4 Simple Steps to Collect and Preserve Family Stories

6 Simple Steps to Collect and Preserve Family Stories

6 Simple Steps to Collect and Preserve Family Stories

Family stories aren’t just entertaining or great conversation, but they should be shared and preserved to pass down for generations to come. It’s a great idea to interview family members—no matter their age—to later look back and reflect on important moments in their life at that time. This is especially important if you have a family member who is getting older, is not in good health, or who’s memories seem to be fading.

Below, we have 4 simple steps to not only collect these stories, but preserve them to share or look back on whenever you’d like. We’ve also included 100 questions you can ask your family members from kids to family in the military to get these stories started.

The most important thing we can tell you is don’t wait. Memories don’t last forever, but stories do! Here are 4 simple steps to collect and preserve your family stories.

1. Plan a family gathering

Set aside a special time, when people are relaxed and can gather around and really enjoy the stories. Many families like to do this after a family meal or just before bedtime. Ask children to be prepared to listen attentively.

If your family cannot get together in person, you can talk over Skype, FaceTime, or ask them questions over the phone. Because you are not in person, it might be easier to do this several times over the course of a few weeks or months.


2. Prepare your family

Tell family members in advance that you’ll be hosting a “story time” this year. Allow them to consider their favorite family memories and the stories they’d love to share. Invite them to collect special pictures and mementos that might spark conversation or that they would want to share.


3. Gather supplies

The most important supply you need is a video recorder or voice recorder. This will allow you to keep these memories for years to come. Make sure to test all equipment thoroughly before starting.

Gather together as many old family photos, albums, shoeboxes, and memorabilia that you can find. These will spark conversations as you ask about the people, places, and events.

Think about stories you would like to tell yourself. Consider stories you would like a family member to tell you again so you can have it recorded.

If you’re unsure how to get the conversation started, prepare questions in advance. Here are 100 questions you can ask family members of all ages and backgrounds.


4. Collect and save

Collect these stories, pictures and mementos, and make sure they are digital and safe on an external hard drive. We can digitize all these items for you.

Along with your favorite pictures and mementos, consider putting them together in one safe place. At Life’s Sweet, we create Family Legacy Books which is a collection of these items in a book that can be given as a gift or be passed down to future generations. We also create slideshows that can include all of these items, including your recorded interviews.


That’s it! Just 4 simple steps and you’ll have a wonderful collection of family stories that can be shared and passed down for generations. Contact Life’s Sweet today if you’re interested in us helping you with a Family Legacy Book, Slideshow, or Photo Scanning service.


The Best Smartphone Camera Accessories of 2018 – Starting at $8

Best Smartphone Camera Accessories

Whether you’re a professional photographer or you simply like to take photos with your smartphone from time to time, smartphone camera accessories will bring your photography to the next level! Even though the cameras in our phones get better and better every year, these smartphone camera accessories will allow you to do so much more.

So, what are the best smartphone camera accessories of 2018?


Best Smartphone Camera Accessories of 2018

Clip-On Lenses

The Olloclip is a very popular and versatile clip-on lens that allows you to shoot fisheye, super-wide, and even macro. These lenses are currently only available to iPhone users. Prices start at $55.

For non-iPhone users, we recommend the highly regarded clip-on lenses by Moment. Moment offers a wide variety of lenses, including anamorphic, macro, superfish, and even portrait lenses for both iPhone and Android devices.


Best Smartphone Camera Accessories of 2018


The GripTight GorillaPod Stand by Joby far outshines all other tripods, and it’s actually a miniature version of the original GorillaPod that was popular among DSLR photographers. This tripod gives you the flexibility to take clear, stable photos and videos no matter the location. This is a must-have smartphone camera accessory that is compatible with all smartphone devices.


Best Smartphone Camera Accessories


Even for the best smartphone cameras, nothing is harder than taking a clear picture or video when you or your subject is moving. The DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is our top pick for smartphone stabilization. This stabilizer will give you the smoothest videos and footage and take your video skills to the next level.


