Vacation Bound – Making Memories with a New Camera

Welcome Wendy, one of our favorite bloggers!

My style of writing is very conversational. I usually just start on a whim from a single thought and go from there. This usually works for me, but apparently not when I’m so ready for a vacation from work that I could cry. My vacation starts the day after tomorrow, and I won’t return for 12 days. I cannot express how happy this thought makes me. I’m looking forward to 12 solid days of family togetherness.

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We are going on a trip, but not until the middle of next week. Before that, my girls will be going on their first field trip at school (with their mother in tow). The documenter will be present, of course. The day after that is their classroom Spring Party, and I just received word from their teacher that one of my little kittens will be getting Student of the Week. It’s Haley. The one I missed last time. The award will be given this Friday at chapel, and come hell or high water…Mommy will be there this time! Redemption is near. I can taste it.

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As any of you with a full-time career know, preparation to be out of work for vacation is clearly the most stressful time of all. I have the type of job where answers cannot wait long, so I have to be sure to fully prepare the unassuming co-workers I am leaving behind. I probably over-prepare people for my absence, but hopefully they appreciate it. I do not like to be surprised by other people’s emergencies, so I tend to treat others as if they wouldn’t want to be surprised by mine.

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So, tomorrow afternoon…once the last email update is sent and the out-of-office assistant is turned on, this mother will be a happy camper. I will be happy to just be “mom” for a while…also known as “memory documenter extraordinaire.” Doing what I love most, even if only for a short period of time. Snapping pictures and rolling video in the hopes that my children can share it with their children and so on. We are a happy family, lovers of life…and making good memories is what we do best! I am looking forward to our new adventures with my camera in hand.

New Camera New Memories

If you’d like to follow Wendy personally, click here: www.preventivedoublemastectomy.wordpress.com

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Converting your Old-Fashioned Photographs into Digital Images

Welcome our new guest blogger, Julie!

I remember as a child, my parents always had a nice camera and took family photos of all our vacations. My mother has spent over a decade going through family photos which were all thrown into a big metal box. She ended up organizing them by time periods and then by year (for the ones she could actually figure out the year for.) It is always fun looking back through family photos and making reprints to surprise family members with. But, what do you do with your boxes and boxes of old photographs?

As a photographer, everything I shoot is digital. I am addicted to taking pictures. My cell phone alone has around 2,500 photos on it just from the last 12 months. The digital era has allowed us to go hog-wild with the photo taking.
In the days where you had to use film, every photo became an issue of cost (cost for film and cost for developing). Now that film cost is gone, we can shoot events and take hundreds or thousands of pictures in a single day and not think twice about it!

With the development of digital photos came the explosion of photo creativity through programs like Adobe Photoshop. When I photograph a wedding, my favorite part is playing with the pictures afterward and putting special effects on my favorite photos from the event.

For all those hundreds or thousands of photos you took with film or slides, you aren’t out of luck when it comes to editing or special effects! Through BigStuf Video and MovieMe, you can take your “old fashioned” photos and turn them into digital images and then play with them on the computer ‘till your hearts content!

Think of all the fun you will have when you get your older images back in a digital format and turn them into collages, make some of them be sepia or black and white. Or how about my favorite… black and white with a splash of color! The memories you made will bring new emotions for you as you allow yourself to take those family photos out of a box and turn them into high resolution digital photos and start being creative with them.

I would suggest making a plan of action for converting your print images to digital jpg pictures.
Step 1: Go through your printed pictures and pick out all the ones you want to make sure you have available to pass down to your children or grand-children. Those are the ones you want to have converted to digital images.
Step 2: Decide if you want to simply convert all your photos at once or convert them on a project-by-project basis.
Step 3: Think of an upcoming birthday or anniversary and go through your photos to figure out which old photos would make the perfect gift.
Step 4: Make a calendar for your photo projects and when they each need to be finished. That way you have a visual to help keep you on track and not let another year go by and those pictures are still sitting in a box.
Step 5: Decide what kind of photo gifts you want to make for the different projects in step 4. (e.g.: collages, photo mugs, digital photo coffee table books, etc.)
Step 6: Once you get your photos converted to digital images, start with your first project and have a blast!

A few years ago, I started converting old family movies into digital movies. I remember giving a DVD to my grandfather and the videos of his mother’s 100th birthday party touched him so much, he couldn’t stop the tears. It made all the time I put into it well worth it. Memories fade over time and converting photos or old movies into digital copies can make those memories come to life again and will mean the world to your family members.
Have fun converting your old-fashioned photos into digital images and then turning them into fun things like blankets or calendars or slide show movies with your favorite songs. There are countless things you can do to your pictures once they are converted.
Of course, those of us with tens of thousands of digital images never end up printing them in the first place! I am working on the massive project of taking the digital photos of my children from the past ten years and deciding which ones to print and which ones to turn into fun gifts and poster sized prints.
Happy converting!

