5 Reasons to be Thankful for Photos in 2019

5 Reasons to be Thankful for Photos in 2019

‘Tis the season to be thankful. As you gather together with family and friends to reflect on all you’re grateful for, do photos make your list? 

The continuing evolution of photos has dramatically changed the way we take, save, and share photos.

Our team at Picture This Organized made a list of five reasons to be thankful for photos. We hope these inspire you to create more photo memories this holiday season. (more…)

3 Ideas to Help You Organize and Preserve Your Favorite Holiday Recipes

3 Ideas to Help You Organize and Preserve Your Favorite Holiday Recipes

“Once you have mastered a technique, you hardly need look at a recipe again and can take off on your own.” Julia Child

That may have been true for Julia Child, but when it comes to our once-a-year, holiday family favorites, I need the recipe! And it’s not just about how to make the food, but also remembering the people and the stories behind each dish.

If you’re like me, you like to have all of your holiday recipes organized in one place, so it’s easy to find them.

By organizing and safekeeping our recipes, we can make sure future generations will be able to enjoy all our family favorites. As our families grow and begin to add new favorites that turn into holiday food traditions, we want to be sure and keep those recipes handy as well.

Some of our holiday recipes are handwritten on cards or paper. Others are on a dog-eared page inside an inherited cookbook. Nowadays, we also grab recipes from websites and receive them via texts on our phones. It can be challenging to keep everything centralized.

Here are some ways to document, preserve, and easily locate those important holiday recipes we want to make year after year. (more…)

Reimagine Your Family Holiday Card

Reimagine Your Family Holiday Card: Our 2018 Guide

November is here, and that means it’s time to start thinking about this year’s holiday card.

While we may receive a few embossed cards with an artful image on the front and a thoughtful sentiment inside, at least 75 percent of the cards we receive every year feature photos.

Looking at photos in our holiday cards keeps us connected to friends and family far away. We get to watch children grow and celebrate milestones like graduations and weddings that have happened over the previous year.

Because it’s fun to receive news and pictures from friends at the holidays, many of us also enjoy sending our own photo cards every year. But coordinating and executing that family photo card can add to the stress of preparing for the holiday season.

To help lighten the load, and throw some creative fun into the mix, we’ve created our 2018 Holiday Greeting Guide. Some of these ideas might just surprise you! (more…)

The 3 Keys to Enjoying Your Holiday Traditions

The 3 Keys to Enjoying Your Holiday Traditions

Holiday traditions are one of the best things about the upcoming festive season. We only get to enjoy most our holiday traditions once a year, which must be why we look forward to them so eagerly!

During the holiday season, I love watching my favorite Christmas movies with my family. I particularly love Elf, Christmas Vacation, and A Christmas Story!

I also love listening to Christmas carols while we bake cookies, and driving around my local neighborhoods on Christmas Eve, looking for over-the-top lights and decorations – the gaudier, the better!

In one of our previous posts, The Importance of Establishing and Documenting Family Traditions, we talked about how we lean on (and lean into) family traditions, especially around the holidays. Family traditions offer us comfort and safety, help us form our identities, give us long-lasting memories, and strengthen our family connections.

Family traditions are often fun and exciting! In this post, we’re going to give you some of our top tips for honoring and documenting your traditions this holiday season.

Including Food in Your Holiday Traditions

One tradition that has serious staying power is cooking and sharing food with family and friends. More often than not, gathering around the table (for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or late-night snacks) is included in most families’ holiday tradition list.

Sometime we get to dig into dishes and desserts that we only get to enjoy once a year (like the special green bean casserole your aunt makes every Christmas, or the incredible pumpkin pie your mom includes in the Thanksgiving meal every year).

The tradition of “holiday food” is important, because those recipes often represent our connections to our national heritage. For example, every year, Tom’s aunts send us cookies made with marzipan, which is a favorite of his German relatives.

Some dishes are family recipes passed down from generation to generation, and as recreate these dishes, it helps us honor our the relatives and say  “Thank you” to those who have come before us.

