What To Do With All Those Pics?

Posted on January 11, 2016 by April Lahti | 0 comments

The holidays are over and hopefully you have some wonderful memories and some fantastic holiday photos.  But maybe you are like me and unless you actually look back through your camera you won't see any of them.  This seems to be the case with most everyone I know.  The digital age has brought us the ability to take more photos than ever before, but most of us actually have fewer photos to look at because we don't keep photo albums on the shelf anymore.  Our cameras and computers hold thousands of images and it seems like a difficult task to find a way to enjoy them. Viewing our pictures is an important part of preserving memories. Here I'll explore some easy ways to share and view some of those precious images.


One way we can share our pics is within online spaces like Flickr, Facebook, and Photobucket.  Commercial image hosting sites like Kodak EasyShare Gallery,  Snapfish and Shutterfly,  as well as software linked sites like Picasa Web Albums have tools to create galleries, photo blogs and slideshows, and you can specify who is able to gain access.


Our computer screensavers at home are set to display photos from folders on our computers.  So whenever we aren't using our computers we get to enjoy a slideshow. 

Make a DVD

DVDs allow you to break up all those thousands of memories into more manageable sized chunks.  You can create a DVD for one year, holiday or event. These DVDs also make a much appreciated gift for the holidays for extended family.  Programs included with many computers you may already own that can help you create a DVD complete with music, effects, and video clips include Windows Movie Maker and iMovie.  Other options available online are Wondershare,  Smilebox and Photodex

TV Slide Show

A popular way to share your favorite images with family and friends is the TV slide show.  You can burn a slideshow you have created to a DVD and play it on your DVD player.  Or you can directly connect your computer, camera, or smartphone to your tv and play images directly.  You can find a simple guide explaining how to do this here. The TV slideshow is an interesting and fun backdrop during family gatherings or parties.

Photo Book

I gave a photo book to my husband this year for Christmas.  It displays the highlights of our family trips and memories of 2015.  He said it was probably his favorite Christmas gift of all time and has been showing it to everyone who visits and even taking it with us when we visit family.  I also gave one to my Mom that showcased pictures from vacations to Florida that I have taken with her and my sister.  There is something about a photo book that is very appealing- a nicely bound hardcover book that you can personalize in so many ways including text and stylistic themes. It is something you can hold in your hand, flip through the pages and take as much time as you like which is so refreshing in this digital age. I created mine through Shutterfly and there are many other sites that provide this service.  They make it very simple to upload pics and design your book.

Photo E-book

An e-book is similar to the above photo book but you don't print it.  Instead you publish and share it electronically as a PDF.  Advantages include complete creative control, cost, and being able to link to it in social media platforms or blogs.  Popular tools for creating a photo e-book include Adobe InDesign and Scribus (Free).  Digital Photography School gives a great introduction to photo e-books here.


Digital Photo Frame

Of course we must mention the ever popular digital photo frame with sizes ranging from 1.5 inch to 17 inches.  Pictured here is the new "Cube" which is a photo frame device that when connected to WiFi streams pictures from your social media platforms- including those of your friends, family and followers.  As well as making it easy to view your pics, photo frames make terrific gifts for parents and grandparents- especially if you include a memory card filled with family photos. You can find a guide to the top frames here.

How do you like to view or display your photos? Please share your ideas in the comments section below!




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A Love Story

Posted on November 13, 2015 by April Lahti | 0 comments

The history of lovers carving their names in trees goes way back.  Why do they do it?  There is something very appealing about  leaving a testament of your undying love on a tree that you know will stand long after you are able to.

Once in a while I get a really awesome heartfelt note from a customer who tells me why their personalized print means so much to them.  Danielle bought a personalized tree print as a surprise anniversary gift for her boyfriend that he was to find at the end of a scavenger hunt she set up for him.  Danielle's story is so touching and sweet and she agreed to let me share it with you. 

