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Tag: family photos

A Poem for Dads on Mother’s Day

Photo collages are ideal for creating the perfect holiday card. Here’s how to do it all at home with a poem for easy reference.

What have you been doing with those thousands of family photos you’ve collected over the past years? Posting a few on Instagram or Facebook? That’s great. But what about all of the others?

Well, you can create annual photo books that will capture hundreds of your favorite photos. Those photo books should last through the century (actual mileage may vary). But that’s always a huge project to pull off.

Tackling a smaller version where you’re collecting only 15-20 images is clearly more manageable. How about applying that towards a “photo collage?!”
(Light bulb moment)

Photo collages are perfect for holidays or any occasion to give a physical card.

You just load your photos into a template. (Lots of photo websites like Shutterfly offer this.) You can pay them to print your card, or you can take a screenshot and instantly print out the photo collage card yourself. (That’s what I do.)

In honor of all mothers (and one in particular), here’s my little poem for fathers that doubles as an emergency instruction manual.

Instructions for Fathers on Mother’s Day

That day has arrived
When dads should applaud

With a pile of gifts
Though we are so flawed

But time is fleeting
Delays mute your plans

Amazon is late
Your wish is now sans

You are on your own
Just laptop and pics

A photo collage
That could be the fix

The story is there
For you to now share

You’ve got the photos
For you to declare

Websites will help you
To do this cool trick

Just load it all in
A template is slick

Then print out your card
It’s easy as pie

You’re back in the game
It’s okay to cry

Stuff doesn’t matter
It’s the life you share

Your collage reflects
Each day that you care

Say Happy Mom’s Day
For all that you are

This photo collage
Shows you are my star

How to Decide which Lifetouch School Picture Package is Best for You

Buying School Picture Day photos doesn’t have to feel complicated. Here’s how I determined what to order…

Our son is in fifth grade, and I’ve been faithfully ordering Lifetouch School Picture Day photos for years. Each time, I pledge to only buy what I really need. Invariably, I realize there are compromises to be made that have necessarily increased the price point. This year is no different. But this time, I think I got it right.

At the end of the day, all I really want is a digital file of my boy’s school portrait. I can then print additional photos at home. I don’t need Lifetouch’s more expensive prints. (Although I do understand that’s the foundation of its business model.)

Also, the photo’s background needs to reflect that this is a school photo and display my son’s elementary school grade. Otherwise, it’s really just another generic posed photo which holds little value for me. The photo has to clearly be his school photo. (I’ve got plenty others.)

If you have a similar perspective, here are my suggestions on how to get the best deal when ordering your Lifetouch photos (assuming there’s still a school picture day scheduled in your neck of the woods during this year so affected by COVID-19).

Order the Basic Package
I really don’t want all of the extra prints that are part of the more expensive packages. (A few prints are just fine.)

I’m looking for the one digital file with the correct background. (And my son’s class photo would be nice too.)

The good news is the Basic Package gives you:

  • 1 8×10
  • 2 5×7
  • the class picture (size unknown)
  • and the digital file! (available as a download via Shutterfly)

All that costs $14.99.
(That’s a much better price point than the forty bucks I’ve been spending in previous years.)

BUT…

You only get access to the generic background with the Basic Package.

Then, Add to the Basic Package
There is a workaround, but it’s an analog solution…
(shudder)

You can add on an extra printed photo to your package and then choose the background you really want for that additional print.

The next step is to simply digitize this physical photo when it shows up. (Scan it or take a picture of the picture.)

Then, you’ve finally got what you wanted in the first place. No, your digital copy won’t look as perfect as the original photo file, but if you order an 8×10, your scanned version should be fine for most uses.

And the price for that extra 8×10?

  • $14.99

So add that to the original $14.99 Basic Package for a new new total of $29.98 (plus tax).