For many families, baking holiday cookies are an important part of their food-related traditions at this time of year.

In my family, we typically bake two or three varieties of cookies every December. When I was growing up, my mother honored this tradition, but didn’t really enjoy the process. Perhaps she didn’t enjoy it because she always chose to make gingerbread cookies, and as the dough got sticky, she’d add more flour. Because the dough got too tough to use, we never rolled-out cookies or made gingerbread houses!

Just like my mom, I never developed the patience for rolling out dough and decorating individual cookies, but we did buy pre-made dough so Tom and the kids could decorate cookies together.

Some of my friends gather every year for a full day holiday cookie bake-fest. They literally bake hundreds of cookies. I’m happy just to get a few dozen cookies made!

This holiday season, think about the ways that food fits into your family traditions, and make sure to document the cooking (and eating!) process.

Honoring Spiritual Beliefs During the Holidays

For some families, honoring spiritual traditions is an important part of their holiday celebrations.

In my family, our Christian faith is important to us, so celebrating Christmas wouldn’t be complete without attending church. Even if we are away from home and spending Christmas Day with one of our relatives, we always find a local church to attend.

What do your holiday spiritual traditions look like? Do you honor your faith during the holiday season, if you are religious?

Other spiritual traditions might include:

  • Advent celebrations with readings, candles, and chocolate calendars.
  • Lighting the menorah during Hanukkah.
  • Holding a Yule Log ceremony to celebrate the winter solstice.
  • Enjoying holiday music and movies that remind us of the significance of the season.
  • The simple acts of giving and serving.

Keeping the Traditions of Those We’ve Lost

Sometimes, we want to continue to honor holiday traditions that help us remember family members or friends who have passed away.

Here are some ideas to help honor and remember people we’ve lost:

  • Continue a tradition going that was near and dear to your loved one. Have a family member who loved caroling? Organize a group to carol in your neighborhood and sing some of that person’s favorite holiday songs.
  • Prepare your loved one’s favorite recipe, and share stories about that person while you’re eating the dish.
  • Display a loved one’s keepsake ornament, or holiday decor that has been handed down to you by that person.
  • Write a letter to your loved one during every holiday season, and keep the letters to hand down to the next generations. This practice might include putting these letters in an album.

Adding New Traditions to Your Holiday Routine

As our families grow and change, we may want to retire older traditions that are no longer practical or possible, and start some new ones. That’s completely okay! There’s no need to hang on to old traditions if they are no longer working.

Talk to your family about old traditions, and ask whether they’d like to add new traditions to the holiday festivities menu (both literally, and figuratively!)

We may not even realize we are creating a tradition until we repeat something a few times and everyone agrees, “Yes, let’s keep doing that!”

You can get ideas and suggestions for new holiday traditions, from Southern Living, SignUpGenius, and MyWedding (the last article is aimed at newlyweds, but there are great ideas on their list!)

When you’ve got a blended family, or your family includes in-laws and/or married children’s spouses, be aware that you’ll need to blend your family traditions to accommodate everyone’s needs and interests. You don’t need to look at this as a bad thing – these slightly more complex relationships can help us try new things and create different and special traditions!

The 3 Keys to Enjoying Successful Family Traditions

1. Be flexible. In our family, we try to keeping our focus on the most important part of our holiday tradition, which is being together, no matter where we are.

As our kids have grown up, moved away, and found significant others, we simply requested that we could be with at least one of the kids on the holidays, so we don’t have to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas without some immediate family around us. In many cases, this means Tom and I need to travel around the holidays, but that’s okay!

You may need to be flexible with your gift-giving, too, if that’s typically a part of your holiday traditions. As families grow into extended families and budgets are tight, consider different ways to exchange gifts: drawing names, buying personalized but inexpensive gifts, or giving charitable organizations in honor of a loved one.

