Posts in Family Tips
Save Your Memories

I speak to clients almost daily about backing up their photos. With the recent fires many people lost priceless memories they will never be able to get back because they did not store copies of them outside of their homes. Here are my recommendations for storing your photos for safekeeping.

  • Back up your photos to a minimum of 3 places, one of them being online. Develop a system that works for you. I personally have my photos on 2 separate portable hard drives, and on 2 or 3 online back up sites. Storage is getting cheaper and cheaper. It’s worth it to purchase portable hard drives you can grab in an emergency. There are a lot of services out there for you to back up your online. Some of them are free, and some of them back up your computer or phone constantly without you even doing anything after you set it up. Here are some of my favorite online storage places:



    ICLOUD (for Mac users)



  • Use portable flash drives. I give all of my clients USB drives with their portraits on them. I highly recommend USB Memory Direct if you are looking to purchase a wholesale custom printed USB flash drive. Their customer service and quality is the best in the business. These small, portable drives are perfect for grabbing when you need to leave quickly, and they can be stored easily. The boxes that come with your orders are great places to store these drives. Don’t forget to back them up!

  • Back up your back ups. I know this is tedious and time consuming to set up, but you will not regret it. All hard drives fail at some point. It’s not a question of IF they will break, it’s a question of when. They last an average of 5 years. That’s not a lot of time! Keep them in good working order and clean for best results. I’ve had several hard drives fail. Luckily I have those same images stored other places.

  • Print your photos. Everyone is afraid of fires, especially here in Southern California where many homes have burned down in the past couple of years. It’s a legitimate fear, and one you should prepare for. Your home probably will not burn down before your USB drive, CD, DVD, computer or external hard drive fails however. It has been documented that photographic prints last much longer than digital without being backed up properly. Print your photos! Nobody shares photos with guests in your home by standing around your computer or phone. A large print on your wall, a photo album or something displayed is much more enjoyable to view for you and your guests than on a digital device. Studies have also shown that children get a big boost in self esteem when their parents hang up pictures of them. It makes them feel loved and valued in the family.

  • Organization is Important! It will do you no good to store your photos on multiple devices and sites if they aren’t organized in some way. How will you go back to find a picture you need if they aren’t organized in some fashion? When I am downloading my images off of my camera I give them all a name with the day, month, and year it was taken, along with a label of the event. For example, my Halloween pictures are labeled 10-31-2018 Halloween. It is so easy for me to scroll through the folders in my computer and find what I need. Organize your photos in a way that makes the most sense to you, and be consistent.

I know your memories are important to you. The images and videos of your life are what you will use to remember and share your lives with future generations. They are important! They are irreplaceable. Be careful and diligent, and you will be able to have them forever.

how to store your photos

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Family Happiness

What makes a happy family? It's what we all want, right? A happy, fun family for our kids to grow up in is the ideal we strive for, but what makes a family truly happy? Here are some tips based mostly on my own opinion, but also articles I've read on the subject. 

1) Have Family Dinner Together.

This sounds so simple, but as the kids get older it gets harder and harder. Don't give up! Those family dinners together are probably the only time all of you are together during the day. According to this Time Magazine article, "The most comprehensive survey done on this topic, a University of Michigan report that examined how American children spent their time between 1981 and 1997, discovered that the amount of time children spent eating meals at home was the single biggest predictor of better academic achievement and fewer behavioral problems. Mealtime was more influential than time spent in school, studying, attending religious services, or playing sports."  Even if you can only do it once a week, it's worth making Family dinner together a priority.

Thousand Oaks Family Photographer

4) Display family photos on the wall

Now, before you roll your eyes that the photographer is saying this, it's really true! Displaying family photos on the wall gives your children a sense of belonging, and higher self-esteem. Photographs of themselves and their family and extended family makes them feel loved. It also makes you feel happy every time you see them. 

5) Establish Routines and Rules

Routines can be boring, but studies show children who have routines, and know what to expect are happier and more successful. They never have to worry about what is coming next, and they know exactly what is expected of them. It makes them feel comfortable and safe. 

6) Make Family Traditions a Priority

Do you decorate the Christmas tree every year the day after Thanksgiving? Do you eat chocolate for breakfast on Valentines Day? What are your family traditions? These things are important and exciting to your children. They look forward to things you do as a family. These  are the moments your children will remember when they are older. 

I love photographing the families I do. Siblings teasing each other, Dads making their kids giggle, and moms snuggling their little ones are what make me happy. I am so lucky to view happiness through my camera and on my computer screen every day. Your happiness is  my happiness. 

Thousand Oaks Family Photographer

2) Let your kids have a say.

Let them have choices in their lives. Let them have a say in how they spend their time, with your guidance of course. Studies have shown that letting your children choose their own punishments makes them think harder about avoiding them. Let them choose their rewards also. They will work harder to get them. These decisions develop powerful cognitive skills. 

3) Don't be so stressed out!

The number one thing your kids want from you is your time, but time when you're not worried, tired, and grumpy. It's worth it to take a good look at your life, and change what is making your have stress. I realize this is much easier said than done. It's true that if you are stressed, your kids will be stressed out and that leads to lots of problems for them academically, socially, etc.

Westlake Village Family Photographer

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