Storyteller Productions

Organizing, Preserving, and
Showcasing your Special Photos

Help! How do I organize my twin’s B’nai Mitzvah Video Montage?

October 24th, 2016

How do you organize a B’nai or B’not Mitzvah montage for a set of twins? Believe it or not, you can follow the same categories, and outline that you would for an individual girl or boy, everything is just doubled.

There are two options on how to organize:

  • By Category (one song per category)
  • By Chronological Story (simply 13 photos from each year with 4-5 songs)

If you decide to go with categories (which we actually recommend), we’ve listed the appropriate folders to form on your desktop for making a 150 photo montage (8-10 minutes long). Here is a sample of a B’not Mitzvah which follows a category outline. It has other video clips interspersed between the categories (which is not required), but you can see what we mean.

 

 

Category 1: Baby Pics (Ages 1-3)

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Category 2: Sibling Pics

twin-montage-2c

 

Category 3: Immediate Family Pics

twin-montage-3

 

Category 4: Extended Family Pics

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Category 5: School/ Camp Friend Pics

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Category 6: Sports/Activity/Hobby Pics

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Category 7: Solo Pics (Ages 4-13)

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And Wa-La! There you have it. For more answers to your questions, and in depth guidelines on how to get started, contact the team at Storyteller today!

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Why you should scan your paper photos

October 10th, 2016

Everyone has paper photos. Many of us have stored our older paper photographs in photo albums or shoeboxes. And while we may think that they are protected, the truth is…older photo albums and non-acidic boxes which hold our treasured memories, often damage the images they are meant to protect.

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They turn brown

You heard it right. Based off of the type of ink that was used for printing the photo and how it’s stored, our photos fade. Some turn a brown, yellow or reddish shade of color. Paper photos are also susceptible to mold damage, so you should always store your photos in a place within the home that has the most consistently median heat (50 to 70 F) and low humidity.

They are inaccessible

Who wants to dig through the attic or a scary basement to look for those long lost memories? Albums and shoeboxes are so clunky and dusty – no wonder they never receive any visitors. Make it easier by scanning those paper photos and making digital photo albums on sites like Shutterfly or Mixbook. Better yet, contact Storyteller to design one for you!

Fire or Flood Loss Prevention

Fires and floods do happen, and they have the power to swallow up those memories forever. But if you digitize your photos, they’ll not only be in a safe place (ie: an external hard drive or cloud), but your other family members may enjoy them as well.

 

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Scanning photos might seem easy, but like everything with technology, there are a few things that can go wrong.

  • People forget to crop the images
  • Scanners might have default settings turned on, which should be turned off
  • People don’t scan the right resolution
  • The photos are saved in the wrong format
  • The scanner used is not optimum for archiving purposes

When preserving your memories, why not hire the a professional who can save you the time and stress? Contact us for finding ways on how we can help you get started on scanning your photo collection!

If you’re a DIY’er, we recommend educating yourself before taking on the huge task of scanning your own photo collection if you have no prior experience. Proceed with caution, and scan in small batches to ensure everything has been properly archived!

You wouldn’t want to scan 1500 paper photos, only then to find out that a setting was wrong. We urge you to either contact a professional like Storyteller, or seriously educate yourself on scanning your own materials.

Happy Memory Preserving!

 

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3 Common Mistakes to Avoid when Scanning Photos!

September 26th, 2016

If you have time and are taking on the huge task of scanning your own photos, please read these tips for better scans!

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1. Crop the Previewed Image.

Many people make the mistake of not cropping the photo before they hit the scan button. This will cause a white background to appear on all sides of the photo, resulting in a lower quality scan of the actual photo.

2. Choose the right resolution.

A good rule of thumb is to scan your photos at a minimum of 300dpi (Dots Per Inch) to assure decent quality for enhancement and restoration techniques. If your photo is smaller than the usual size (2×4 or smaller), scanning it at 600dpi or larger would be better.

3. Avoid using correction effects while scanning.

While checking certain effects like unsharp mask or color correction may seem like time savers, they might make your photos look worse. Just scan your image with its original look. Then afterwards, try to make any corrections in a graphics software program which offers much more control.

 
 

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Photo book sites should not serve as the only backup for your photos!

September 12th, 2016

Many families use websites such as Shutterfly or Snapfish to make beautiful photo books, photo prints, or Holiday cards. They are super accessible, and easy for the average (or advanced) consumer…with a ton of cool templates!

