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Whether you are a part time pro or the family photo nut, there is always something you can learn to take better pictures. Sometimes it can be the simplest thing that will give your photos a different look and usually it just takes some trial and experimentation. To get even more fun tips and ideas be sure to sign up for my newsletter. You can also follow me on twitter and friend me on facebook.
Today, I would like to share something that will really help you critique yourself and see what to look for to make that great photo.

By moving to the right we could have avoided the tree in the middle of my head

By moving to the right we could have avoided the tree in the middle of my head


You may not realize that making photo album will actually make you a better photographer. It’s true. When you actually go to do something with those photos that you took, you will see the quality or flaws,
Here I should have had Robyn move to the left

Here I should have had Robyn move to the left

in your photos. You’ll suddenly see that exit sign in the background, the people you don’t know in the background, the tree or pole sticking out of someone’s head, the public trash can overflowing and the list goes on. I’m sure you can guess how I know this! Simply printing the photos did not always cause me to see these problems. It takes actually creating something that makes these a glaring, flashing, red light. It can be a scrapbook, slip in album or even a digital album that you have printed into a hardbound, coffee table type of book. It takes this step because during this step you are selecting which photos to use and which can be left out and you are looking with a more critical eye. This also happens if you are looking to enlarge a photo to frame.
Here I am at least standing in front of the sign to cover it up

Here I am at least standing in front of the sign to cover it up

With this in mind, I encourage you to take the time to create an album – your style – your way, so whatever you choose, just go do it. You will see things in your pictures you wish weren’t there and you will be much more aware the next time you go to snap a photo.

Since I’ve recently moved, I thought you might like some tips on making use of your camera as a tool outside of taking pictures of people and places.
We are a military family and moving has been part of our life for the last 20 years. After some initial moves on our own, we decided to let the experts move us. Sometimes letting your possessions go with someone else can be a little nerve-wracking. We have had some good moves and some moves that did not go very well at all. I’m going to share some tips of where your camera can come in handy especially if you are using a digital camera.

Take photos of bikes or collectibles

Take photos of bikes or collectibles

On this most recent move, we found out from the moving company that they need exact descriptions of many items. The description needs to include not only style, model, and serial numbers but also colors of things like bicycles for example. Take close up photos of your family’s bicycles. You can even zoom in and take a picture of the serial number.
Take photos of your furniture – it serves as an inventory for you as well as helping show the condition of the furniture before it is moved.
Quick & easy way to know the contents of your box

Quick & easy way to know the contents of your box


If you have a large CD or book collection, take a photo of the items on the shelf or in the box. This way you can zoom in on the photo to read the titles and you don’t have to type everything up. Include a box number in the photo and then write the number on the box. This way if you need a certain item, you know what box to look in to quickly find it.
Hopefully these tips will come in handy the next time you need to move or even put some items into storage. This way if you find yourself searching for an item, you can pull up your photos on the computer and find that missing item. Think of it as a ‘backup’ of your possessions.
This works well if you need to put things in storage too. Number them too!

This works well if you need to put things in storage too. Number them too!


With my move nearly complete, we’ll be returning to our regular topics next week.

I’m jumping back to the ‘Go From Overwhelmed to Organized’ post. I want to offer some solutions in case your photos are already printed and you would like to make an album from these printed pictures.

Click here to go to my website for this item

Use for photos or CDs

First get all of the photos from your event (child’s first year, wedding, graduation, vacation, etc) together in one place.

Decide if you would like the photos chronologically or by theme. For example, if I was to go back and put together an album of my childhood, it would be easier for me to put all the Christmas photos together, all birthdays, all summer/vacation etc. It would be difficult for me to figure out which holiday came before or after a certain birthday since those photos are all jumbled together. But if you already have them in some kind of an order or at least by envelope from where you had them developed you may want to sort chronologically.

Once they are all gathered together, it’s time to sort.

To find out what items I use & recommend, subscribe to my newsletter for more details. I use these dividers to keep months, days or events separated. Once I complete an album, I can re-use the box or keep CDs or negatives in it too. Additionally, the box is a safe home for my printed photos, negatives and memorabilia.

This Box holds 2400 photos!

This Box holds 2400 photos!

If you are in a pinch you can use Ziploc baggies to sort events and then put them in a Rubbermaid container or shoe box. IMPORTANT note here – these items can be harmful to your photos in the long term so quickly move onto the step for making your album.

Need more help on this step, subscribe to my newsletter and put that in the notes section and I will send more details on organizing printed photos.

Happy Sorting!

It’s now decision time. Even if you are still gathering your photos together, you can begin thinking what kind of album

Traditional Scrapbook

Traditional Scrapbook

would you like these photos to be seen in. There are 3 main choices.