Julie has been a wedding and portrait photographer for the past 9 years. She loves being a mom to her two children and her miniature pom-chi puppy. Julie also has a long-time passion for writing and marketing.

Looking Forward into the Future

Like most people, I love having things to look forward to. I’m talking about the reasons we charge the batteries in our video camera. You know, the things that make the mundane weekdays seem brighter. I hear that my girls’ class will be leading Chapel on Friday, and I make arrangements to be there regardless of what I have to move around. Why? To capture this youth, this innocence, this love for my attention that five-year-olds seem to have endless amounts of. They are growing and learning and changing so fast. It’s hard to keep up.

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What keeps me charging the batteries, is knowing the dynamic will change all too soon. Suddenly the years will be upon me where my girls don’t think I’m the best thing since sliced bread. They won’t want Mommy to see everything or be everywhere. These precious years where Daddy is King, I am the Queen and they are the Princesses will be over. It makes me sad to think about it.

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However, this Queen will have everything on record. I will have proof, and I will show them! The King and I can sit back years from now and watch the beauty that is five-years-old. We will watch the love and admiration our children have for us, and we will probably cry tears of joy. I am determined to have enough footage to last the entire teenage years and into the early twenties. For I know, by the age of 25…they will love us again.

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We may never again be the King and Queen, but we will be blessed to have our daughters admire us once more. And these memories that we are making now will help bridge that gap. Perhaps we will be lucky and our kids will admire us through adolescence, but if our girls follow the status quo…I will be ready. Looking forward is what good parents do, but I remind you as I remind myself…take the time to enjoy what is going on now. Five-years-old will never happen again. Be sure to grab it and embrace it as it flies by.

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Creative Client Movie Examples

Securing memories is not only limited to birthdays and anniversaries…here are some creative ideas clients have requested in recent months:

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  • Anniversaries are a fun time to pull the memories together on how you met, dating life, marriage and kids. A recent client went a step further and dreamed of what his grandkids future reality might be like. See clip http://vimeo.com/60035885 (music removed)

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  • Another client found several slide carousels of when their family took a trip across the nation in 1964. Fun to see the types of cars, outfits worn and what Disneyland looked like back then.

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  • Recently a client was going to NYC and wanted DVDs of her daughter’s acting/singing/dancing career to hand out to prospective clients. See clip http://vimeo.com/60036103

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  • The storyline for this particular movie was a Mom, who put a movie together of all the special moments between their Dad and their sons. She had her boys introduce each section. A creative idea instead of just using title slides.

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Another client had several Videotapes converted with us and wanted just their son’s football game pulled out and several copies made for family. You don’t have to be extensive and tell a life story, sometimes sharing the weekend moments is a gift in of itself.

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What unique story/moment would you put together?

Purses build Water Wells

A couple of weekends ago, I had the special opportunity to take part in a Purse Auction. The Purse Auction was held to raise money to build water wells. The ministry, http://www.WidowsMiteExperience.com, was formed back in 2004 and to date has funded over 400 wells and water projects. I’ve been to auctions before but never a purse auction. I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was held at my pseudo “Mother-in-Law’s” club. I preface her title because she is actually my husband’s former Mother-in-Law. We are all blessed to call each other family.

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Back to the auction….I was asked to be a table host and invite 10 of my girlfriends. I was so overwhelmed with work I had only one girlfriend coming to the event and she eventually had to cancel. I was tempted to just send our donation but my husband said it was time for “smiling and dialing!” In all my sales years, I had never heard that phrase. haha Before I knew it I had 11 girls signed up. Each of them sounded intrigued and it was a fun excuse to see each other.

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Each table host was encouraged to decorate their purse as a centerpiece and include gift certificates. Here’s a shot of our centerpiece:

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My girlfriend, Dolores, is what bling is to jewelry. She blings with flowers and staging. She took a picture off my refrigerator, put it in a frame, grabbed my camera and video camera and there you have my stepdaughter topping off the purse in a beautiful way. You could bring a purse ‘gently used’ or knock off name brand purses, both of which sold very well. On a side note, my husband and I had decided to give a certain amount to this ministry before we knew about this auction. Since I had invited some girlfriends still in college and did not expect them to participate heavily in the auction, I came up with an idea. What if I spread our donation equally among the table? This allowed each friend to take part in the auction without the risk of spending outside their giving ability. It was so much fun to have an active bidding table! We were either raising the bidding in the room or my friends were winning purses.

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During the bidding, we were reminded that mothers have no choice but to give their babies dirty water in a bottle due to the lack of clean running water. Nothing like a little motivation! How heart breaking, right?

We found out soon after the event, the Purse Auction raised over $21,000, which will build 10 wells, servicing about 10,000 people. Thanks to my girlfriend, Melinda Denison, for the pictures, a small montage was put together to try and capture the spirit of the day. The song “Come Believe” was actually written for this ministry by Amy Dowell with music by Chris Stanley.

