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Putting all those smartphone photos to good use


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Hello, I'm Jo Williams, author of the blog . My intention is to live more simply and thoughtfully. My writings challenge the dominant paradigms of endless work, consumerism, and subsequent waste; celebrate the everyday; and share my love of the revolutionary activities of growing, making, and baking things. My hope is to influence others to make small changes in their own lives to benefit both themselves and the environment.


If you are hoarding photos on your phone or computer, and wondering what to do with them, read on.

Cameras and photos have been important to me since I was a child. My brother gave me my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, when I was about 10. It had a cartridge-style film with 24 exposures, and an attachable flash cube that exploded whenever a flash photo was taken. That was the fun part!

Scrapbooking can be simple, quick, but still beautiful!.

Scrapbooking can be simple, quick, but still beautiful!

Prior to a special event, a new cartridge would be loaded into the camera with the hope that there would be enough shots to cover the occasion. The exposed film would then be delivered to the chemist and sent away for developing.

Read more from Jo Williams: Beware the hidden costs of earning money

Oh, the anticipation of waiting a week or two for the prints to come back!

Would they turn out ok? Would anyone have their eyes closed in that ‘special’ photo? In those days, we couldn't immediately check the photo, there were no photo bursts, and it used up too much film to take three or four shots, just in case.

The Instamatic was eventually replaced with Dad’s old SLR when he upgraded, then later a series of digital cameras, and more recently a smartphone. But since the days of the Instamatic, a camera of some sort has never been far from my hands.

Even as a child in the late '60s, I was in the habit of putting all of my photos into albums.

Quite frankly, I couldn't see the point of doing otherwise, and I still can't! I am grateful to still have photos accompanied by my neatly hand-written titles identifying the date and location.

Back then, everyone got their photos developed, unlike now. But not everyone put them into albums. I’m sure we all know someone who has inherited a shoebox of old photos from someone who has passed on. Sometimes, the backs of the photos will name the person and place. But when this information is not recorded, the photos become almost worthless.

What is particularly sad is that the people and circumstances captured were once very important. Important enough for the photographer to take the photo, and go to the effort and expense of having it developed. I find it tragic that the story of someone’s life is lost because photos have not been properly preserved.

The smartphone is becoming today’s version of that shoebox of unidentified photos from yesteryear. Thanks to ease, immediacy and a big storage capacity, thousands of photos are taken and hoarded in smartphones.

Some may feel it is enough to post a few to Facebook, or maybe download them to a laptop or USB. But eventually, those memories you have captured will be lost, unless the photos are printed and scrapbooked into an album, or created into a digital photobook.

Scrapbooking is one of my favourite hobbies. When I first started putting photos into albums, we didn’t call it scrapbooking. But in 2005, I was introduced to Creative Memories and have loved the products and the hobby ever since.

I have a cupboard full of albums that capture the story of our lives to date. I keep a ‘3 generations’ scrapbook for my grandson. The older he gets, the more he enjoys looking through the albums I have created for him since he was born. I hope that one day his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will look through these same albums.

That way, they will know something of his life as well as the lives of his father and grandfather.

Just imagine having a photo album passed down to you that belonged to your great-great-grandmother. What a treasured thing it would be! Holding something in your hands that was created and held by her hands would connect you with her aross the generations and centuries.

Will you have an album to be passed on through the generations of your family, or just a USB containing thousands of unidentified photos?

I really want more people to appreciate the value of preserving memories. Your life is an important one, and future generations will want to know who you were and what was important to you. And so I have launched a .

I would love you to visit, like and follow the page, and share it with your friends. The full range of Creative Memories scrapbooking supplies can be seen by clicking the ‘shop now’ button on the FB page, or by directly visiting my Scrapbooking does not have to be hard, creative or tizzy. There are products to suit all tastes and styles.

If you are already a scrapbooker and regularly buy supplies, I suggest you join Creative Memories as an Advisor. It costs very little and it is effortless – there are no minimum sales or purchases required, you are not required to have parties or hold workshops, and you receive a rebate every time you order. There is really no reason not to join! Details are or you can email me and I will send you more information including current joining offers.

If ‘do something about my photos’ has been on your to-do list for some time, please start right now with this small step: choose just one event - a recent holiday, wedding, birthday celebration, Christmas, new baby - and get the photos off your phone. Delete any blurred and duplicate photos and print the rest.

is the best place for a new scrapbooker to start. This link shows a baby girl album, and there are many others in this range, including the one pictured. You will get such a buzz from completing an album.

And you'll know that you have made a start on preserving your memories for both you and future generations to enjoy.

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