Halloween Costume Photos

I borrowed a wonderful tip from Thea at Organized Living Essentials where she suggested doing a Pre-Halloween Dress Rehearsal for the kids costumes. That way you could take a few photos before the hectic Trick or Treat evening. I decided to try this for several reasons:

-My kids costumes are really bulky this year and trying to get them to sit still for pictures and go right into Trick or Treating would be ridiculous.

-I decided to photograph them individually to get more photos and if they were both in costume at the same time, this would have been impossible!

-Now I can post the pics on the blog and facebook as well as email them to all the grandparents before Halloween is over. Then everyone is more in the mood and I make sure everyone gets to see the pics in a timely manner. Believe me, as much as I love Halloween, as soon as it’s over, I immediately throw all decorations and costumes back in their bins! So it helps to already have the pictures taken care of.

-I can just enjoy watching them trick or treat and not worry about getting the perfect costume picture when they are so distracted.

-Inevitably before any big photo event, whether it’s birthday’s, pics with Santa, etc, someone will spill juice all over themselves, or get a horrific runny nose, or fall and end up with a giant red bump on their forehead. I’m not sure which will happen tonight, but I’m not going to worry about it because I’ve already got the pictures!

The one thing I didn’t do was make a sign that says ‘2012’ because, well, I forgot. Maybe I’ll make a quick one and snap one more pic tonight.

Here are a couple of the results. Thanks for the idea Thea!

And one from our small town Halloween Party we went to:

Happy Halloween everyone!

~Erin

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Quick Halloween Pic Banner

I wanted a cute was to display the kids Halloween costumes through the years so I decided to make a little Costume Photo Banner to hang up in October. I had just created my ‘Halloween Through the Years’ photo album with my favorite pics from the holiday each year. But I wanted to have 1 photo from each year which was actually hung up for everyone to see.
This was a really easy project that only required a few items:

-Photos

-Scrapbook Paper

-Tape

-Yarn

-Hole Punch

I printed 1 4″ x 6″ photo from each of the past 5 years (please note that our son is only 3 so the first 2 years photos are of our dog in costume). Then I rounded the corners so they would look a little more ‘finished’.

I cut out 5″ x 7″ pieces of scrapbook paper and rounded the corners of those as well. Then I taped the photos to the scrapbook paper and punched 2 holes in the top of each.

Then I just took the yarn and threaded it through the holes and taped the whole thing on our entertainment center.

I hung it up with tape and I didn’t tie the string at either end so it will be easy to add another photo. When I run out of room in  of, I’ll just get another piece of string. So easy and so cute. It’s a great way to look back at the costumes over the years.

I love easy projects!

~Erin

Halloween ‘Through the Years’ Photo Album

Like most people, every year I take photos of the kids in costumes, the pumpkins we carve, decorations, etc. And for years, those photos have been on my computer or, at best, in the ‘yearly’ scrapbook or photo album. This year, I decided to make a Halloween specific album where I can chronicle the holiday through the years in one album. I actually already do this for Christmas. I have a photo album where I put my favorite Christmas pictures each year that I store with my Christmas decorations. So, the Halloween photo album project was born!

I chose my favorites from each year and had them printed. Then I bought a plain black photo album.

Instead of just putting the photos in the album, I wanted to spice it up a little. I decided to make 4″ x 6″ inserts for the album that say the year the pictures were from. I used the Halloween fonts I found during my ‘Halloween Folder’ project, which you can read about here.

As I started putting the photos in, I realized I wanted the new years to start on a new page of the album, but that meant there would sometimes be leftover spaces with no photo. So I started making additional inserts with some info about that particular year, such as:

‘First Halloween in Colorado’ or ‘Evan’s First Pumpkin Carving’

Then I started switching up the colors so pretty soon I had a handful of pictures, but another handful of inserts in various fonts and colors.

I just used Powerpoint to create all of the inserts and then I created one more for the cover of the album.

Now I have a cute album that I can add to every year and watch how we all change from one Halloween to the next. It’s also a great conversation piece to have out in October and share with family and friends.

~Erin

Vacay Photos – What do I do with all of these???

