. I love the happy colors and her fun signature style. I'm definitely a Swapp monster! I'm also using my favorite Tracey Larsen digital templates to create those fun two-shot 4X6 photos, as well as the ones with just one vertical photo on a 4X6 canvas. 
This kit used cards from Heidi's Dreamy Core Kit as well as elements from her Gold Foil Value Kit. It's kind of hard to see in these photos, but the "Hello" card and the little circle "hi" on the lower right hand photo are both gold foil - I totally love gold right now!

I have decided to print my photos all with white borders this year. I think it gives a more uniform look to my pages. I'm loving it. 

These pages were made using cards from the Slate Edition Core Kit (which happens to be on CLEARANCE right now! AWESOME) - I thought they went well with the colors in my photos this week. I also used a couple of wooden veneer elements from (who else?) Heidi Swapp! The "Adore" is found in her Color Magic Value Kit. SO love it,


Time for more Creative Team Inspiration:




Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don't see your favourite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too! We hope you enjoyed this hop!

Project Life is a memory keeping system from Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and product here.
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