2. Plan in advance. Anticipate where there may be problems or friction, and try to make plans to minimize or eliminate problems. For example, if you have a family member who wants to join in on a holiday tradition but can’t be present in person, plan to connect using technology (like Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom) so they can actually see and be part of the action! Planning in advance for this kind of tech-enabled connection can help you minimize frustration and delays on the day of your tradition.

3. Above all, communicate with your loved ones. Practically anything can work if you talk it out! Stay in touch, keep lines of communication open, and don’t bottle things up if something is bugging you.

Emotions are often close to the surface at the holidays, and juggling all the planning, shopping, planning can be stressful. If things are kept bottled up, it will likely add to the stress. When you you communicate what’s on your mind, it’s a great opportunity to work things out and grow closer with your family and friends.

Remember to Document Your Holiday Customs

Whatever you do to celebrate the holidays each year, remember to document your traditions, so you can look back on your treasured holiday time and remember the details!

One thing that helps many families is to designate a holiday photographer. Sometimes you’re too busy (or too “in the moment”) to capture the events of a holiday in photos or video, but having a designated photographer or videographer can help you make sure the moments can be captured, no matter what.

Your holiday photographer can simply be a member of the family who his or her their way around a camera or smartphone.

You can get ideas for chronicling your traditions from our previous post about documenting family reunions.

Savoring Your Traditions This Holiday Season

Hopefully these tips will help you plan and enjoy your holiday traditions this year.

We’d love to hear about your favorite holiday traditions. Let us know your favorites in the comments below.

Top Tips for Staying Sane As You Prepare for the Holidays

Top Tips for Staying Sane As You Prepare for the Holidays

We’re just barely put away the Halloween costumes, and already the big box stores are putting up Christmas decorations and starting to play holiday music over their sound systems.

If you’re feeling a bit rushed, you’re not alone.  

Holiday festivities are wonderful, but they can also skyrocket your stress level. This year, I wanted to give you some holiday preparation tips to help you slow down and savor these special moments with your family and friends.

Let’s dig in.

Try to Plan Ahead as Much as Possible

Nothing ratchets up stress levels like last-minute holiday preparations, so the best tip I can give you is to plan ahead as much as possible.

We’re currently at the beginning of November, but it’s not too late to plan ahead for this year!

I recommend deciding what your holiday plans will be in advance, and setting your budget for gifts, decor, entertaining, and meals.  

After that, start making lists!

I recommend using notes apps, like Evernote or Notes, to create and update your lists. Both programs have desktop and mobile apps, so your lists will sync automatically between the two platforms, and you’ll be able to keep everything at your fingertips on your phone or tablet while you are out and about.

Another thing you can do to plan ahead is start decluttering early to make room for your guests, decorating efforts, and holiday cooking. Everything will be easier when you don’t have to wade through tons of clutter to get around! Here are some quick tips to help with the decluttering process:

  • Make room in your pantry by throwing away expired food, or donating items you know you’ll never use (like that can of kidney beans that has been sitting in your shelf for six months!)
  • Clean out your coat closet and donate gently used coats, hats, gloves and scarves to a local charity or homeless shelter.
  • Make room on your bookshelves by giving away books you don’t need. You can donate books to libraries, thrift shops, or bookworm friends.
  • Thin out your sheets and towels, and repurpose or donate the linens you’ll never use.
  • Clean out medicine cabinets and toss old or expired cosmetics, lotions, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Go through any piles of stuff that might be accumulating on counters and tabletops, and sort things into a few small storage baskets that can be easily put away before guests arrive.

Preparing for Holiday Decorating

Pinterest is my favorite site for new holiday decorating ideas. If you don’t already have an account, it will only take 30 seconds to sign up!

Start checking out Pinterest early (or start brainstorming ideas) and decide what you’d like to do for your holiday decorating. Then, estimate approximately how long each part of the process will take (Christmas tree, outdoor lights, etc.). If you need to recruit extra help or gather special tools for any of your decorations, make sure to line that up in advance.