After every vacation, I upload all of the pics I took onto my camera and start the arduous process of weeding through them. Usually as I do this, I think “why in the WORLD did I take 14 pictures of that tree?” or ” What was POSSIBLY so interesting about that sign?” I guess that’s the simultaneous blessing and curse of the digital camera. Endless picture possibilities. So I’ve had to come up with a system for going through all of these. Here’s a breakdown:

-First off, for this trip, we were visiting family so before we left, I downloaded all of the pictures from my in-law’s cameras so I had ALL our pics. You never know who is going to get the picture where both kids are actually smiling!

There it is!!!

-Then I put all of the pictures in a folder and look through them quickly and delete any obvious no-nos, such as blurry pics or the one where I’m making some crazy face.

-For bigger vacations or events, I then break them down into smaller folders. For this vacation, I broke them down into folders such as swimming, aquarium, Florida visit, family and misc. There are 2 reasons for doing this. 1) When I get pics from other cameras as well as mine, they are all out of order, so I have to group them somehow and 2) If I can’t go through all pics at once, then at least it’s broken down into manageable sections.

-Then I go through and do a second round of deleting. Once you have deleted the no-brainers in the first round, it is easier to look at each picture with a more critical eye and just keep the good ones.

-Then I name them all. I always put the event name, year and month in the title so all my title have this format: ‘Georgia 2012 July.’ This helps me if I am doing a search for a certain picture and also, if I email pictures to anyone, they know exactly where it’s from.

-Then I upload the best ones to my Phanfare site as an extra backup and also so I can share them with friends and family!

Ta Da!

Here are just a couple of my favorites!

Now, keep in mind that my tips are nothing new. Obviously you delete the bad pictures and it’s helpful to name the photos by the event and date. However, this is also a project that can get put off for years. So I’m writing this post as a reminder that if you organize your pictures regularly, it will be a lot easier to share them, look back at them, make prints and love them!

~Erin

Things I Love Thursdays – Say Cheese!

This week I’m going to talk about one of my favorite things ever….my camera. I know what you’re thinking….”everyone has a camera, how is that an original idea?’ But I just have to mention the reasons why I love it so much and one of them is very pertinent to what is going on in my life right now.

-First off, I love it for all of the reasons most people love their cameras – photos of my family and friends. I am marginally obsessed with taking pictures. Now I am NOT a photographer, I just love taking pictures of pretty much anything. And I do like to pretend I’m a photographer every once in a while and try to get crafty with my shots. I actually look at my pictures all the time. I try to print them, but I also keep them on my computer and I go through them a lot. I also upload them to a photo site so I can share them with friends and family.

-Reason Two! I also take pictures of things I want to have the memory of, but don’t want to keep. Case in point…I do crafts with my son all the time, but do I really need to keep every finger painting, pipe cleaner animal and sticker chart? No. So I keep my very favorites and take pictures of the rest. Well, I actually take pictures of all of them, but that allows me to be very picky with the ones I keep. He is the cutest little artist. Look at this masterpiece!

-Third Reason: I try to always keep a camera with me just in case I really need it. Here are some scenarios I’ve come up with in my mind. If I get in a fender bender, I might want to document possible damage to one of the cars. If I happen to see a bear or some other fleeting wildlife scenario, I want to be able to capture it on film. Here’s an example:

My husband and I were on a drive and all of a sudden we came upon 11 deer, all bucks, in a field. Now we have a lot of deer in our area, but to see 11 big Bucks is pretty rare for us. It’s not the best shot, but I’m so glad I had my camera!