On the other hand, although these websites provide some super fun gifts, we have to be careful with storing our photographs on them. The reason being, they should not serve as the only backup for your photo collection.

Classic Client Question

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So what’s the big deal?

One would think that once you’ve uploaded your photos to these websites, you’d be able to get your images back with no problem. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that these sites were never intended to be permanent cloud storage.

These companies simply act as a server to design photo gifts, and not to be used as a backup for photos. Many clients think, I’ve uploaded and organized my photos on Snapfish, what does it matter if my external hard drive died or if I lost my originals – I can view my photos any time I want.

Sure, you can definitely view your images, but the reality is that these sites make it a slow and tedious process to get your images back… without actually paying money or spending invested time downloading high res pics one at a time.

What’s your recommendation?

Our recommendation is to always store your original pics independently of software on at least 2 duplicated external hard drives, plus one cloud option including BackblazeCarbonite or Dropbox. For permanent cloud storage for your consolidated photos, Forever.com is a great option. Make sure to always change out your external hard-drives every 3 years, and test them when it’s time to turn the clocks for daylight savings.

If you love Shutterfly or Snapfish, and want to continue working with such photo gift websites, you can certainly do so! Just be sure that the photos you are uploading are not the only “backup” of your originals. It’s always better to have your photos backed up somewhere, outside of any software platforms, so you can access them if there are future problems with whatever software company you are using to view your photos.

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What if my photos are stuck on one of these sites?

If you do have your only originals on these sites, we really recommend extracting them as soon as possible. We’ve posted instructions on how to do so from Shutterfly and Snapfish (see below). If you’re leery of doing this on your own, contact us for a Photo Organizing Session to get you on the right track to storing your photo collection.

How do I get my original digital photos off of shutterfly?

photostory_icon_1024pxIf you only have a couple of images that you’d like to extract from Shutterfly, you could double click on the thumbnail of the desired photo. This will enlarge the thumbnail to a larger preview. From there, hit ctrl + click. A tab will pop up, and you can select the “save image as” option.

This will save a low resolution copy of your original photo to your computer. Granted, a low res copy can still look very pixelated when trying to reprint or reproduce in other formats, and we recommend obtaining the full resolution photo.

To get your full resolution photos from Shutterfly, you have to order an Archive DVD. To be directly connected to this service, you can log in to your account and click this Shutterfly Archive DVD Link. The prices are as follows:

1-100 pictures: $9.99
101-500 pictures: $14.99
501-1000 pictures: $19.99
Each additional 999 pictures, $4.99
Shipping & Handling not included

How do I get my original digital photos off of Snapfish?

snapfishIt’s a little bit more tricky to get your original photos off of Snapfish for various reasons. Originally owned by District Photo, Snapfish was sold to Hewlett-Packard in 2005. Back then, you were able to buy archival discs of your whole library for payment (like Shutterfly).

But then somewhere along the line, they changed their process so the archival discs were no longer available. Hence, Snapfish’s Classic Website began to offer the downloadable batch zip files, including up to 50 images at a time.

However, in November 2015, District Photo reacquired Snapfish as Hewlett-Packard wanted to split and refocus its operation. As of today, Snapfish’s Classic Website is no longer available, and Snapfish users who want to extract their original high quality photos have to download them ONE AT A TIME. In order to to this, you’ll have to click the photo which you want to obtain, and hit the “download” button on the top right.

Granted, this can be very tedious for people with collections of 200+ photos who have their originals backed up to Snapfish. For those clients who want to extract their photos from Snapfish, we recommend downloading your “A Select” photos a little bit each day. It will probably take about an hour to download anywhere from 180-250 images depending on your internet connection.

What’s the most important lesson here?

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Do you have comments, suggestions or questions about this blog post? Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

 

Posted in Cloud Storage for Photos, Photo Organizing |

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Tape video correctly with your smart phone

August 29th, 2016

If you tape video with your Phone, don’t suffer from VVS (Vertical Video Syndrome)! Not sure what VVS is? It’s when people hold the phone vertically instead of horizontally while taping video. And eventually, when those videos are transferred off of the phone to view on a TV screen or internet, they look bad.

View a clip here to understand: Vertically Taped Clips

Hold phone like this while taping video!

The right way to hold a phone while taping video.

 

What’s the lesson?

If you’re catching precious moments of video on your mobile phone, turn the phone horizontally, exactly as you see in the picture above. This will result in the video showing up on the entire space of your TV.