Best Smartphone Camera Accessories

Wireless Camera Remote Controls

While many smartphones have timers to take photos, 10 seconds is typically the maximum amount of time. If you want to take more photos, the process could take forever. For only $8.49, the Wireless Camera Shutter Remote by CamKix gives you the ability to wirelessly take as many pictures as you want from afar. No more self-timer, no more goofy selfie sticks. This inexpensive remote control is compatible with android and iPhone devices.


Once you’ve taken all of these amazing photos with your smartphone, don’t let them sit on your phone! Let Life’s Sweet create a custom photo book of your beautiful photos so you can look back at them and share them whenever you’d like. We can also create photo slideshows for a special event! Contact us today for more information.

6 Pet Photography Tips – How To Photograph Your Furry Friends

pet photography tips

pet photography tips

If you have a pet, chances are you have dealt with your fare share of blurry photos during their cutest moments. It’s not easy to keep their attention long enough to snap a photo, let alone have great lighting, eye contact, and a good angle. There’s a reason the professional pet photography industry exists!

Here are 6 pet photography tips that are sure to help you capture the true cuteness of your furry friend!


1. Models don’t work for free

Unless your pet is sleeping, it’s best to motivate them with a treat or toy so they don’t get distracted. This not only keeps them still and attentive, but it usually creates a very wide-eyed, excited expression. You know what your animal loves, so take advantage and get creative!


2. Lighting is everything

Taking an image in a low-light setting is only successful with very high-end cameras. With most cameras like smart phones and small lens cameras, the shutter speed—or the speed at which the camera’s shutter is open to take an image—is much slower in low-light so the camera can capture all available light and the image doesn’t appear dark. As a result, your camera along with whatever you are taking a picture of must remain completely still for a longer than normal to get a clear photo. For an animal, that’s usually asking too much.

We recommend having your pet photography session in a nice outdoor area or in front of a window that brings in a lot of natural light for a faster shutter speed and a clearer photo.


pet photography tips

3. Find their setting

The best place to take pictures of your pet is where they are comfortable. If you move them to an area of your home or outside they have never been, they will likely be very distracted. If you frequently find your pet on a window seat, lounging in the sun, or they love being outdoors, you are in luck as the lighting in these places is on your side. Outdoor settings are even better because they are usually the most colorful and clutter-free. Remember to pay special attention to our previous tip about lighting, but try to remain in a setting they are used to.

Bonus tip- overcast weather is the BEST. There is no harsh direct sunlight, very subtle shadows, and still a lot of natural light.


4. Remain calm

When taking pictures, if you’re stressed and especially being louder than normal, this might confuse or concern your animal, causing them to disengage or act differently themselves. Remaining calm and natural around your pet will help them stay still and relaxed for the best pictures.


5. Scan old pet pictures

This tip might seem different, but it is one of the most important tips we can give you. Many people have printed photos of the animals they lost. Up until recently, that was the only way to get your pictures. It’s very important that you scan your old pictures to protect them from loss and keep your memories alive. We can do this for you! Click here for more info.


6. Collect and preserve

Once you have a collection of adorable pet pictures, don’t just keep them on your camera, phone or computer! The best thing to do is print them, hang them up, or best of all, create a custom photo book of all your pets so you can flip through them whenever you want and share them with friends and family. Just like photo scanning, we can create custom photo books for you. Click here for more info.

Make sure you don’t keep them in one place. It’s very easy to lose printed and digital pictures in the blink of an eye. Check out the article below for tips on how to safeguard your pictures.


6 Do’s and Don’ts of Backing Up Photos

dos and donts of backing up photos

dos and donts of backing up photos

From a lost phone to a failed hard drive, there are so many ways to permanently lose photos. We have seen it happen before and it’s heartbreaking.

Amy Molloy lost a decade of photographs—including photos of her late husband—simply because she didn’t check if her backup from one hard drive to another was successful: “in the days before digital cameras and hard drives, if you lost a photograph, it was gone for ever,” she says. “As a member of Generation Y, I thought that I was immune to this worry, until two months ago when I accidentally deleted every digital photograph I had ever taken.”

