It’s the new year and many of you have some amazing goals and resolutions! I bet for some of you, one of your goals is to FINALLY get all those family portraits (both professionally and snapshots you’ve taken over the years) OFF of your computer and somehow displayed in your home! Am I right?! I think we should all have that goal.
With this new age of digital photography, most of our precious family portraits and memories live on our computers all to often to be forgotten about or left to collect dust in their cyber space folders and zip drives. We take so much time curating our family portraits. We spend money on “good cameras” in hopes that we will take better pictures so that we can print them out and display them in our homes. We even spend our hard earned money and invest in professional photographers to take quality family portraits in hopes that maybe these will be the ones that we frame and decorate our walls but alas, they still end up in zip files on our computer; and why is that?!
I have my own theory: we don’t make the time to carefully sort through and choose the ones that represent our family and our unique family culture the best!
There are so many demands on our time these days from work, home chores and demands and then school functions and errands we need to run for our children and to keep our family running! There just isn’t enough time in the day to do the things we really need to do and the things we really want to do and love.
We also aren’t quite sure HOW to do this! How do we get these files off of our computer? What are our resources? What are our choices to display our images? Sometimes when we start to think about them, it all seems overwhelming and we just throw our hands up in frustration.
This is what I want I want to help you with today! I want to break it down for you and give you some resources so you can start because once you take that first step, I promise you the process of getting those images into your hands will become relaxing and enjoyable! You might even become addicted, like me!
First things first, we have to tackle the TIME portion!
- You have to CREATE TIME in order to get this done! This has to be a priority! I say this because even as a professional photographer, there are loads of family portraits sitting in my computer right now that I have to make the time to go through! This happens to everyone: we all have the intention to make those family albums, those baby books, those scrapbooks and then the days go by and those days turn into months and then years and before you know it, oh my gosh it’s now too overwhelming to even think about.
Here’s the thing, make it a goal and create action plans! Carve out a little bit of time each week in your schedule! Set an amount of time that is manageable for you and start little by little! This is what worked for me when I was 3 years behind on Linc’s yearly albums! I set aside 30 minutes each Wednesday while he was at school at 2:00 pm before I left to pick him up! I set an alarm (on my phone) so I would be reminded and once a week for that half hour I would get one or two pages of his album completed. It was deeply satisfying and relaxing for me. Not to mention, I also felt proud and accomplished!
One you commit to carve out time in your schedule the rest is easy!
The next step is the HOW and What! How do you actually get the files off the computer and What are your resources! This is the fun part! There are so many ways that you can display your images, probably more than you even know. What you choose will all depend on what type family culture you have in your home and what you like best! Most of these websites I am going to suggest all have a drag and drop method which makes the how part extremely easy, it’s the deciding which method suits you best that’s the true hard part!
- Printing:Prints are probably the first thing that comes to mind when most people think about how to get their images off their computer! I love to print my images and there are so many great places to send your images for print these days! The first thing to think about is where your images are coming from: did you take them yourself with your own camera, your phone or go-pro or did you have them taken by a professional photographer? If you had them taken by a professional photographer your images might have come from a gallery like PASS or PIXISET, if they did you can always print your images from that gallery itself and that is an easy way right there to have professional quality printing! You can also ask your photographer to print your images for you if they do that! If you are looking to print your own photo’s from a professional print lab you can look at places like:
- One thing about printing: If you print from a one hour photo lab there will be a slight color difference than if you print from a professional photo print lab! I honestly prefer Wal-greens for one hour printing because I think the color difference is closest to that of the pro print lab that I like to use! This is my personal preference, you might have somewhere else that you like best and that is completely fine! Your photographer might suggest another place that they like best for one hour printing and that’s OK too. It’s all about your own personal preference. Everyone is different and it’s what makes us different that makes us all shine!
- Framing: Now that we’ve talked about printing, it’s only natural to talk about framing and frames! Once you have your photos printed, the best way to display them obviously is frames! Now I am always printing my images and I display them all over my house! Some are in frames, some are hanging on my fridge, some are lightly taped to walls and some are just randomly placed around the house just for fun! I love having prints around to change out on a whim so there is no short of prints around the house that don’t always have a home in a frame. When I do want a frame for an image there are tons of places that I like to find them. My go to sources for frames are: home goods, TJ MAXX, Michaels (especially for larger frames and for professional framing), Hobby Lobby, Amazon if I am looking for a specific frame, Target, Ikea etc! There are so many places to find amazing frames! I love to add a mat to my images to take my frames up a notche and make them look extra special. You can have this done for you, Michaels does a great job, or you can do this yourself. I usually buy foam board for the back of mine and then order custom card stock from amazon! Here is a great tutorial on how to mat and frame your own artwork!
- Canvas: After printing and framing images, most people tend to think BIG and start going for canvas! We have so many canvas prints hanging in our house (although most are upstairs!) I love a great canvas piece and believe it or not, canvas does NOT have to be expensive if you are willing to search for a good deal! Once again, if you work with a professional family photographer, ask them if they can order some canvas for you and what their price points are! You never know if they have certain months where they can get deals or if they are running specials! Certain places mentioned in the Printing section offer canvas prints as well and they offer deals (mpixpro and adorama for example!) I also know that BJ’s and some other wholesale clubs offer canvas prints and some will deliver to your home! My dad loves to order his canvas from BJs and he is always talking about his deals!
