DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography

An Investment in Digital Memory Keeping

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – THE BEST PLACE TO STORE YOUR IMAGES

Who is Forever and Why Have I Never Heard of Them?

I have one very important thing I need to tell you and I need you to think seriously about it. If you aren’t paying for your photo storage, then someone is and you are the product. Even if you do pay for your storage, you probably have no idea what terms you acknowledged when you signed up and as soon as you stop paying, your photos will disappear.

I can hear you out there and you aren’t happy. You want to tell me why I am wrong. That’s OK. You’re thinking:

  • “I pay a lot for my iPhone/Android and this is one of my benefits.”
  • “I pay to store everything on the Cloud.”
  • “I pay for my photo prints/digital photobooks from Snapfish/Shutterfly/Mixbook/Mpix/Etc., so it’s not free.”
  • “Me and all my friends share photos on Google Photos/Drive and we’ve never had a problem.”
  • “I have a Prime account with Amazon, so I know you are way off base.”
  • “Well, I use Dropbox, so there!”
  • “I copied and pasted one of those announcements on my feed about Facebook not being able to use my photos.”

I hear you and I used to be just like you. In fact, I have lot of photos on my Android phone. I have two Dropbox accounts. I use Google Drive in my business and have shared on Google Photos. I have photos scattered across several photo printing sites. However, I haven’t fallen for the copy and paste stuff on Facebook.

Now, I have a question for you. Did you actually read the terms of the agreement you approved when you turned your photos over to whoever has them?

  • Did you give them permission to mine your photos for marketing purposes?
  • Can they sell your photos to third parties as stock photos?
  • Did they warn you they carried no responsibility if your photos disappeared?
  • Did they tell you they could compress and/or reformat your photos?
  • Did they tell you when you died your account would no longer exist?
  • Did they tell you they had the right to delete your photos whenever they so desired?
  • Did you read the part which explains when your photos become their property?
  • Do you know what will happen to your photos if they start charging for their storage and you don’t pay?

I could go on, but I think you are beginning to understand the problem. Now you are ready to consider Forever:

https://www.forever.com/ambassador/jane-sadek/preserve-and-share

It’s simple. If you aren’t paying for your storage with money, then you are the product. If you are paying for your storage with anyone one else besides Forever, you (or someone) is going to have to pay for it month by month or year by year from now on.

Only with Forever do you pay once and own your storage space. Only with Forever are your photos safe for your life, plus 100 years, guaranteed. Only with Forever can you be sure your photos won’t lead to advertising you didn’t want. Only with Forever can you be sure your photos won’t end up being used for marketing or on some stock photo site without your knowledge and to someone else’s benefit. Only with Forever can you set up a succession plan past your own lifetime.

In simple terms, the rest of those guys have set up their companies to turn a profit for their shareholders. That’s who they are responsible to, not you. Forever is set up completely different. They use the model of an insurance company rather than like those other photo companies. When you pay for your storage with Forever, most of your money goes into a fund to provide photo storage into perpetuity, not to the bottom line to satisfy their shareholders.

Forever has a lot of other services and they are happy for you to pay them for digitizing your physical images, printing photos, coffee mugs and other products, as well as selling photo photobooks. They’ll gladly pocket the profit of these activities, but if you buy storage from them, then you’ve purchased the best digital photo storage in the world and no one will ever have to pay another penny for it.

If you hadn’t heard of Forever until you read this post, that’s because they don’t have a marketing budget like the rest of those guys. They are sold strictly by network marketing. If you’re interested, I’d love to tell you more, including all the ways to save money on Forever products.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

That’s Too Expensive!

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – THE VALUE OF MEMORY KEEPING VS THE COST OF YOUR MESS

What Are Your Memories Worth?

Let’s talk worst case scenarios. Your house has burned down. Your family and your pets are safe, but everything you had is smoke and ash. You are grateful beyond measure to be able to hug your kids, but in the days to come, it’s not the new sofa or your smart TV you’ll regret losing most. It will be that box of photos under the bed.

While there are many families who face this scenario and other tragedies every day, I’ll agree with you, you’re odds are good. You probably won’t be a victim of a worst case scenario. You’ll probably go on living with your mess for decades to come. Along the way you may toss out those slides and home movies, because you don’t even have the equipment to access them anymore. You promise yourself someday you’re going to go through the photos in the box under the bed or in your phone, someday.

The real deal is most people don’t. They kick the can down the road until they retire, until they have more time, until they have more money, until the kids move out, until they hand the mess over to their kids or until they are dead and the mess is someone else’s problem. I have a challenge for you. If these photos and memorabilia aren’t important to you and you’re never going to do anything with them anyway, why not just throw them away or delete them now. Oh, you’re still with me, huh?

I know you have the best of intentions, but the tyranny of the urgent has a way of keeping us from addressing what is important to us. And then, too often, it’s too late. Your kids are looking for a decent picture of you on their phones, because the funeral is in a couple of days and they need a photo to put in the program.

Now, let’s talk best case scenarios. There was no fire, you have no mess and your memories are totally curated, tagged, captioned and safe for generations to come. Can you actually put a dollar amount on what that would be worth to you and to your family? The price of a vacation, of a boat, of your Starbuck’s habit, of a bigger TV, newer phone? You’re probably thinking nothing is more valuable than your memories, but you might still be reluctant to do anything about your mess.

Turning your mess into safe, shareable memories isn’t something that can happen overnight, but it can happen and it can happen more quickly than you might realize. However, it’s probably going to cost more than you want it to, in both time and money. Heck, these days everything costs more than you want it to and it usually takes longer than you want. When it comes to your mess the longer you wait, the longer it will take and the more it will cost.