The only thing she could do was ask her friends to send any pictures they had, but she admitted, “it wasn’t the loss of public events such as birthday parties and baby showers that hurt so greatly; it was the intimate, private moments that I was really mourning – the moments that seemed so magical and so unbelievable that I didn’t trust my memory of them.”
Click here to read the full story.

Thankfully, there are several preventative measures you can take to make sure this never happens to you. Backing up photos might seem like a lot of work, but if you follow these 6 do’s and don’ts of backing up photos, you will have a simple system setup so you never have to worry about losing your photos and memories.

Don’t: Count on just one storage place

We strongly believe in redundancy. Storing all your photos in one place is the easiest way to lose them in the blink of an eye. Your external hard drive could fail, pictures can be lost in a house fire, or your computer could be stolen full of precious memories. There are many storage places for photos, but it’s essential you store your photos in at least two places.

Do: Use an external hard drive

External hard drives are a great option for photo storage, especially if you have a large number of photos or high quality photos that take up a lot of space. There are many affordable external hard drives available on the market today. We also recommend having two hard drives—one in a safe and one out and accessible—to follow our first tip of having more than one storage place.

While external hard drives are a very reliable storage place for your photos, they can fail. This failure can be due dropping the hard drive or simply overheating, but these possibilities emphasize not relying on just one storage place. Make sure you check that your external hard drive is working on a regular basis and if it travels with you frequently, don’t forget to buy a protective case.

Don’t: Use Facebook as photo storage

Not just Facebook, but social media websites like Instagram and even photo-printing websites may downsize the clarity and size of your photos which will mean a lower resolution for printing purposes. It is often hard to detect on a computer or phone screen, but these websites digitally compress the images because they are not setup to store your photos.

If you lose your photos and happen to have a lot of them saved on Facebook, it is better than nothing, but that original print-worthy photo will be gone for good.


dos and donts backing up photos

Do: Consider an online cloud backup service

Online photo backup services are very reliable because the photos are being stored in a second location from the rest of your photos. This is a great second storage option if you have an external hard drive because if anything happens to your home or devices, you can rest assured your photos are safe in “the cloud”.

Depending on your device, you might consider Apple iCloud, which offers a lot of storage for a low monthly fee, or Google Photos, which is completely free for unlimited photo storage (with image resolution restrictions). It is important to note that some cloud storage services compress photos over time, so make sure to check the resolution of your photos from time to time. Click here for a detailed list of online cloud backup services.

The best part about these cloud backup services is they all offer automatic backups, which leads us to our next point…

Don’t: Backup photos just once

It is very important that you periodically backup your photos or setup an automatic photo backup. You don’t want to lose any new photos as time goes on, and losing photos is always unpredictable. You never know when your hard drive will fail, when your computer will crash, or when you will lose your phone. You can either make a habit of backing up your photos or sign up for a cloud backup service that will take care of it for you.


Do: Digitize your photos

It’s common to have boxes and bins full of printed photos because that used to be the only way to get your photos. While it’s great to have printed photographs to share, display, or create photo books or scrapbooks with, it’s easy to forget about those pictures and leave them in storage. Even if perfectly safe from harm, printed photographs do not last forever.

To protect and backup these photos properly, you will need to digitize them. This is a service we provide to the Denver Metro Area in Englewood, Colorado, and this service can be found almost anywhere.

If you are interested in a photo scanning service or photo organization service, give us a call! The Life’s Sweet Team would love to help you or someone close to you save those memories before it’s too late.


Their Own Fairy Tale Book

custom photo book denver

6 Simple Steps to Organize ALL Your Photos


If we asked you where all your photos are, how many answers would you have? If it’s more than two or you can’t even count, this article is for you.

Chances are you have thought about organizing all your photos once or twice, or you don’t even want to think about it because just the thought is overwhelming. This goes without saying, but the more you wait, the harder it’s going to be later on. We hate to break it to you, but it’s time to organize all your photos. Here are 6 simple steps to organize all your photos in the most efficient, stress-free way, along with tips to keep your future photos organized as they come.

