As a child I loved telling stories, and I still do as an adult. This blog is just one way I share stories. I like to create, collect and celebrate family moments. I gather these memories up and I enjoy chronicling their lives through words and images. It is partly for me, so I can hold onto their childhood, but it is for their benefit, too. Of course, I try to do this in a way that enables me to enjoy being in the moment with them. There’s a juggling act to capturing the special moments in life, and actually being present for them.
When you’re a parent, each time your child reaches a new milestone is exciting and naturally you want to capture these precious moments. We can’t commit every detail to memory, so our natural response is to record it. Photos, videos and letters form a little “time capsule” of our lives. Imprinting a childhood with these ‘souvenirs’ is a lovely gift to pass on. Children will forever treasure memories if they are preserved.
“Memories are like bridges that take us back into the past”
Like every parent in the digital age I take a ridiculous number of photos of my kids. I have thousands of photos on my hard drive. In my defence, I am determined that my children have photos to link them back to memories of when they were little. Being the fourth in line, my parents were apparently “too busy” to take pics of me. I think I’ve seen one photo of me as a baby and very few as a toddler. Yes, I am a disgruntled 4th child sufferer and haven’t gotten over this injustice. Anyone else in the same position?
If you’re like me, and enjoy collecting memories, here are 5 simple ways you can do it.
Take photos that capture a moment
Photos tell the story of our lives; little moments threaded together. While naturally we like to record all the milestones (first steps, first smile, birthdays and ballet concerts) often the most precious moments happen outside of these celebrations. It’s also all the micro moments in between. I enjoy watching my children at play, from a distance. Yes, it sounds a bit stalkerish, but there is nothing more delightful than seeing a child totally absorbed in imaginative play. Whether it is making mud pies, chasing butterflies, building blocks or creating a masterpiece, their eyes reveal the depth of their emotions. Capturing a child deep in concentration or giddy with excitement often makes for powerful photo.
Tips for improving your family photos:
– Get close, and then get closer. If possible, get down to their level, on the floor and experiment with different angles. Don’t always take a photo of them completely. Just focus on one part of their body – be it their hands, eyes or mouth.
– Part of telling a great story is diversity. Don’t always keep your subject in the centre of the photo. Experiment with different compositions. I often take photos of them off-centre or from a height or from afar.
– Keep it honest. A beautiful photo is not necessarily one in which everyone is grinning from ear to ear (although those are cute). Let things unfold naturally in front of you and remember a great photo is an authentic one.
– Get outside. Nothing will improve your photos more than natural sunlight. Ditch the flash and get outdoors. Your photos will thank you for it. Indirect sunlight is best to avoid shadows. If you’re up with the birds, you’ll get a soft, natural light that’s, quite simply, gold.
– Remove clutter. Keep the focus on your subject and try to remove things that will distract the eye. Ugly things in the background like bins spoil so many photos!
The lovely and clever Bron from Maxabella Loves has some great tips for improving your photography on her blog. She takes gorgeous photos and her posts are encouraging, helpful and accessible.
Get creative with your pics
I love creating collages with my photos and with resources such as Picmonkey and Canva, it’s super easy to do. You can also overlay your images with words and experiment with different filters and backgrounds.
I captured the girls in front of a giant chalkboard on our holiday to Port Douglas last year. The photo itself is cool but adding text makes it more playful.
Simple photo collages in Picmonkey are quick and fun.
There are endless ways to display a collection of memories.
My recent discovery is Fat Mum Slim’s Little Moments app. It’s a fab app for making your precious memories even more special. It’s easy to use and has fun, playful editing options.
Create photo books
The easiest way to preserve your family memoires is by creating a personalised photobook. Photobooks are a slick-looking alternative to photo albums, as you can print your favourite family photos directly onto the page, accompanied by text. There are loads of online options. I have used Snapfish and Photobook and impressed with both. More recently I used the mac photobook application and loved it.
Make a short film
Creating short films can be time consuming, but if you’re up for a challenge, it’s worth the time and effort. I usually use a mix of video and stills to create a little movie. For your first attempt I would suggest just using images. Import all your pics to your computer and then create a theme with music. I use the iMovie function on my mac.
I prefer to keep my titles clean and simple and let my pics and video create the mood. If you’re making a birthday movie, take pics of the set up, preparation, to set up your story. You can change the speed of your clips easily and a good mix of fast and slow makes it more interesting. Here are some examples:
If you want a more detailed step-by-step guide to making a film about everyday life, head here.
Create a memory box
I have memory boxes for each of my girls and I fill them with treasured keepsakes. The girls love fossicking through them and it’s a lovely bonding activity to dip into the past and remember the early days. My memory boxes include things like: newborn baby hospital bracelet, the outfit they wore when they were born, special newborn clothes and wraps, congratulations cards from family and special friends, photos, kinder journals, movie stub tickets, baby books, fairy notes and more…
I hope this post has given you some ideas on how you can preserve your precious family moments. For, in the words of Louisa may Alcott,
“Preserve your memories, keep them well,
what you forget you can never retell.”
I am happy to answer any questions relating to this post. And if you want to see more of my pics, you can follow NASD on instagram. If you have a clever way of preserving your family memories, please share in the comments section below.