After spending several years working in the scrapbooking industry and a few more as a mom, I’ve found that I’ve got friends in a lot of different places. When I say places, I mean spots in life. Some are avid scrapbookers with rooms and hard drives dedicated to their craft and shelves of glorious albums that are filled with love and memories.

Others are in a stage of life that they’re happy if they remember, or even get to, snap a few photos. They’re busy racing from soccer games to band camp with everything in between. They want to make beautiful albums but they’re working on a budget right now (that cash that used to be used for scrapping supplies is now earmarked for ballet lessons, a prom dress, or a night out with their husband.)

And a few more have no real interest in the creative side of the hobby, but are more interested in fulfilling the call they’ve felt as the mother of their little brood and the storyteller and preserver of the daily happenings, the big events, and the growth of their little family.

I don’t know about you, but I relate to each of these moms. I feel inspired to record our story in a way that captures real life and that fits my current lifestyle. What you’ll find here are tips and a style of storytelling that matches the underlying theme of My Own Brand Of Happy. The ideas are meant to inspire and to make things quicker and easier, but still keep things personal, creative, and beautiful. Because no matter what… telling your story should make you happy. 

So lets talk photo storage.

Use what ya got.  It goes without saying really, that everyone is different. It’s not mandatory that you have a craft room full of memory keeping supplies, an iPhone, or the world’s best camera, although all those things can come in handy. The best place to start is right where you’re at. Decide that you’re going to start documenting now. Then set a plan for how you’re going to do it.  I may not always have my “real” camera with me, but I always have my phone. And really, any smartphone these days will do.

Photos.   For me, this was the biggest headache. I found myself at events with little to no space on my phone, scrambling to delete the thousands of pictures my 3 year old had taken of her feet or her favorite episode of Daniel Tiger – all while I missed capturing her forward rolls in her tumbling class. Bummer.

Or maybe you’ve experienced that moment where you’re sure you have pictures of the kiddos at that last church social – but where are they? After scrolling through your phone and the stash of pictures on your computer, for what seems like forever you finally give up, only to realize later that those phones are sitting on your husband’s phone untouched.

We have a house divided when it comes to cell phones. I have a iPhone – I love the options it provides and I’m a Mac girl through and through. My husband likes Apple products as well, but he loves his Android phones and I’m not sure he’ll ever give them up.

We needed a real solution for compiling photos – not me borrowing phones and pulling out my box of cables to transfer pictures.

Enter Dropbox. I’ve used this service for years, why I never put two and two together I don’t know… but it’s become my best friend lately.

Dropbox accounts with limited space are free. The Dropbox app for both Apple and Android phones is free. All you have to do is download the app, set it to upload routinely – mine is set to do it anytime I’ve got a free wi-fi connection.

Plan ahead. This goes without saying. I always find myself in a rush to finish an album or whip together a folder of photos to send out to grandmas and grandpas and I find myself scrolling through millions of photos. Ack! The stroll down memory lane is fun, but sometimes I need it to be a sprint.

The solution? Create a folder and flag it as a “recent favorites”. My husband and I both periodically drop photos into  that folder and empty it out once we’ve sent off the pictures to grandparents and I’ve gotten them tucked away in our digital albums waiting to be printed. These photos are the ones we really want to share with others. That super cute pose or perfect shot we can’t wait to hang on our wall or share with family.

These are the photos I journal about and the ones that I think will mean the most to my kiddos when they’re older. (Although some look more professional, many are as candid as they come. The clutter that comes with small kiddos and mismatched clothes are often seen – but this is our stage of life. And we’re living it!) If you’ve got particularly tech savvy grandparents you might even share the folder with them, so they can access it whenever they have a spare minute.

I hope Dropbox and these ideas will be as useful and life changing for you as they were for me. What are some ways you find useful when it comes to managing, storing, and sharing photos?