-Fourth Reason: Photos are a great way to take inventory of your home and possessions. Right now, we are plagued by wildfires in Colorado. I am not currently in danger of being evacuated, but I have friends who have been. We actually are watching 2 dogs that belong to a Colorado Springs police officer (who we have never met!) because his home is evacuated and he is working in the Springs. We also had friends stay with us last night. There have been almost 350 homes lost in this fire in the last several days and this was clearly completely unexpected. Here is a shot my husband took from the town next to us:

It’s incredibly sad and my heart goes out to all of the families who have lost their homes. Right now, we are doing things at our house to prepare in case we might have to evacuate for any reason. One of the best things you can do to prepare is to inventory what you have. It literally takes 5 minutes to walk through your house and snap photos of every room, closet, appliance and valuable. You might be thinking that you are not in danger of a wildfire. But what about house fire, floods, burglary? You never know what kind of situation will come up so it’s best to be prepared. And you know what else? My house is quite a mess right now. The organization bug in me wanted to clean the whole house before I took pictures, but then I realized these pics are not for the masses. They are only for documentation. Once I got over that hurdle, I was able to quickly snap photos of every room so I always know exactly what I have. I plan on redoing this every year and I’m uploading them to my photo site so that I can access the ‘Home Inventory’ album from anywhere at any time.

Please take 4-5 minutes and walk through your home with a camera. Snap photos of each room and inside each closet and cabinet. Then download them into a file and back the file up. This could save you a ton of time, money and sanity if something should happen to your home. They don’t have to be pretty or even good, just take the photos!

I don’t want to leave you with that, so I’ll just leave you with a couple of my favorite photos from the last couple years:

Stay Safe!

~Erin

Copy of a Copy

I am borderline paranoid about losing my digital pictures. Seriously….I have them on my computer, I print them, I have a backup drive, and I upload them to a photo site. I know it’s good to backup your digital photos, but I might, just might, take it to an extreme. However, I do think it’s smart to consider various options when backing up photos and to have them in at least 2-3 places. Here are some of the things I do in more detail:

-Leave them on my computer

Now a lot of people leave photos on their computer because that’s where they download them and stay in the dubious ‘To Sort’ Folder. However, I know that those ‘To Sort’ folders are often never sorted or gone through. I absolutely love looking at my pictures so they are kind of ridiculously organized. Here’s the breakdown:

~By Year

~Within Each year, I have the following categories: Animals, Events, Hanging Out, Holidays and Birthdays, Misc, and Vacations

~Then I break things down by either month or event.

Some people might not like to leave organized folders of their pictures on their computer because they take up so much space. However, I have a decent amount of memory space on my computer and I am constantly going through old pictures, making prints, etc so I like to have them on there.

Copy them to a back up Hard Drive

I try to back up my entire computer once a month so I have an updated back up file. I don’t always make it on time, but I’m pretty good about it. I use the ‘WD My Passport’ and I love it. It is easy to use, there are version for PC and Mac, and mine has a Terabyte of storage. It was not long ago that if you said the word Terabyte to me, this is what would come to mind:

However, that is a Trilobite. Yes, a Trilobite. Not Terabyte. A Terabyte is 1000 Gigabytes. So I have a lot of storage for my pictures and files.

Upload them to a photo site

I try to upload all of my favorite pictures and any I might want to share to a photo site. I use Phanfare. Again, it is easy to navigate, with my subscription I get unlimited storage, and the albums are nice looking and customizable. It does cost $99/ year so it’s not for everyone. However, not only do I get unlimited storage, but when I share the albums with my friends and family, they can download the hi res version of any of the photos for free. You can also add music to your album slideshows and order prints, books and gifts right from the site.

However, there are lot of free upload sites too, like Shutterfly and Flickr. They also have a lot of features, I just like the fact that, on Phanfare, all of my photos are hi resolution.

Print them

How old fashioned of me!!! Yes, I like actual, hold-them-in-my-hand prints. I like to scrapbook, but I’m about 5 years behind so I really just have boxes of prints. That is an organization project and post in the making. Keep an eye out for it!

Other than the standard prints though, I LOVE photo books. I use Blurb photo books because there are so many customizations, but again, there are a ton of sites that offer photo book design.

These books are great keepsakes, but you can also bet the farm that at least one person I know will get one of these as a gift every year. Is that cheating, to essentially give the same gift every year? I don’t think so!

Ok, so those are the main ways I back up my pictures. I also email them to people and send prints so that other people have copies. And I usually leave the pics on my camera until I’ve at least done a back up on the hard drive. So it might be overkill on the copy of the copy, but it helps me sleep at night! How do you back up and preserve your photos?

~Erin