Time-Saving Tip: Photo Simplification, Part Two

If you missed part one of this series, go here to read it.

Last week, when I talked about how to simplify photo taking, I confessed that I used to spend a lot of time taking, editing, uploading, and printing photos. I also mentioned that I’ve since learned to cut back. Everybody’s best system is going to be different, but today I’m sharing how I’ve simplified photo usage to help give you a few ideas.


Release yourself from the pressure to do something with every photo. Many of the photos I take simply get filed on my computer. I may or may not use them in the future.

Don’t try to play catch-up. I used to feel behind on various albums, scrapbooks, and picture frames that I wanted to make or update. I finally released myself from the feeling of obligation to go through all of my old photos and “catch up.” Don’t try to catch up – just start where you are.

Have a simple plan for the future. A relative told me that her big photo plan for her kids is to hand them each a few CDs (or whatever people will use 15 years in the future) that are full of pictures of their growing up years. No fancy scrapbooks, no jam-packed photo albums. Just a few small simple disks packed with memories and love. Oh, the simplicity!

Find an easy way to share photos with others. With smart phones being very common and having decent cameras, it’s very easy to just snap a photo at an event and text or e-mail it to the recipients right then. They’ll have a picture of a moment that you captured for them and you didn’t have to spend a lot of time doing that.

When you do want to have printed photos, consider making photo books. These are less time-consuming and costly than scrapbooks but have plenty of room for photos and notes. Plus, if you’re planning on making a photo book for someone else as well, you can just order extra copies.

Be intentional about the photos you decide to use. I made exactly one photo book last year. It was of our first family camping trip and we all had a wonderful time together so I wanted to preserve that memory for my family. Last year, I also updated a few picture frames that we have around the house and I posted three albums on Facebook of events I wanted to share with others. This was enough and it is a far cry from the dozens of albums I used to upload each year.

Remember that using less photos makes the photos we do choose to display and share even more special.


NOTE: I HIGHLY RECOMMEND BACKING UP YOUR PHOTOS! You could store them on a server, upload them to a backup location, or burn them to CDs. This doesn’t need to be done all the time, but make sure to back up your images at least twice a year.

Time-Saving Tip: Photo Simplification, Part One

Taking pictures, editing, uploading, printing, and putting the photos into albums used to consume a lot of my time. I mean a lot.

I’ve since learned to simplify.

Camping trip

Family camping trip, June 2012

Preserving memories is okay to do in moderation, but if we’re spending so much time trying to make sure we remember the moment that we’re not fully enjoying the moment, then things are out of balance.

A large part of photo simplification is choosing to be okay with imperfection. No family is always wearing coordinating outfits, with perfect smiles, perfect hair, and posing in a perfect way in amazing lighting.

Is someone’s hair a little crazy? That’s alright! A child crossing her eyes? Great! Maybe some toys in the background? Who cares?! It’s life. It’s imperfect. That’s the beauty of it.

Another way to simplify photos is to take less of them. I understand that you want to have photos of family members and friends. I do too. But we don’t need to have flip books of our lives. If you’re doing a special activity with others, take two minutes to have someone snap a photo of your group together. A few photos sprinkled throughout the day are perfectly fine as well, but try not to record every single detail.

Group photo of a Mother-Daughter trip to Chicago!

Group photo of a Mother-Daughter trip to Chicago, November 2012.

Photos should record, not interrupt, special moments. We shouldn’t constantly make our kids stop having fun so they can look at the camera and smile. Just take a photo of them playing with their toys or reading their books. Remember, one or two photos is fine, but stop at that – it’s about capturing a moment and it doesn’t have to look perfect.

We can also choose to accept the fact that we won’t remember everything. Memories of fun days with our friends and loved ones will eventually fade. That’s okay. Memories are wonderful, but living fully and simply enjoying the experience as it happens is also incredible.

If you take pictures of everything, like I used to, purposefully leave your camera at home for the next little occasion. Choose to savor the moment without worrying about preserving the memory.

Next week I’ll talk about how to simplify the use of photos once they’re taken.

Time-Saving Tip: Keep Blank Cards on Hand

BlankCardThis week’s time-saving tip is to keep blank cards on hand.

Doing so negates the need to run to the store for thank you notes, birthday cards, thinking of you cards, or any other card.

Plus, since blank note cards are blank, you’ll need to write a few sentences of your own inside which usually makes the card feel very meaningful to the recipient.

Bonus tip: Keep the blank cards where you’ll readily have access to them when you’re on the go, such as in your purse, laptop bag, or car so you can whip one out and start writing whenever you have a few spare minutes.

Time-Saving Tip Tuesday: Write it Down


Notepad gift from a friend.

Today’s time saving tip is to write things down. There’s no need to waste time, energy, and brain power trying to remember every little detail of our lives when we could take a few seconds to write down things that we need to remember.

There are a few easy ways to do this:

  • Make use of the magnetic notepad on your fridge.
  • Write notes on your phone.
  • Keep a small notebook in your purse to scribble random thoughts or things you need to remember.

Things to write down:

  • Groceries needed
  • Upcoming appointments
  • Reminder to mail a package
  • To-Do List

Don’t over-complicate this. Just scribble and go.