Consider the Plus Package
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of MacGyvering your purchase to save money, your next choice is to go with the Plus Package for $44.99. That officially unlocks the option to choose your own background(s), and it also provides a whole lot more prints that you may or may not want. (In this smartphone age, does anyone even use 2×3 wallet photos anymore?)
Here’s what you get:

  • 1 -8×10
  • 4 -5×7
  • 2- 3×5
  • 8 -2×3 Wallets
  • the class picture
  • and the digital images via Shutterfly

Plus, you get the name and grade on all prints and basic retouching.
(I’d already have the grade as part of the background. As for the photo-retouching… I think that’s unnecessary for kids.)

Barrett’s 2020 Lifetouch School Picture Day Purchase
There are a couple of other packages that offer additional combinations of physical prints, but that didn’t move the needle for me.

I kept my focus on Basic vs. Plus. And it boiled down to this:

  • Spend $15 more for the Plus Package to easily choose your photo backgrounds (and get more prints)
  • Or keep it ‘Basic’ and order the extra 8×10 print with the right background. And then scan that print.

I took a look at my past purchases, and I’ve always gone Plus.

But I have a confession to make. I have a cabinet at home filled with photos that have yet to find a final destination (album or frame). In it, there’s a folder containing years of Lifetouch prints I’ve never used. There were just too many. It’s a painful reminder that I never needed all of those photos in the Plus plans.

Sure, spending a little more for the Plus Package provides all of the ordering flexibility you’ll want. But if you don’t use what you buy, that’s not good value.

So, I decided to keep it basic this year:

  • The Basic Plan for $14.99
  • Plus the extra 8×10 print for another $14.99 with the background that says 5th Grade

Click.

Buy What You Need
Future Barrett might laugh at me for going through all of this effort to save $15. But Future Barrett might also nod approvingly at my ability to finally get the equation right for my actual needs.

I think that’s called progress.

One Way to Help You Reflect on the Past Decade

Happy New Decade

Have you taken a moment to think about your last ten years? What’s the story? Here is one technique to help figure it out.

Life always seems to have a way of moving so quickly. Like me, I’m sure that you’d sometimes like to slow it down to take a breath and reflect.

The good news is the end of every year is always the traditional time when you’re encouraged to look back at the past twelve months. That could take the form of a champagne toast or creating a photo book or even a cloud digital photo album to encapsulate the story of your past year.

But how should anyone begin to look back and gain a real understanding of their past decade? That’s a much bigger psychological exercise. Of course, anyone can easily pick out significant life events like marriage and kids being born, but those consist of just a few days over the course of several thousand.

Do you recall what was going on during most of those other days? Of course not. So how then are you supposed to begin putting together a point of view on this much bigger chunk of your life?

Well, here’s one tactic that I’ve used.

Photo Review
Simply take a couple of hours and walk down memory lane with your digital photo collection.

I mean really dig in.
My decade in 14 seconds
If it’s in any semblance of order, you should be able to expose yourself to a good percentage of your past decade’s activities that warranted a photo. Not that you can’t remember some of this on your own, but this exercise can really help to shake the branches on those ‘second-tier’ memories that also added to your overall experience from the decade.

Finding the Meaning
But here comes the hard part.

Which photos represent the pieces of your life that really tell your story? And which story are you actually trying to figure out? (Everyone’s life contains multiple stories.)

At this point, I recommend not stressing over the impulse to answer these questions. Simply enjoy the visual echoes from your past. Refresh your mind.

A New Photo Collection
That’s the gift to give yourself as you approach the end of the decade. How you process it is entirely an individual experience.

You can also throw the digital pics that stood out to you into a new folder on your computer. This specific collection can be for your eyes only, or if you choose, you can share them with your family and friends.

Remember
No, most lives are not neatly organized into ten-year chapters. So, looking to tie it all up in a bow is an entirely flawed exercise.

Still, this is one way to help remain present in living your life today, because you’ve got a better handle on your past through this little photo project refresher.

And if you happen to get a new photo collage out of the exercise, that always a bonus!

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