Do you have comments, suggestions or questions about this blog post? Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

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Posted in Special Events Video, Video, Video Conversion |

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Create a video montage on your Phone

August 15th, 2016

With “Back to School” starting and Labor Day right around the corner, parents and families are taking more pictures and videos. I myself posted a cute pic on Facebook of my kids using the Photofy App (super cool for simple or more complex editing!).

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However, I took a TON of other photos which I wanted to utilize and show off for a little video.

With limited time, I always want something automated and efficient – all of my current media is always available on my phone whether it’s for personal or for business.

Being a video editor, I realize that hours can pass if you’re not careful with time-tracking. Sometimes, I just don’t have time to string photos and videos from scratch on my desktop and labtop computers.
 
What follows are some suggested apps for editing video montages from your phone. I’ve edited the same pics and videos within each different app so you can get an idea of the differences. These can be used for personal videos, classroom or sports videos, and small business owners. Not only are these usable on your phone, but on your desktop computers for larger projects.

1. Magisto App (iPhone and Android)

This app has more bells & whistles with effects. I’ve used one template here called “Film Effect”, but there are other templates to choose from which are really cute. You can create a free video with up to 10 photos (about 30 seconds). For longer videos, you’ll have to purchase the business app for $9.99 per month.

Magisto seems more targeted to the teenagers and young adults. You can also use the Magisto software on any desktop computer for larger projects, by going to www.magisto.com. Internet access is needed.

back-to-school

2. IMovie App (For iPhone only)

This app is for those individuals who want much more control with editing than any other apps. You can purchase the iMovie app for a $5 flat fee, and it also comes with any Apple desktop/labtop computer free. It’s for people who prefer the videos to be simple, with limited bells & whistles in effects. iMovie also has a super cute collection of “trailer” templates, where you can pick a “trailer” theme and intermingle your photos and videos.

back-to-school-imovie-version

3. Animoto App (iPhone and Android)

This app has a TON of templates, and is more automated. Lots of creativity and themes for all age types and special events. Whether you want to create a sports video for your child’s soccer team…or a business video of your product, Animoto offers lots of functionality with a quick turnaround. Cons is that we recommend purchasing the Professional Package at $264 per year. But if you make videos from your phone often (for personal or business), it’s well worth it.

Try a free 14 day trial with no credit card required. You can also use the Animoto software on any desktop computer for larger projects, by going to www.animoto.com. You will need internet access.

back-to-school-animoto

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Prepare for your video montage

August 1st, 2016

A video montage intertwines photos, video snippets, titles, graphics and music, making it the perfect time capsule for your Guest of Honor growing up. Whether it’s for a bar or bat mitzvah, wedding, sweet 16, birthday or anniversary party, this video is guaranteed to generate an emotional response.

Here is a short video excerpt of a video montage for a young man’s Bar Mitzvah party, who wanted a family oriented slideshow intertwined with several video clips which included his love of sports. See for yourself how we bring your story alive through the use of photos, videos, music, transitions and 2D effects!
Nathan Bar Mitzvah

Is it worth the money?

Yes, it is worth it! Unlike, the decor, food and flowers…a video montage documenting your special loved one will be an everlasting memory. In addition to enjoying the video during your special event, you’ll also be able to show future generations this video on TVs, smart phones, and tablets forever!

How do I get started?

Creating a fascinating video might seem overwhelming and difficult at first. But with thoughtful preplanning and the use of our tips, you’ll be able to assemble a collection of the best photos, videos and music that will produce an exceptional keepsake to enjoy in the years to come.

 

Tips for creating a good montage:

1. Know your video length and budget

We find that for events, anything around 10 minutes with catchy media, music and graphics is a success. With that in mind, we offer sample packages which range in timing, based on popularity with clients. Of course, we offer videos that may be below or above these guidelines as well, depending on the scope of the project and the amount of media included! For pricing, and more information, contact jenny@storytellerpro.com.

100 photos (6-8 minute video)

  • Up to 100 photosclock_cropped
  • Up to 1 video clips
  • Up to 4 songs

150 photos (8-10 minute video)

  • Up to 150 photos
  • Up to 2 video clips
  • Up to 5 songs

200 photos (10-12 minute video)

  • Up to 200 photos
  • Up to 3 video clips
  • Up to 6 songs

 

2. Create an outline

Bummed out about having this homework? No worries – we’ve got you covered! If you don’t have any ideas of creating an outline, we’ll do it for you. This is included in our consultation process at no extra charge!

