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 about photographing your kid’s art.
Organization is key. My oldest just turned 4 and she just started Pre-K. Let me tell you that in the first few weeks, we’ve already collected quite a bit of school work and art projects. I can only imagine what it will be like by the time the holidays roll around, not to mention what it would be like with more than one child bringing home treasures. So, right off the bat – I’d recommend establishing a system that works for you. I’ve got a trusty file folder that resides in a magazine box along with her school folder, the school handbook, and all that other school info that I need to keep on hand. Once the folder gets nice and fat, I’ll plan a time where I can shoot each item, pick out the ones that we want to save and then file away the rest – yes, I’m that mom that can’t part with them until we’ve had some time and distance between us. I’ll hang on to them until I declutter everything again.
Once you’ve got the digital images, you’ll need to consider the best plan for handling all this precious digital art. You can always use your dropbox account (you can read more about how I use drop box here) but for a more permanent solution I stick to an old fashioned route. I organize my photos by month. This makes it easy to find things – I can always remember that we went to the zoo sometime around my daughter’s birthday, even if I can’t remember the exact time at least I can narrow it down to the month. I also make one extra folder, labeled as favorites. The favorites folder contain photos I want to print and hang on our wall, or make sure I put into our family yearbook or the birthday books I do for the kids. Then sometime in January I spend a few nap times burning photos onto blank DVDs which I store in one of my husband’s old CD holders.
A flat surface with lots of light. This is all you need to capture good images of your pieces. You can buy a white piece of foam core from the dollar store and place it on the floor or even on a table top. I open up the blinds in my family room, but any room will do. Just find somewhere that provides you quite a bit of natural light and you’re good to go. If you’re laying your items on the floor, standing above them should give you plenty of distance to get a straight on shot. A tabletop setup may mean you’ve got to perch on a stool or chair.
Set the shot so you have lots of flexibility. Maybe you have a specific idea in mind for how you’ll use these images. Maybe you don’t. Either way, I’d recommend giving yourself lots of space around each piece and also shooting the stack of items together. Then use the crop feature on your favorite photo editing software to crop the image how you’d like once you’re putting it to use. *One other tip: shoot the items both vertically and horizontally. Again, you’ll be glad you have both if you’re looking to frame or fill a pocket album later.
Use those photos! Here’s the best part. No matter what type of memory keeper & storyteller you are – putting the photos to use is what’s most important. Frame your favorites and hang them in a gallery wall somewhere in your home. You can change them out periodically. Create a “Instagram” photo grid or art book for your coffee table.
What fun things do you have planned for your children’s art?