Here it is:

"Hey April! 
It's perfect! Words can't explain how thankful I am for this print. I've been keeping him going daily with different riddles leading him up to this photo. When Brian and I had our first date, we went on a hike in the beginning of June. As we walked up the path to where the nearby river turned into a water fall, we stopped and gazed at the beautiful site. Being exhausted from our steep hike, we found a nice shady spot under a tree where sat and talked for hours. It was silly how both of us were so shy with each other because we both knew we liked each other and felt our connection. With the time passing and the courage to talk a little more about each others dreams and thoughts, we knew we were meant to be together. It felt like it was straight out of a story book to us, that we actually found the one. It became our spot that tree; it's where we shared our first date, our first kiss, our first "I love you's"; it was perfect because it was our start of our story. We would go to that spot whenever we had the chance to, but being that we moved three states away, we had to leave our spot behind. So when I was thinking of gift ideas for him, I knew that this picture would be perfect for the both of us; officially making our cozy little apartment "our spot" with our names carved into the tree. I honestly can't wait to see his reaction  of when he sees the picture. Bring that I've been giving him a riddle a day leading up to this surprise, he's been getting antsy with excitement. The picture couldn't of been sent to us at more of a perfect time because the big reveal is coming up soon. 
So when I mean words can't describe how thankful I am for this photograph, I truly mean it. It holds a large story in my heart and within his and I can't wait to hang it on our wall. 
Thank you once again for giving us a chance to have our spot back again. 
What's your story?


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The Little Red Barn

Posted on November 02, 2015 by April Lahti | 0 comments

It was a goal of mine this fall season to try and create a personalized image that featured a red barn and foliage.  I've often wondered why barns are so appealing to people (including myself)--and why does red seem to be the most popular color?  They have a rugged character and authenticity, and are a reminder of a different time.  At one time in New England they were everywhere--when people lived closer to the land and lived in harmony with it.


It is thought that they are red because long ago European farmers would mix rust into the linseed oil that they used to seal the wood. The rust was plentiful on the farm and would kill the fungi and moss that often would tend to grow on barns.  When the Europeans settled in America, they kept the tradition of the red barn which was helpful because when paint started to be used instead of oil, red paint was the least expensive.

Now in our modern lives, barn wood has become highly sought after as people have become more separated from the land but seem to have an innate longing to stay connected in small ways.

It is so popular that people like Tony Enos of  AbeMade.com are creating livings for themselves by taking wood from old barns and making it into beautiful and useful objects and accents for our homes:


Barns are so beloved that many couples even choose them for a wedding venue. Although at first thought it might seem strange to mix farms and weddings, they are a natural place to celebrate love because they hold a strong connection to nature and the nurturing of living things. They can be perfect for either a casual rustic wedding or an elegant refined one because the barn is a blank canvas that can be transformed into a very personal and romantic reflection of the couple.

It was my hope to create a personalized image for people who love barns or have a special connection to them. I headed out to the hills of Western Connecticut. By the time I found a picture with all the elements I was looking for, the sun was quite high in the sky and the shadows were dark. The foliage wasn't as far along as I had hoped it would be and the following picture was the result:

Yay!  I finally had my "little red barn" picture.  I got it home and tried to come up with a Photoshop technique to "carve" names in the fence.  But it was difficult because of the way the light was hitting (or not hitting) the fence.  And it bothered me that the leaves weren't as far along in their fall color as I had hoped.  I decided I would have to find a time to go back another day.

The next time I went (1 1/2 weeks later) it was a cloudy day.  Perfect. The clouds acted like a huge diffuser umbrella in the sky and evened out all those harsh shadows. And the trees had a chance to put on their brilliant autumn outfits.  I finally had a red barn picture that I was happy with:

What a difference 1 1/2 weeks can make in nature! 

And here it is personalized:





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Lost and Found

Posted on October 24, 2015 by April Lahti | 0 comments

I thought I would share one of my recent experiences while on one of my fall photo-taking "adventures". They might not qualify as adventures to some-- but for me these photo trips are the only times when I'm not completely sure of where I'm going or what I will see--and these days those are the kinds of adventures I'm having. 