  1. Traditional scrapbook style album – this can simply be some photos, a little bit of color, stickers and the story.
  2. Slip-in style album – just like it sounds. You can simply slip your photos into pockets designed to fit 4×6 photos.
  3. Slip In Style Album

    Slip In Style Album

  4. Digital album – this is one of the newest to the market. It is a printed book, not one that you look at on your computer. It is created on the computer and then uploaded to a location that prints these books. The best books are stitch bound, hardcover, heavy paper books that look like a coffee table book you would buy at a bookstore. To make this book, you will need to have your
    Variety of Digital Style Albums

    Variety of Digital Style Albums

    photos on your computer. If they were taken with a 35 mm camera, you can either scan them or have a CD made when you have your photos developed.

That’s all for this step – visualize how you want to see the book. Imagine holding it in your hands and sharing it with friends and family.

Which style fits the occasion and which style tells the story YOUR way?

Digital StoryBook Album

Digital StoryBook Album

In the last post, I asked you to release the guilt and just think about one album you would love to complete. Let’s build on that further. Be sure to read that post first and really think about what photos you would love to see in an album with the stories told and memories shared.

Here are some steps to take if the photos have not yet been printed.

  1. Start gathering all of those digital images in one place. Name a folder on your computer for that event (Wedding, Graduation, Trip to Europe, etc) and start putting all the photos into that folder. (If you have photos that are already printed check back for our next post on what steps to take.)
  2. Add a second folder within that folder labeled either ‘Favorites’ or ‘4 star’ and start looking at each photo and deciding if it makes the cut for being good enough to use in your book and put them in that folder. Often with digital cameras, we take twice as many pictures (or 4, 5 or 10x as many if your husband is like mine!) as we need so that we get the photo we want, so start sorting through and picking the good/great ones. If you have a software program that helps you organize and edit your photos* then you should use that to make this task go faster.
  3. Not every photo needs to be perfect, keep in mind that you can edit if you have an editing software*, just focus on selecting those you want to include for now.
  4. Once you have everything together, you need to decide if you want to make a digital photo album printed like a coffee table book or if you prefer to print the photos and make an album with 4×6 prints.

*For more details, click on the link to my website on the right and look at the software, or subscribe to my newsletter.

For me photography is a hobby, making photo albums, telling stories of our family and helping others to do the same is my passion.

We all take pictures. Think about this.

Why did you take that picture? Honestly think, it must have meant something. Unless you are a soon to be 9th grader, on a school trip to Washington DC, and you simply take a photo because everyone else is taking one (you can imagine how I know this!), most likely there was some reason and some meaning behind taking that photo.

I know you can find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of photos you have, then you begin to feel guilty.

I want you to let go of the guilt. My son’s band teacher had a great saying this year. “It is what it is.” It’s true. You have already taken the photos. At least you have photos. Think of your parents’ childhood or grandparents’. How many photos do they have? Yes, you need to do something with those photos, but you do not have to do something with all of them right now and certainly not all of them ever. Let’s move from this point forward. “It is what it is.”

Think back on your life. If you could have one album completed, what album would it be? Would it be a wedding album, baby album or one of the last vacation/trip you took? What pictures would be in it? What stories would be told? Who would be the first person you showed it to? How would you feel looking through it?

Share your thoughts here.

Building on my post from last week, I have a few more tips of pictures you should take. I hope you will try and enjoy these. brick courtyardThese will be photos you might normally not think of taking. Those of you that have turned to digital scrapbooking will find them especially useful and fun! But our traditional scrapbookers can use them as well.

Take background photos. These are photos that you can then use as the background of the page and still lay out photos on top of the picture itself. For example,

Original photo of path

Original photo of path

if you are visiting an old town out east or some of the villages in Europe, take a picture of the cobblestone road. If you are doing a family reunion, graduation event or something out on a deck, take a photo of the deck itself – the boards across the ground. If you are getting married, take a close up photo of the bouquet or the veil or the dress. If you are out on a cruise or at the beach, take a picture of the water or sand – looking straight down.

Bricks used as background on page

Bricks used as background on page

This way instead of trying to find a background paper to work for your page, you already have one. You can mute it by changing the opacity of the photo if you find it is detracting from the photos you are putting over the top of the page. It makes for a really fun layout and allows you to utilize the entire environment in your album and to tell the entire story of the vacation or event.

If you’d like more information on what products I use to create my digital books and create the layouts seen here, subscribe to my newsletter.

Have a great time on

Try to catch a flag blowing in the breeze

Try to catch a flag blowing in the breeze

your next vacation and if you see someone else taking a photo of nothing but the cobblestone road – it might just be me – stop and say ‘Hi!’