New Service: Photo Organizing, Album Design for YOU!

What a fun week! After gaining so much satisfaction in completing a graduation book for my own daughter, and having so many of our photography studio clients ask for it, I decided to send out an email with a very special offer: personal photo organizing and custom album design. I"m calling it: Gather Your Life (trademark applied for)

And what a great response I've gotten. I've really enjoyed talking to people about their projects, their families, and what they need. Guess what? Everyone has great intentions. They want to have something special and they value their photos very much. Many have started project just to become frustrated with the sheer volume of it, or the insecurity that they aren't creative enough, or really - they just don't have the time.I created a really fabulous product to help you do that, but if you don't want to tackle things on your own, keep reading...Fewer Photos

I'm really good at organizing. I love it. I really love photos and know the long term value of them. I've been in charge of keeping client files organized and stored for over 20 years. MILLIONS of negatives and digital files. Which ones to keep, which ones to let go. And nothing is more satisfying than being able to find your own photos.

I'm also really good at designing albums for others. Not including 100+ of my own albums, gifts for family and friends, I've designed well over 500 wedding and family albums for our clients. Over 500!! So don't worry about doing it yourself. Hand it over to a trusted professional.

The biggest question I get about this new service is how much does it cost? Honestly, it's very difficult to answer because every project is different and has different needs. But I will be as up front as possible, based on information you can provide. And you know what?

In over 20 years, I've NEVER had a client say:

I wish I had spent less money on my photos/album.

I wish I had fewer photos.

I wish I had less to choose from.

But I can't count how many times I HAVE had a client say:

That photo means the world to me.

I will cherish this forever.

The most important things are own are my photos and albums.

I don't care how much that cost, it was the best money I've ever spent.

Another observation: EVERYone who had started a project, wished that they had turned it over to someone else, rather than have it sit unfinished today. So what are you waiting for? Let's get started! My time is definitely limited, but please EMAIL ME with your ideas and get one step closer to someone you will love and cherish for a lifetime.

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Designing Senior Photo Albums

If you read my earlier blog post, you know that I've been playing around with designing high school senior albums. Here are 3 pages from the sample book I'm working on. I'm experimenting with different fonts and layouts. This reflects my design style for these books: SIMPLE.

Alyx Album For Blog 2 

You don't need lots of fancy design elements in a photo album to make it special. In fact, I believe the less, the better. When you're designing a book that covers lots of events and a pretty extreme number of photos, let the pictures do the talking for you. Of course, a few dates and titles are nice, but you don't need to distract from the star of the show: your photos and the person or event you're highlighting.

What do you think? What is your design style?

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The Importance of Everyday Photos

Alyx Album For Blog 1

After custom wall portraits and artwork, the biggest request we get in our photography studio is for custom designed albums. Of course, we are using our professional portraits, but I have always wanted to help clients with their own everyday photos - which is why I created ScrapRoom, and now, Gather Software. The whole idea behind both programs is to give the ability to organize, store, and create with your personal photos, even if you are new to digital. Actually - especially if you are new to digital. Or have tried more complicated programs like Adobe Photoshop, Elements, or Lightroom.

Our tools are simple and straightforward, pared down to the ones you need the most. We use words instead of icons whenever possible, and you only need one program to do everything. We've got lots of training videos online and classes in our shop if you need an extra helping hand and don't know where to begin.

Still, there are lots of people who have more money than time or just don't feel they are creative enough to create something on their own. That's why we are beginning to offer custom album design in our studio using clients' personal photos! I'm so excited about this because I really LOVE the photos that we take in the moment, the little bits and pieces we want to remember and share.

This all fits so perfectly within our logo/motto: Gather Your Life. Isn't that what a photo album is? A gathering of moments and memories. One glance can take you back so quickly to another time and place. Another emotion. Other people. 

I felt this again so strongly when I started playing around with my daughter's high school photos to create a sample book for our studio. It's one thing to talk about the possibility of a book and quite another thing to hold one in your hand. Of course, I have over 100 of my own scrapbooks and photo albums in my personal collection, but I needed something I could use to inspired clients without my own albums at risk.

I began to create a much different album than I normally make. This one was much more photo centric, like my travel albums. Don't you just love big photos? Less writing and more moments. The pages were still pretty simple, but packed a lot of emotion, I realized, as I looked at them and experienced high school with my daughter all over again.

All the trips, activities, friends, things we stressed over that don't really matter now, the things that went by too quickly that now matter the most. What a ride.

I began to want more and gathered even more photos, going back to her earlier childhood - trips we took, the funny things she used to do, her favorite outfits.

In our everyday life, it's so easy to become stressed and busy and not stop to appreciate everything going on around us. But in looking back at our everyday photos, we can go back and realize that it's a good life. A wonderful life. And it's worth celebrating.

For more information on having an album designed with your own photos, or for personal help organizing your photos, email me. I'd love to help.

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My Grandmother's House

Maybe we need to start looking at our family's history differently. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with our ENTIRE family's history - all the research and the documents and the whole shebang....What if we just started one little bit at a time? Suddenly, telling our family's story becomes much easier.

I have very few pictures of my family - especially my grandparents. Recently, I found an album at my mom's house containing some photos from my grandmother's house and I had them scanned. There wasn't really a coherent story, but I really wanted to do something with them, so I just started placing photos on the pages (you know Gather is just drag and drop, right?) and then began typing anything that came to mind. I was amazed at what came flowing out. I started with simple, clean white background and a photo. (The picture is a collage of several pages together - this is not all on the same page):

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Then some of the photos seemed to need a black background, so I tried a few of those (again, several pages together):

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By then I was in a groove and made a few more elaborate, yet still simple pages:

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They are all different, but still simple and they work in a single book because they are all about my Grandmother's House (of course it was Granddaddy's house, too, but we always called it Grandmomma's house) and my memories there. I began to get much more excited about 'genealogy'. Sure, I can add more to this later and make a more complete history, and some things I will have more photos of than others, but isn't the most important thing to just get started??

You can do this!

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