It was 7:00 am, the kids had just gotten on the bus and I was excited to get going.  I tried to map out my photo route on Google Maps before I left because I felt like I needed a printed copy of directions in case my phone failed me.  Not a great idea.  Once again I became hopelessly locked in a battle with my computer that I knew I probably wouldn't win.  I couldn't figure out how to have part of the route avoid highways and part of the route not to avoid highways.  After 30 minutes of wasting my precious morning light I just headed out the door.  I didn't get far.  We live in a beautiful area in Putnam county, NY dotted with reservoirs where you can often see rowboats pulled up on the shore.  I have rarely seen fishermen out on the water, but I suppose they are probably there and gone long before I'm usually even awake.  From the road I could see the way the light was shining off the water and reflecting through the trees and it was so pretty that I had to stop and investigate further.  I found a place to pull off the road and there was another car.  A fisherman, perhaps?  Probably.  Hopefully not some psycho lurking in the woods.  The thought crossed my mind but it wasn't enough to keep me from going after a potentially awesome picture.  Yeah.  I do that pretty often.

I was in a bit of a panic because there is really only a window of a couple of hours in the morning where the light is soft, warm and directional.  So I hopped out of the car, slung my camera bag over my shoulder and headed down through the wooded area toward the shore.  I was excited about taking pictures and sometimes when that happens I forget about everything else.  Like what I happened to be doing with the car keys in my hand.  I knew that I had to transfer them from my hand to my camera bag but apparently this was not enough of an important detail to pay close attention to.  At some point in my rush down to the shore and without looking (because my eyes were focused on the beautiful scenery in front of me), I stuffed them into the side pocket of my camera bag.  Or so I thought.

I got down to the water.  Saw the fisherman on his boat.  It was beautiful but the lighting wasn't quite what I hoped it would be.  I took a few shots and headed back to the car. This is the result of my time down by the water...

When I got to the car, I went into my camera bag for my keys and they weren't in either side pocket.  Hmm.  This situation wasn't completely foreign to me though-- I'm often standing outside my locked car searching through my messy receipt-filled purse for my keys.  But I usually find them eventually.  This time they weren't in any pocket.  Then it dawned on me.  I didn't put the keys in the side pocket of my camera bag- but instead in the loop thingy on the side of my camera bag which I guess is for attaching things.  The problem is when you put keys inside of a loop, they fall through.  I realized this is what happened and my heart sank to my knees as I looked back in the direction from where I had just come.  I don't know if I mentioned this...but the ground was covered in a thick blanket of leaves. This is what the ground looked like:

There was no trail.  I had blazed my own trail but I couldn't even tell where I had been because when you walk on a blanket of leaves It doesn't really show.  And you can't hear a set of keys drop over the crunching of leaves under your feet.  My heart sank even further when I realized that we only had one key to this car.  Our other set of keys was lost over two years ago and we had never gotten our car keys replaced but have just been dealing with the inconvenience.  So even if I was able to get my husband on the phone (which I tried- but no luck), he wouldn't be able to come rescue me with the other keys.  Because they didn't exist.  My brain wouldn't allow me to think of what was next if I couldn't find them.  Are there locksmiths for cars?  I stopped thinking about it.  There were only two things to do.  I started to retrace what I thought was my path.  And I prayed.

It seemed like an impossible task.  I could walk right over them and not see them if they had fallen through the leaves.  This was how I was going to be spending my day-- getting out of this. So much for my photo trip.  I hoped that the fisherman was a friendly guy because I was pretty sure I would be seeing more of him soon and would have to explain my ridiculous situation.

I wasn't even sure where I had walked but I tried to find any indication of where the leaves might have been moved by my feet.  I got all the way down to the water where I had taken several photos.  And by some miracle- there they were!  Just lying on top of the leaves.  They must have hung on for as long as they could to the loop-- this was far from the place where I had put them "away".  It's really hard to describe the relief and joy I felt.  And only about another 20 minutes of my morning light had been wasted.  It could have been so much worse.  Prayer answered.  Maybe now I should seriously think about getting another key made for the car...




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