In my former not-a-mother life, I was a photography enthusiast. I had a basic DSLR and a variety of fun lenses, and I’d go on long photography walks on the weekends, taking endless photos of plants, food, and the city. Occasionally, my husband or I would take photos of our reflections, but that was the extent of my portraiture — until I had children. And then, as I’m sure happened to you as well, my photos multiplied overnight, and suddenly 99% of them were taken with my iPhone.
And with subjects as cute as my kiddos, who could blame me? But here’s the problem: I ended up upgrading to the 60GB iPhone because I never took the photos off of my phone! And by not using them, I only saw those photos once a year when I checked TimeHop instead of enjoying them every day. So here’s how I started using and displaying photos around our home:
Instead of scrolling Instagram to relive memories, I’ve brought my Instagram grid to our fridge. My boys love rearranging the photo magnets and showing them off to guests in our home. I love the bright colors and being surrounded by people I love in the room where I spend most of my time. These also make a great grandparent gift. My go-to source for magnets shuttered earlier in the year, so now I turn to Social Print Studio to print these.
Do you know who is not on Instagram? My husband’s grandmothers. And, to be honest, can you really blame someone older than age 80 for not mastering yet another form of social media? No way. But they do still want to see their great-grandchildren, so I’ve been ordering square prints on sale and mailing them out periodically. I always order extra copies for us as well, because I love the vintage vibe of square prints. I’ve been tucking them into mirrors, propping them up against books on our bookcase, and sliding them into a clipboard so I can change them out easily. The app from Parabo Press is how I upload and print my square prints. Fun fact: They run a 25-free-print (only pay shipping) sale a few times a year.
I’m a sucker for large-scale prints, and, much to my delight, many canvas photo printers can blow up a lower-resolution photo on a large-scale canvas. I wait for 80-90% off sales and then order the really big canvases (normally the 16″ x 20″ size) and have them lining our stairwell. I really love the look of a casual family selfie on a more formal large canvas. We’ve tried a variety of canvas printing companies, and we’ve been pleased with all of them. Most recently, we used Canvas HQ, which is a US-based, family business.
Photo books are super traditional and pretty labor intensive, but every year I sit down and compile the best photos from our year into a family yearbook. I’ve been making one a year since we were married, and it’s fun to watch the thickness of the books grow as we add more members to our family. Every year I promise myself that I will organize the photos monthly, take them off my phone regularly, set up folders for favorites. But, 10 years in, I still don’t do that. My photos are a jumble, but I have a late fall tradition of sitting down every night for a week and plowing through mountains of digital photos. I have used Blurb to make my photo books for over a decade now, and they still look amazing (even after being pawed through regularly by two small children).
I have so many fond memories of flipping through photos as a child, and I want to make sure my children have that same experience. That makes all the time and money invested in photo printing and displaying worth it to me. Now, if only I could get myself to back them up more than once a year…