Looking for something additional, affordable ideas for decorating? A new home decor line called “Hearth & Hand” arrived at Target in November! This new inexpensive line was created by Chip & Joanna Gaines (from the HGTV television show Fixer Upper), and includes holiday decor. A portion of the proceeds from this line will also go to helping families in need.

Once you’ve got your house decorated, take pictures of your décor! Then you won’t have to wrack your brain to remember how you set everything up when you decorate next year.

Simplify Your Shopping Efforts

Gone are the days when family members gave you dog-eared copies of the Sears catalog as their Christmas wish lists. These days, we might get an email from a son or daughter with links items on Amazon, instead!

There’s often a lot of shopping involved in the holiday season (including groceries and gifts). Now there are several easy-to-use shopping apps can help you organize your Christmas shopping right on your phone.

Shopping apps let you import recipients, create wish lists and shopping lists, and set budgets and track spending for your lists.

We like Santa’s Bag and The Christmas Gift Lite (which are both available only for Apple devices) and Christmas Gift List (available only for Android).

We also discovered the Shopper app, which is available for Apple and Android devices. Using Shopper, you can:

  • Order your shopping list according to your pantry or the store aisles.
  • Sync your shopping lists with family and friends.
  • Store your own recipes, and find new recipes online – then transfer ingredients directly to your shopping list.
  • Save money with lists of coupons from top brands.
  • Scan barcode items directly onto your shopping list.
  • Track multiple lists & multiple stores (grocery stores, Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, etc.).

Making Sending Cards Easier

Now is the time to decide what you’d like to use for your family holiday card. Do you want to use a family photo? If you can’t get everyone together for a family photo, you can also use a collage of pictures from the year.

Do you want to include a family letter? If so, who will write the letter?

No matter what kind of card you’ll be sending, make sure to build time into your schedule for buying and signing cards, collecting addresses, and affixing postage.

Check out these two posts from our Picture This Organized archive, to help with this process.

How to Prepare for Overnight Guests

If you’re planning on hosting overnight guests during the holidays, consider hiring a cleaning service to help you prepare. This shortcut will save you time and energy – just make sure you book your cleaning service in advance, because many companies get busy during the holidays.

You can still host guests even if you don’t have a formal guest room. You can order an air mattress in advance, and stash it away in a closet when you’re not using it. We like the Insta-Bed air mattress/headboard combo.

Want to give your guests an extra special touch? Create a small gift basket of local items, or leave a photo frame with a pic of your guests for them to take when they leave. You can also stock the room with bottled water. You can order these items in advance, so you’re not scrambling for them two days before your guests arrive.

Tech Tools and Programs for an Easier Holiday Travel Experience

Holiday travel can be stressful, but there are a few shortcuts and tech tools that can help make it smoother and more pleasant. Here are a few ideas:

  • Access your boarding pass on your mobile phone, so you don’t have to fumble with paperwork when you get to the airport.
  • Sign up for TSA Pre-Check or CLEAR to speed up your airport experience and decrease the amount of time you spend going through security. If you want to sign up for either of these programs, start researching them early. They may require paperwork or a visit to the airport during the signup process.
  • Download the WAZE app (Android or Apple) on your phone to help you navigate road trips and traffic.
  • Simplify your packing PackPoint, a travel packing wizard that gives you a checklist of travel essentials based on the trip profile you enter.

With the right planning and tools, traveling away from home for the holidays be easier, so your family can focus on being together.

Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself!

Lastly, don’t forget to take care of yourself during this holiday season.

The best way to decrease your stress level during holiday entertaining is to emphasize present over perfect. Enjoying being together is far more important than every detail looking like it came straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting!

During the holidays, remember that you will need a little extra margin in your life. Richard Swenson, M.D. defines margin as “the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.”

Build a little extra margin in your life by making sure you don’t overschedule yourself or try to pack too many tasks into your days. Here are some excellent tips from Michael Hyatt about how to restore time reserves into our lives.

Take time to rest and rejuvenate, instead of going non-stop during the holidays. Settle into your recliner or couch with a good book, or treat yourself to a massage, manicure or pedicure.