Basically, your viewers are expecting to be told a story, through photos and video snippets, documenting an event or theme. We’ll work with you to decide what kind of montage you’d prefer. Whether you want a documentary based style video that echoes the warmth of your family, or a more humorous video with movie or TV snippets – we’ll make the process a breeze, exceeding your expectations!

lady hand writingAs a generality, you can do a chronological order of things. Or you can also have sub themes such as baby birth, family, sports, vacations, etc.

In some of our montages, we’ve incorporated a little bit of both the chronological themes as well as sub themes. IE: a chronological grouping of a child and her dance recitals.

 

3. Photo Selection

Beck-14-2389178709-HAfter you’ve come up with an outline, you can start to choose your photos and videos. Remember, you want quality vs. quantity. No, you don’t have to have sparkling, perfect professional photos…but try to choose pictures that are not too pixelated, light, dark, blurry or low in quality and file size. With today’s 2D and 3D effects, we can make any photo look great (whether it’s horizontal or vertical). Also, don’t worry if your child is in a wide shot. We generally zoom in or out fast with those, so anything works….as long as the subject is in focus.

We take digital and hard copy paper photos, which can be scanned. Each photo is also looked at individually to crop, take out red eye, minor dust and scratches so your photo montage experience can be the best that it can be!

4. Add short video clips

Think about sprinkling in several 10-15 second video clips throughout the slideshow. This is a great way to break up the video montage and keep the audience’s interest. We accept a variety of video formats, including Hi-8, VHS, Mini-DV and digital clips.

5. Choose the music

Music is a very important part to the process, as it will create the mood that you desire for your audience. A great way to start off is to choose songs that have lyrics which compliment your story, and are meaningful to you and your family. You can have a mixture of sentimental songs (slower) with some more upbeat songs (faster and cheerful).

If you are stumped on music and can’t think of any songs, don’t worry – we have a ton of selections that you can choose from…ranging from warm-hearted and sentimental to upbeat and funny!

6. Test your equipment before showing

You find yourself at a family event and the equipment does not work. It is very embarrassing trying to get your prized DVD photo montage to play, all the while losing your viewer’s attention. Always test ALL the equipment prior to the big day if possible. Make sure the projector or television, DVD Player or Laptop, and sound equipment are working properly.

7. Enjoy the show!

Enjoy this video at your event, and enjoy the reactions that arise out of your guests. In addition to enjoying the video during your special event, you’ll also be able to show future generations this video on TVs, smart phones, and tablets forever!

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Posted in Photo Restoration, Photo Scanning, Photo Slideshows, Special Events Video, Video, Video Conversion |

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6 Steps for Organizing your Lifetime of Photos

July 18th, 2016

Whether you’ve inherited a ton of photo albums from your parents, or you’re having a hard time handling your own photo collection – here are streamlined instructions for getting organized! Of course, if you happen to be overwhelmed at any point during the process, contact us for a consultation on how we can help you finish organizing your media!

1.) Gather the Universe

If you’re like the average person, you probably have photos scattered all over (iPad, iPhone, Albums, Shoeboxes, Computer, SD Cards). I recommend buying 2 External Hard Drives specifically targeted to organizing your collection. These external hard drives are duplicates (one is a backup in case something happens to the other). From here, you can start dragging and dropping all of your media onto 1 External Hard Drive.

2.) Create a Core File/Folder Structure

What does this look like? Basically, you can sort your folders by year-who-what where. Create one master folder on your external hard drive, and then list the years chronologically as you see down below in the picture (2014, 2015, 2016). Then within each year, create folders for each month starting with January (2015-01) and so forth. From there, drag and drop the photos into the appropriate folders. Here is an example of what a Core Folder Structure looks like.

3.) Deletion of Duplicates

We all have various duplicates. By having your photos organized chronologically, it makes it much easier to weave out duplicates. Deleting duplicates non-software based can take GOBS of time. To make it easier and more efficient, buy a low cost software to save you time. If you’re on a Mac, try PhotoSweeper for $9.99. If you’re PC based, try Awesome Duplicate Photo Finder (free). As with any software, you will need to invest time in learning how to use them properly.

