Are you preserving your memories?

By: Vanessa Armstrong/

So, tell me, how often do you take photos of your family?   I know exactly what you’re going to say, “Pretty much every day.  I have a smart phone. I take pictures of my kids every day, probably several times a day.” You’re going to say, “I take way more pictures of my kids than my parents ever did of me.”  Now let me ask you this, how often do you print your photos?  I read an article somewhere that said, “Our children will be the most photographed generation and they won’t have any printed photos to show for it.”  I don’t know about you, but that really got to me when I read that.

One of my favorite things as a kid was going to my granny’s house and searching through an her coffee table full of old pictures. They weren’t in albums or labeled, but it was still so much fun just to look through them. I would try to find pictures of myself or maybe one I hadn’t seen before and imagine the story behind it.  

I lost my dad before I turned three and photos were really the only connection that I had to him.  Maybe that’s why I’ve always felt so strongly about pictures. I’ve always had a camera in my hand, since about 7th grade, way before smart phones and since becoming a mom. I’ve always thought one of my biggest jobs as a mom is to be our family memory keeper.

Judy Weiser, a psychologist, art therapist, and author based in Vancouver says, “It lets children learn who they are and where they fit. They learn their genealogy and the uniqueness of their own family and its story. When a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photograph they say to themselves: ‘These people have me as part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from.’”

 “Displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one another, and we honor the memories we have experienced,“ says Cathy Lander-Goldberg, a licensed clinical social worker and a professional photographer in St. Louis, Missouri.

Of course we know that we should be printing our pictures. I have a list a mile long of all of the projects I want to accomplish for my kids.  So, how do we go about getting all these photos printed and preserved for our children and grandchildren, so they’re not gathering around social media in 50 years trying to see photos from their childhood?  What happens when one of those social media accounts are no longer “cool” and we’ve been relying on it as a way of storing our precious photos?  Anyone remember Myspace?  Let’s make 2018 the year we get our photos out of our computer and into our hands!


I have a few suggestions that might help you get started. Keep in mind, these are only suggestions.  Start with a shoe box and start printing a few pictures here and there.  Then if that’s not working for you, maybe try something like Shutterfly or Snapfish that offer photo books. Their software will even put them together for you. Try doing yearly family albums. I know Shutterfly offers free photobook coupons all the time! They even offer free prints, you’ll only have to pay for shipping. I’ve also heard great things about Chatbooks. I’ve never used them myself, but if you’re using Instagram you can set it up where after every 60 photos it automatically sends you a book. They’re only $10 a piece too.  Mixbook is another photobook company I’ve heard great things about. Do your research to see what fits you and your budget!

After you start printing those photos, if you’re not backing them up, that should be the next thing on your to-do list.  Google Photos is free and unlimited storage.  You can set it up right on your phone, so as you take photos it’ll back them right up for you. If you use Amazon Prime, they also have free photo storage for prime members.  I use both.  I have the apps on my phone and my computer.  I love knowing our memories are protected.

I encourage you to try to start backing up and printing those photos for future generations to enjoy.

Vanessa Armstrong

Vanessa Armstrong is one of our Parent Liaison for Lenawee Great Start. Before joining Lenawee Great Start, Vanessa worked as a photographer and served in the United States Air Force of 10 years. She is a Florida native who has been living in Tecumseh with her husband Sean and their 3 children, Keira, Cooper and Harper since 2010.


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