If you plan ahead using the tips in this post, and take care of yourself during the holidays, our hope is that you have a nourishing, comforting celebratory season.

Happy holidays from all of us here at Picture This Organized!

How to Document Your Family Reunion This Summer

How to Document Your Family Reunion This Summer

Family reunions are one of the few times you can get your family members all in one place at one time – and that means it’s the perfect time to do some storytelling, and document those stories!

Since we talked about family reunion planning in our last post, I wanted to give you some tips on documenting your family reunions this summer, and that means taking photos, recording stories via audio, and creating videos.

All three can be quick and easy to do, and you’ll be so glad you took the time to document your family stories. You never know when you’ll get another chance!

Here are some tips for documenting your family reunions:

1. Get your family to help you think about the stories in advance.

Sometimes it’s hard for your relatives to come up with stories on the spot, especially if you’ve just stuck a microphone in their faces.

Do a little advance planning, and ask your family members (or all generations) to jot down the topics of their favorite stories, or send them to you via email or text. Include your own favorite stories, too!

If you want some ideas, I’d suggest a book called “To Our Children’s Children: Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come” by Bob Greene and D.G. Fulford. It’s a great book about putting together a personal history for your family.

2. Take photos from your reunion.

When you’re taking photos, include as many people and moments as you can (both posed and candid). For more tips on taking great storytelling photos, download our free report, 8 Ways to Tell Stories with Your Family Photos.

How to Document Your Family Reunion This Summer
We held a little family reunion after my daughter Molly’s wedding.

3. Record your relatives telling stories.

Once you’ve got a list of stories to include in your documentation process (see #1), you can ask someone in your family to tell a specific story, instead of just saying, “Tell me a story!” and putting that person on the spot.

Use the ideas from your list to get conversations started. You can also have folks bring photo albums, and document as folks reminisce over the photos. Family photo albums can be a great way to get memories (and good stories) flowing!

Here are a few ways to capture audio recordings as the storytelling happens:

  • For iPhones, you can use the Voice Memos application. Just make sure your phone is fully charged up before you go to the reunion!

You should already have Voice Memos on your phone, so you can simply open the app  and press record. When you’re finished, just tap “Save”. You can give your recording a name, and it will be saved within the app. Here’s a handy article on how to use the Voice Memos app to record stories. The Voice Memos application is exclusive to the iPhone right now, but there is mostly likely a voice recording app you can get if you have an Android phone.

You can share and send these voice recordings directly from your phone, the same way you share photos. From the app, select the voice recording to share, then choose the method you’d like to use to share the recording (Message, Mail, Add to Notes, or a third party app).

The recording is a .M4a file, which is like a ringtone file, so you can also convert a voice recording to a ringtone or text tone – but that’s a whole different conversation! If you’d like to know how to do that, let me know in the comments, and we’ll try to address it in an upcoming blog post.

Whatever tool you decide to use for audio recording, make sure you test it in advance to make sure you understand how it works. You need to know how to start, stop, and save recordings easily. There’s nothing worse than missing great stories because you’re fiddling around with your technology!

4. Videotape the reunion, if you can.

It’s so nice to have motion and voices in your recording – so if you’ve got the technology and the skill to create a video of your reunion, go for it!

When you’re recording, be mindful of getting the best perspective. While it’s possible to create vertical videos (by holding your phone the long way), keep in mind that for playback, this doesn’t work with all devices. Computer and TV screens are designed for horizontal video viewing, so things will be easier and more pleasant to watch if you shoot things horizontally. Here’s an article that offers some perspective on the horizontal/vertical debate.

5. Upload your photos on sharing sites.

Want a simple way for relatives to view (or give input on) your reunion photos? You can create a shareable album, so all your family members can enjoy your event images. Check out our previous posts for more information on creating easily shareable albums.

For slideshows or videos, you can upload them to Vimeo and share them with everyone in the family.

Reunions Are Great Storytelling Opportunities

Remember: Your family reunions are wonderful opportunities to sit down with your relatives and share family stories – so why not document that process?