4.) File Naming/ File Tagging (Meta-Data)

We all know the familiar default photo names like ‘IMG_7832’ or ‘DCM_0542’. But when you’re trying to find a certain photo from a particular date, it can cause a challenge! Even if your photos are divided in to named folders, files can accidentally be switched from folder to folder. This leads to the photo organizers greatest secret: the file naming system of the who-what-where.

file-naming

You can use a variety of programs, such as Adobe Lightroom, Photo Mechanic, Forever.com, Mylio.com to organize Meta-Data. Each program has its Pros and Cons so do your research. These programs can be quite confusing and robust, so make sure you practice on a small batch before doing heaps of organizing.

5.) Sharing on a Cloud Site

There are so many options (Dropbox, Google Photos, Flickr, Amazon)! Whatever you choose, remember to have your photos also backed up to at least 2 external hard drives (as suggested above). After doing much research, I actually use a combination of the following for my own family archives: Forever and Mylio.

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Forever is permanent, cloud based storage. This site is great for people who prefer something simple. They might only have 1 computer and just want to view and share their photos with loved ones, while backing them up. Store your “best of the best” photos here, which you’ll want to show for generations to come. Visit our blog post here, which talks more in depth about Forever.

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mylio-blue

Mylio resides locally on your desktop and other linked devices. Mylio is for those photo enthusiasts which have multiple computers, phones and cameras.  In case someone steals your labtop, all your photos can still be retained on your other labtops or devices. It’s a great organizational toolkit for creating a photo structure, file names, keywords and metadata. Not to mention deleting those unwanted blurry photos. I use Mylio to sort my own photos, keyword. Then my top album photos are transferred to my Forever Account.

6.) Maintenance

I suggest you have a monthly maintenance program in which you designate the 1st week of every month your “photo cleanup week”. Granted, we all get busy with this so that’s what I’m here for! For those of you needing a monthly maintenance program with our photo organization packages, contact us here on getting started!

Posted in Cloud Storage for Photos, Photo Organizing |

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Ideas to Preserve your Child’s Art Work

July 4th, 2016

1.) Make a Photo Book using Plum Print

If you’re too busy to scan, upload and design your own photo books on Shutterfly, Mixbook or Snapfish, Plum Print who will do all the hard work for you. Mail them your artwork, and WA-LA- you’ve got a beautiful coffee table book.

Displaying-Kids-Artwork

Source: Paislee Press

2.) Collage and Portrait Combo

Collages and portraits are a great way to combine art papers, along with showing off the artist. You can follow guidelines here for getting started.

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Source: A Thousand Words

3.) The Masterworks

If you have various papers you’d like to combine within one frame, we love Simply Create Kids! Just send them your kids art work, and they’ll frame it into a masterpiece.

Masterworks

Source: Simply Create Kids

4.) Turn it into a Shirt

This is so clever, and a great way to involve your child for a rainy day project. Guidance on making this: Wearing Art

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Source: Create Celebrate Explore

5.) Clip on a Wire

Clipping art work on a metal wire or hanger can have a modern industrial look for those parents who live in loft style housing.

Clip-Up-Art

Source: The Style Files

6.) Convert into a Key Chain

This is a great unique gift for Mother or Father’s Day. Visit Formia Design to find out more info.

Make-Functional-Key-Chain

Source: Formia Design

8.) Make a stuffed animal

Budsies can create a cuddly stuffed animal. Your child’s imagination comes to life!

Make-Stuffed-Animal

Source: Budsies

9.) Floor to Ceiling Art Gallery

If you’ve got a little extra time on your hands, making a grid on the wall of your child’s artwork can be a masterpiece. Check out guidance for creating this on Martha Stewart Living.

Grid

Source: ©2011, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., originally published in the September issue of Martha Stewart

Posted in Kids Art Work, Photo Scanning |

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Archiving your photos digitally using Forever.com

June 20th, 2016

If you’re looking for a cloud based option to permanently archive AND share all your photos digitally, forever.com is a great choice. I personally use Forever.com for my own family, and have thoroughly researched this software. If you need help with organizing your photos and setting up an account, contact us for a photo organizing session and we can get you started!

Reasons We Love This Site:

1.) IT’S PERMANENT – Unlike other website like Google, Facebook, or Apple, its a Guaranteed Fund (similar to an endowment or insurance policy).

2.) SECURE & PRIVATE –  You keep ownership of your content, which is triple backed up and encrypted

3.) PLAN FOR SUCCESSION & LEGACY – You have tools to hand down your account so it can be managed by your children and their children

4.) EASILY ACCESSIBLE & SHAREABLE – Share and access your entire library on your phone or the web

Watch this video to learn more!

Posted in Cloud Storage for Photos, Photo Restoration, Photo Scanning |

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