What’s It Going to Be – Time or Money?

If you’d like to defeat the tyranny of the urgent and start doing something about what’s important, let’s do something about your mess. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. There’s a sliding scale between time and money. The faster you want it, the more money it will cost. The more of your time you’re willing to invest, the less money it will take.

If spending money is the least painful solution, I’ll curate your mess it for $15 an hour and put it in the format of your choice for as little as $500 an album (an album is 24 two-sided pages). If you’re going digital, then you’ll need to also purchase storage, but I have a permanent solution you’ll love.

If you’d rather do it yourself, just because you want to, or to save some money, then get ready to start sorting. That’s where it all starts, whether I do it or you do. Starting is free. I’ll be happy to give you lots of free advice, too. Like don’t buy fancy sorting equipment. Nothing works better than Ziplocks and shopping bags – and if you don’t have any, you can borrow some of mine.

You can spend a fortune on memory keeping tools and supplies, whether you’re going digital or you prefer more traditional solutions, but it is worth every penny. Believe me, I know. Ask my husband how much money I’ve spent creating these scrapbooks to hold all our memories. If you really want to get him going, ask him how much profit I’m making in this campaign to preserve your memories. But be warned, you might make him cry. He’s figured out I do this for love, not money. It’s my passion. In the end, all we have left are our memories or a mess. I don’t want you or your family to be stuck with a mess.

Next week, I’m going to explain help you decide whether you want your memory keeping to be a hobby, a craft or a service you buy from someone else.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

Digital or Traditional or Both

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – WHO ARE YOU DOING IT FOR?

Finding Your Who

What you have and what you want are important considerations for anyone tackling the job of preserving memories. Your time and money budget is a huge factor, too. However, the most important thing to think about as you plan your memory keeping activities is your target audience.

None of us are alike when it comes to the motivation for our memory keeping. Some just want to capture their child’s life to share when they are older. Others are heritage hunters who are tracing their family lines to other places or other times. People who are grieving often want to capture the memories of someone they have lost. There are also those who are looking into the far future, past anyone who is alive today, to someone they will never know, who might wonder about the past. These are just a few examples. Think about what motivates you and then let’s talk about what format would be best suited to your project.

Some of the most faithful Memory Keepers are like me. We preserve our memories for ourselves. There are no kids, grandkids or great grandkids we are doing this for. We are not famous or even infamous. We just enjoy our lives and treasure those we love, the places we’ve been to and the things we’ve done. We only have to suit ourselves.

Explore the Options

Memory keeping should never be a chore, so while your eventual audience is a factor, it’s not the only thing to consider. Whatever format you choose, you should enjoy doing it or you should find someone to do it for you. The one thing you should not do is leave your mess under the bed or floating around unorganized on your phone. My job is to help you get from your mess, to wherever you want to go.

There’s a very simple reason I prefer traditional scrapbooking. My husband and I run a real estate photography business. He’s the photographer and I do everything else. A whole lot of the everything else part is shuffling photos around my computer and the internet. I’ve tried digital scrapbooking, but it’s far too much like my day job. If digital scrapbooking were my only option, I too would just have a mess rather than shelves of completed albums I dearly treasure.

Example of scrapbooking

I am of the mindset that getting it done is more important than the way you do it and I know, whichever method you use, there are conversion options. I want to see people enjoying their memories and sharing them with others. If, like me, you’d enjoy crafting traditional scrapbooks, then that’s your answer. Create beautiful albums you’ll look at frequently and share them with others. If, at the same time, you think your target audience would prefer digital, don’t feel guilty about working in a format you enjoy. Do the scrapbooks traditionally and then digitize them. I can show you how.

If all the stuff that comes with traditional scrapbooking gives you the heebie geebies and makes you want to hug a tree, then you are a digital memory keeper. There are a variety of ways to embrace paperless memory keeping. If you think digital is your way to go, then you still have a lot of decisions to make. From streamlined online-only albums without any decoration, to elaborately decorated digital pages, there are great tools out there for being a digital memory keeper. Once you’ve done your digital job, then you can easily share it all with anyone having internet access. If any of those people would prefer something they can hold in their hand, then they have options they can pursue using the work you’ve completed for them.

And remember, if you know there’s no way you’re going to have the time, energy or desire to get this job done, regardless of the format, then you still don’t have to live with the mess or the guilt. One of my favorite things to do is take your mess and turn it into whatever memory keeping format you’d like to have. I love the excitement of finishing up one of my own albums and then paging through my completed project, but that’s nothing compared to the day I deliver a completed album. It’s the greatest feeling in the world for me and I’d love to do your album.

A Final Thought About Digital

In some ways, my passion for traditional scrapbooking is out of touch with the times. It’s a craft I don’t think will ever disappear completely, but I confess the results can be burdensome. I have an entire wall of traditional scrapbooks. My husband complains about them all the time and my nieces and nephews, who will have to deal with what remains of my life when its over, will most likely throw my beloved albums away.

So, I have worked out a digital solution for the future. It will transcend any changes in technology, it will not cost a penny for future generations to maintain, it is guaranteed for generations to come and it is also guaranteed safe from those who should not have access to your information and images. It’s not any of those familiar names like Apple, Google, Amazon, Snapfish, Dropbox etc. and we should talk if that’s where your memories are stored.

In the future, I will talk more about my digital solution, but in case my post inspires you to do something online with your mess, I wanted to warn you away from uploading to these well-known sites without being aware of their lesser known consequences. Come back next week and we’ll talk about your investment in memory keeping vs. the price of your mess.