Today’s modern tools make it relatively easy to document your reunions, so you should definitely take a few extra minutes to create some priceless photos and recordings from the event.

You’ll be so glad you did!

10 Things I Love About My Photo Organizing Clients

Last week I published a post on why I love my job as a photo organizer, and I promised you a second part to that post.

My wonderful clients are one of the biggest reasons I adore my job — so this week I wanted to dedicate an entire post to articulating all the reasons my clients are special to me..

Ready for some big-time gushing? Here we go!

1. My Clients Love to Travel.

One of the many reasons someone might hire a photo organizer is to help them manage and display the photos they take when they’re traveling. Because so many of my clients have been bitten by the travel bug, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the world through my clients’ photos.

Whether it’s a 3-week trip through Southeast Asia or a hike along the Appalachian Trail, I feel inspired by my clients’ love for learning about different cultures and meeting the locals. Their love of travel is a tribute to their willingness to see things from a worldly perspective, and I get to be a part of that through their wonderful photos.

2. They Are Adventurous.

Many of clients not only like to travel — they like to have BIG adventures while they’re doing it! I’ve organized pictures of bamboo raft rides in China, helicopter skiing in California, multiple cross-country moves, and exotic foods samplings.

Since I’m not an adventurous person by nature, this part of my job captivates my attention and fascinates me. I love seeing the amazing escapades of my adventurous clients as they show up in images — and the photos that are taken on adventures like this are often incredible!

3. My Clients Stay Connected.

I’ve seen photos of hundreds (maybe even thousands) of family gatherings – from everyday moments to holiday dinners. What sticks with me about the images of these gathering is that we seem to have a nearly universal desire to spend time together celebrating our relationships.

Some of my very favorite client projects are family Christmas albums. Many of these projects showcase photos that are over a period of many years, from early marriage to present day. One of my clients once told me that her children said the family Christmas album was the best gift they had ever received – and that kind of praise is music to my professional photo organizer ears!

That particular client had saved photos, Christmas cards, letters to Santa, and all kinds of keepsakes over many years of holiday celebrations with her family. She shared many favorite memories of various years, and her children just poured over those albums reminiscing over their shared stories about those holidays. She wanted to be sure that each child received their own copy of this family heirloom, so we worked together to create multiple copies of the album after it was complete.

I have tons of client stories like this, and they make my job really special. I love that my clients stay connected to their families, want to celebrate their gatherings (both large and small), and want to make keepsakes that their friends and family members will cherish forever.

4. They Care About Their Family Legacies.

My clients also want to honor and celebrate their extended families, and their stories. For my clients, getting the details of their family stories right is really important, and that includes who belongs to what branch of the family, the resemblances between family members, and other details that could potentially get lost if no one is keeping track of them.

In each family, there’s typically one member who is the self-appointed “historian.” They are eager for everyone – siblings, aunts and uncles, parents, and children – to know the stories and relationships of the family, including what family members have in common, and how they differ.

They are willing to pour through photos, slides, and even memorabilia to carefully select what to keep, what to share with extended family, and how to honor the stories and legacies that these items represent. Sometimes they even photograph various items for extended family, so they can select which items they’d like to have.

5. My Clients Are Willing to See Themselves Authentically, and Recognize Their Limitations.

Every family has their own set of challenges, so I try to help them see the importance of using photos that highlight their lives – as they really are! In my free report, 8 Ways to Tell Stories with You Family Photos, I talk about how we can tell better, more memorable and more cohesive stories with our photos when don’t expect every shot we take and display to be “picture-perfect.” My clients embrace imperfection, and they are willing to see themselves and their families authentically – and I love their bravery and willingness to be authentic.  

The people I work with also understand how important it is that we are able to find our photos easily. When there’s a pause in the busyness of life and a precious moment is captured on a camera, it’s important to be able to find that photo later, so the moment isn’t forgotten.