- MIXTILES! Our family just recently discovered Mixtiles and we are in love! This company is such a gem and they have amazing customer service. You might have seen them on instagram and if you haven’t, pop over and give them a follow. Mixtiles are portable canvas “tiles”. They allow you to stick these little 8×8 1 inch canvas tiles on your walls and then change them up, remove them and stick them again whenever and wherever you like! All you have to do is download the app on your phone and choose your photos! I decided to try these out for Linc’s playroom and I am so incredibly happy that I did! We ordered 10 and they are perfect! Right now, I’m contemplating purchasing another set for the other side of his playroom wall. I’m awful at measuring and hanging things on the wall. Everything I hang is lopsided and I end up putting about a million holes in the wall. Tuck has fired me from even thinking about hanging anything. With these little guys, Tuck and I just placed and pulled, stuck and re-stuck until we found a pattern that we liked. Once Linc grows out of the style we having going in his playroom right now (which is a mixture of Linc dressed in star wars and super hero’s ) I’ll just pull them off and re-stick them on my side of the office! If you are looking for a canvas that isn’t too huge, is budget friendly and can be moved around from room to room, this is absolutely the way to go!
- Gallery Walls: I love to walk into a home and find a beautiful gallery wall of family images! You can even mix and match images with art work! Gallery walls create wonderful conversation pieces and usually become a great focal point for your home. Don’t know how to style a gallery wall? There are wonderful resources from everything to layout and sizing on Pinterest! Just type in gallery wall and you can spend hours finding the perfect match for your home and the exact space you are trying to decorate! We have a gallery wall in our Kitchen that combines frames, posters, a wooden board with light up clips, a giant whale and so on. We are planning to add a giant map as well so we can document our family travels!
- Family Albums: A long time ago before I even met Tuck, I was visiting a friend of a friend’s home for a Twilight movie party (hahah right!) and I remember sitting on her couch looking at all these incredible yearly albums! She made one album for each year she and her husband were together. She had albums that dated back to college but more importantly she had an album for each one of her children’s years (she had one son and one newborn baby girl). They weren’t baby books, they were yearly albums of each of her child’s life along with family outings and adventures. I loved the idea of that so I decided to carry that tradition on with Linc! Now that Linc is 5, this will be the last year he has his “own” album to himself where I track him month by month and the album will become a family album of our adventures together. Family albums are wonderful and it’s a fantastic way to take all those wonderful images: professional family portraits taken yearly at the holidays plus your own images taken during family vacations, summer beach days and pool parties, first days back to school and so on and place them all together in a way that they tell your own story of that year. Family albums tell those around you about who you are: they leave behind your legacy! So, how do you create a family album?!
- Many photographers will create an album for you based on one professional photo shoot! I love to create albums based all around one big lifestyle session!
- You can also find many companies to help you create an album: Shutterfly is a big one that many families use (although it’s not my favorite), adoroma pix, mpixpro, persneckity prints all have beautiful photo albums and will help guide you through the process! I love that you can create an album that is specific to your family and your unique tastes. Linc has all kinds of albums from leather, to hardcover and even linen!
- If your handy with photoshop, you can design your own album (I am going to run a tutorial on this) and then upload it to your favorite album company!
- Family Calendars: Just like a Family Album, most print labs also offer the option to print yearly calendars! Don’t want that big of a commitment of making an entire family album?! Go ahead and just pick a few images and create a yearly calendar for the family! That way each month you can look forward to seeing and remembering a new memory with your loved ones! You can use one image for each month or choose to use many and make a collage!
- Cards & Post Cards: Are you a big writer? One of the cutest things I’ve seen in a while was when a photographer friend of mine took her family and created stationary and post cards to drop little notes to her friends and clients every once in a while! The holiday card doesn’t have to be the only time you dress your family on a card! You can put your family on post cards and regular stationary to send out all year round!
There are so many other ways to display your photos, even more than I have mentioned above! You can make coffee mugs, magnets, mouse pads, covers for your day planners, cell phone covers, and so much more I can’t even begin to name them all! All it takes is creativity and finding the right source by typing your idea into google! The important part to remember is just to use your imagination and set aside the right amount of time in your own schedule to actually DO something with your images. You want to make the commitment to yourself and to your family to find a way to display those precious family memories!
And remember: No matter what you do, it doesn’t have to be perfect! Just as the seasons change, so can the prints in your home! We are always constantly changing out images in our frames and re-arranging our shelves and our gallery walls! That’s why I suggested the mixtiles! Our children grow and so can our decor! This is precisely why I love to make family albums: they keep a record of our family history and I can style them in our home and shelves perfectly!
At the end of the day, the reason we take images is so we can appreciate the time we spend together! We want to be able to re-live these special moments and visit them again any time we chose. We can’t exactly do that if they are living on a computer! So let’s get them in our homes where everyone can enjoy them!