Do you have a non-profit organization? Capture your fundraising events through pics/video clips and continue the message online to spread awareness. It was a privilege and an honor to take part in this Auction!

Photograph Faux Pas

By: Wendy Reynolds, our favorite guest blogger!

I would like to thank my 5-year-old for giving me blogging inspiration; however, I sure wasn’t thanking her at the time. That being said, I have learned a valuable lesson about the display of important photographs. Most of the photos of my girls from birth to present are housed on some type of electronic storage device. But mixed in-between my digital documentaries are the professional photos we have purchased through the years. A particular favorite session of mine was when the girls were 9 months old. They were old enough to sit up, so it made life easier for the photographer. We got some adorable shots of the girls sitting in a small white bathtub together. Where would you think it is appropriate to display photos of your children in the bathtub? Well, in the bathroom of course. Do you see where this is going?

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Last night, I was loading the dishwasher after dinner, and my other 5-year-old walked into the kitchen carrying one of my favorite framed bath tub photos. She said, “Look what sissy did to the picture, Mommy!” I immediately grabbed it from her and realized it was covered in water. And it was covered in enough water that it had seeped into the frame. And it had been long enough that the photo was now stuck to the glass. Anyone who has experienced this before knows what happens when you try to peel the photo from the glass. It is not a pretty picture…literally. I was so upset. This is one of the sessions where I did not splurge for the full disc of pictures with rights to the photos. We were a one-income household at that point, and having pictures at all was considered a luxury.

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So, being the “quick-to-freak-out-slow-to-think-of-consequences” person that I am, I marched over to the bathroom to give “sissy” a piece of my mind. Her little eyes were like saucers as I approached her…already on my rampage about how important this photo was to me and how now it is ruined! She dropped the plastic tea pot (clearly the destructive device) into the sink, and ran to her room for cover. She was upset because she upset Mommy. Then I was upset because I upset her. And the tattling sissy was upset because we were both upset. My husband was upset with me because (from his point of view) this was MY fault. I was the one to put the photo on the bathroom counter in a KIDS bathroom. What did I expect? The only family member not upset at this point was the dog.

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I went back to my dishes in the kitchen so I could stew in peace. Once I settled down, I quietly took the picture and frame into my closet. I have decided not to try and take it out of the frame. I just hope the spot covering the bottom left quarter of the photo doesn’t get any worse. And I guess it won’t since I took it out of the bathroom! Moral of the story…if the bathroom is ventilated from shower steam, it is fine to hang pictures on the wall. However, if the counter is small and/or used by anyone below the age of 21…do NOT place your favorite photos on the counter. No matter how tempting. One day I will personally thank my daughter for this valuable lesson, but for now I think I owe her at least one more day of the “evil eye.”

If you’d like to personally follow Wendy, click below:

www.preventivedoublemastectomy.wordpress.com

Convert and Create your Memories

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Last week we posted our first MovieMe commercial. Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment or a thumbs up!

http://youtu.be/D8F136maYBk

It was an amazing experience to work with http://www.actorboy.biz – Tom Clark. Not only does Tom have a production company but he has acted in several movies:

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We’ve also been blessed using his service to narrate our movies. It’s really special to add narration on Celebration of Life movies when sharing the story about a loved one.

In June 2009, my husband and I made a decision for me to retire from my 20 year career. It was a decision I embraced and looked forward to contributing more to our family. Part of the contribution was securing our life events both with video and pictures. Initially, videotaping and photographing sporting events was just fun and my only New Year’s Resolution  was to capture as many memories as I could in a year.  I soon refined what I captured down to highlights, and eventually added music.

As my hobby grew, I asked friends for opportunities to make movies for them. It grew into doing more and more Movie projects until my friends of friends circle became strangers requesting a Movie. I was beyond thrilled because deep down under all the Hazardous Waste knowledge was a passion for putting someone’s story together in a beautiful unique way.

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It’s more than a montage…I spend time finding the right song, lining up the words to help tell the story and ordering the pictures and video clips to maximize the emotional impact. In the Hazardous Waste industry, a typical phone call was demanding. Today a typical phone call is appreciation and tears. That part took some getting used to but now I see how putting pictures and video clips to the right kind of music at the right time can make a huge emotional impact.

This service is not for everyone but if you don’t have the time or not the type to create a movie on your own, we’d love to hear your story and make it come alive for you. The beauty of this new found career is I’m still at home and allows me to be committed to our initial family goal. A book that helped me navigate this next stage of life was called Quitter by Jon Acuff…good read.

In addition to making movies, I have formed a partnership with http://www.BigStufVideo.com. This partnership allows us to convert your VHS tapes, videotapes, 8mm film all to DVDs. Now all under one roof is the ability to Convert and Create your memories.

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We appreciate the support and love we have seen over these past two years. Let us roll out the red carpet for you and make your memories come alive!

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