Even in this do-it-yourself-crazy world, asking for help with your photo organizing (or anything else) doesn’t need to be a statement of failure! I’ve seen how liberated my clients feel about releasing the photo organizationing piece to me and allowing me to help them get things under control. They deserve recognition for remembering to take a photo and capture the moment – as a photo organizer, I’m just helping them create order so they can easily remember and honor that precious moment.

6. They Celebrate the Milestones in Their Lives.

My clients are incredibly proud of their children’s accomplishments and life celebrations, and they enjoy using photos as a means to show off their appreciation and happiness. I love creating projects that help parents celebrate the special moments in their kids’ lives.

One client’s wedding celebration was especially memorable for me. As a tribute to their son’s life, a client wanted an album that would convey their pride in his accomplishments and their joy about his approaching wedding. While they suspected this would be a hit with their son, an unexpected bonus was the thrill their son’s stepsons got over his old football photos! His stepsons hadn’t known about that piece of his past, and it was clearly an opportunity for this newly blended family to bond over some very special family photos.

7. They Honor as They Grieve.

Most of my clients are in the midst of enjoying the fruits of our labor as our children grow up, leave the nest and have families of their own – just like me! But sadly, we’re also in that place of saying goodbye to aged parents. As my clients grieve over the loss of a family member, it’s a honor when I’m asked to help a client pay tribute to her loved one’s life.

While I may know many personal details about my clients’ families, I can still help my clients shift to a more objective perspective at a time when making decisions is difficult. Sometimes the photos we find depict a particularly sensitive time, such as the last days of a loved one’s life. Recently I unknowingly found one such photo that a client thought had been lost. Understandably, it was a bittersweet discovery.

8. They Like to Reminisce.

My clients like to remember their stories and life experiences, and I appreciate that. According to writer Kristine Dwyer, a staff writer at Caregiver.com, reminiscence is “a free-flowing process of thinking or talking about one’s experiences in order to reflect on and recapture significant events of a lifetime.”

“We all live in the present,” Dwyer says, “yet we still carry our ‘past’ selves with us throughout our lives. We are part of a rich history that needs to be shared and preserved. The stories we tell about our lives are also important sources of self-identity, and they enable us to explore and relate our past to the present.”

Images help us with that process of sharing and preserving our histories, so I feel a real sense of fulfillment when I help my clients organize and display their photos.

It’s really about reliving our past – whether it was a vacation we had, or a milestone reached by one of our family members. My clients want to think about (and talk about) all the sweet memories so those moments aren’t forgotten, and I feel honored that I am included in that process when we work together.

9. My Clients Appreciate Their Children’s Accomplishments, Interests, and Individuality.

When I work with my clients, I love that they want to recognize each family member’s personal accomplishments and aspirations.

This is especially important when managing photos for our children. As we document important dates, there is enormous value in tracking where each child went to school, the music programs they participating in, and the sports teams they were part of.

Creating albums that highlight each child’s interests and life stories is an important exercise in honoring each child’s individuality and interests.

As a mom, I know it is sometimes easier to take photos of my kids as a group, just to capture the moment, but I’ve learned that my client’s children appreciate having individualized albums that document their individual interests, friendships, and milestones.

My clients sometimes create individualized albums like this because they want to help their children adjust to a significant transition, like a big move. Even for teenagers, an opportunity to look back at one’s life can help make the transition to a new environment less difficult. Sometimes adjusting to where we’ve arrived requires looking back at where we came from.

Being part of a family of four girls and one of the middle children, I appreciate the need to feel recognized and valued – separate from my siblings. I enjoy being part of my client’s efforts to recognize and praise their children’s individual interests and accomplishments.

10. My Clients Become My Friends!

I know I’m doing something right when a client tells me, “I’m glad you’re in my life!” As we review my clients’ family photos, they often share personal information as well as milestones, accomplishments and disappointments, so I end up know a lot about the people I work with. It’s an honor and a privilege to hold onto (and honor) that information for my clients.

Since I work with many of my clients long-term, I am also delighted to say that many have them have become friends. My life is so much better with my wonderful clients in it!