Step 1: Compile

From pictures in shoe boxes to thousands of pictures on your phone, put all of your photos together so you know what you’re working with. Here are some places to look:

  • Old/current cell phones
  • Computer
  • External hard drive
  • SD cards from digital cameras
  • Photo CDs
  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.)
  • Cloud storage (iCloud, Google Photos, Shutterfly, Dropbox, Flickr, etc.)
  • Tablets
  • Photo boxes
  • Undeveloped film


Step 2: Make a plan

With a plan in place from the beginning, your photo organization will run smoothly and be less stressful. Your plan should include:

  • A central photo hub: a photo hub is more important than you think. This will not only act as your storage place, but all those photos you’ll take and receive in the future will have a home that’s easily accessible. Without a photo hub, you’ll inevitably end up back at step #1 in just a few years.
  • A schedule for yourself: if you’re good at keeping yourself on task, no need to include this in your plan. But, if you have an abundance of photos, this step is helpful so you aren’t breaking off more than you can chew in one sitting. One night, you can look through your old phone. Next weekend, you can get through half of the box that has been collecting dust under your bed. Set your schedule and stick to it!
  • An organization system: you can organize them chronologically (our recommendation), by location, or by person. You can send duplicates to family or throw them away. You can even name your digital folders by event to easily find a specific photo in the future.


Step 3: Gather your tools

Depending on your plan, you might want to get a bin to organize your photos by the month and year they were taken (like this one),  a new hard drive to keep them all in one place, envelopes to send extras to family members, or a photo album to give to your kids.


organize your photos

Step 4: Start sorting

This step is the most time-consuming but the most fun. If you set a schedule for yourself in Step #2, sorting will be a bit less overwhelming. If possible, grab a few friends or family members to help and reminisce together. While you sort, make sure to label your containers and folders!


Step 5: Safeguard your memories

Now that you’re all organized, the most important step is to make sure your memories are safe. This can be done by scanning all of your photos (we can do this for you) to make them digital, uploading them to an external hard drive, and even uploading them to an online photo storage service. In case of an emergency, you can be sure your memories are safe.

We’ve encountered many instances where a customers’ photos, slides, or CDs were past the point of no return. These photo mediums do not last forever like digital files do. Don’t wait before it’s too late!


Step 6: Enjoy

This doesn’t just mean enjoy what you’ve accomplished, but now that you’ve looked through old memories, print some of those forgotten moments and put them on the walls. Create a photo book of one of your favorite vacations or milestones so you can relive them more often. You can even send copies to friends and family as a gift!


If this process doesn’t interest you or seems like too much work, Life’s Sweet will do it all for you! We organize photos, scan them to make sure they’re safe, and even make custom photo books so you can look through your photos effortlessly. We offer free 1-hour consultations. Give us a call today!

Love Letters from WW1

military photo book denver

Barbara S. lives in Colorado and is a long-term customer of Life’s Sweet. She has done a series of books with us but one that she especially admired are these love letters. Here is an account of her experience in her own words.

“That day has come, the day I move my mother out of her home of 60 plus years to a retirement village where we can oversee her daily needs and care. My father had passed away several years ago and mother misses him as if it was just yesterday. Along with that comes the salvage and removal of all their belongings that have accumulated over the years. Memories….

As I enter her bedroom I come across the cedar chest that has been in the corner gathering dust and covered in old crocheted afghans. I was always curious as to what my mother hid in her little chest.

Imagine to my surprise and curiosity I came across an old newspaper package wrapped in an old ribbon. As I untied the ribbon, tears formed in my eyes, I was holding “letters of love” that my father had written to my mother while he was stationed overseas during WWI. Letters and postcards stamped with SOLDIERS MAIL. All professing his love for her, his day to day life, rations, snow, cold, so on and so on. He writes about the day he will return to her and they will build their life together. My mother kept all of these and more mementos from this era of time.

I needed to honor my parents and preserve their memories, our family legacy and share with our family, children and grandchildren.

Barbara S.”

Preserving Family Legacy