Finding Joy Through Family History Photobooks with Photo Coach Kathy Jones

Blonde woman looking at camera, smiling
Kathy’s photo business has become a passion of helping others

Kathy Jones’ mother had a special possession that brought her comfort and later inspired Kathy—a Brownie Box camera she bought in 1940.

Read on to learn how Kathy combined her interest in family history with organizing and storing photos for future generations.

Family History and Photos

Family history has been part of Kathy’s personal story. Her maternal grandparents were homesteaders who grew up in sod houses in Nebraska, and her paternal grandparents were migrant agriculture workers in California during the Great Depression. Kathy’s mother, who faced her own challenges, documented life stories with what’s now considered a rare photographic find. During high school, Kathy’s mother saved money from an after-school job and bought a Brownie Box camera.

Old Kodak Camera
Woodbridge Suffolk UK June 29 2021: A classic Kodak Box Brownie vintage camera; Depositphotos.com

Kodak originally rolled out the camera in 1900 to bolster film sales. New models were made in the following decades and some of the cameras cost as little as $1. For another 15 cents, you could buy a roll of film that was good for six exposures.

After Kathy’s mother married, moved to northern California, and had children, she became the family photographer. The Brownie Box camera was still in use.

“I have a photo of my mother holding a six month-old me and that camera. She had me in one arm, with the camera clutched in her hand. I always say my love of photos started when I was just a baby.”

Kathy recalls how sometimes life was tough, but her mother would often take pictures of the children, and those photos became an escape and a way to build family connections.

“During the winters when it rained a lot, mother would get out the box of photos along with the few photo albums she made, and we’d glance through and talk about the pictures. It was a great memory for me.”

Emotional Support through Photobooks

After Kathy started her own family, she carried on her mother’s tradition and became the family’s photographer—with an upgrade in cameras, of course. Kathy was a public schoolteacher who eventually combined her interests in photography and documenting family history and genealogies.

Her passion took on a new depth of meaning in 2010 when her young adult son was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. That’s when she discovered digital photobooks, or what she now refers to as Family Photo Books.

“My son had a rare neuromuscular degenerative disease and always lived with us. While he battled cancer in 2010, I made a photo book chronicling his life as a way to cheer him up and remind him of all his wonderful accomplishments. Getting up to speed on all the new digital scrapbooking software was a challenge at first, but as a retired schoolteacher and lifelong crafter, I found that I soon took to it like a duck to water.

Before my son died, he was able to look through the photo book and see himself running and playing. We had pictures of our vacations, and he could look back on his childhood. He told me it brought him a lot of joy.”

Cut to now and Kathy has created over 35 heirloom-quality Photo Books for herself, family, friends, and clients. Photo editing, restoration, organization and storage, photography, and album design and layout have become a passion.

Woman in front of computer monitor looking at film negatives.
Family photo books, converting old media to digital and photo editing are among Kathy’s services offered

Kathy later met Melody Whitehead at a family history conference, and Melody urged Kathy to turn her love of photos and photobooks into a business. She could help others with their photo goals.  In 2016 Kathy launched her business and started acquiring clients.

In January of 2018 Kathy started her own photo journal project called Day2Day. The FOREVER Day2Day Project is all about taking a photo a day, making a weekly page using FOREVER’s Artisan and sharing your daily lives with others who are participating in the same project.

In February of that year her husband developed pancreatic cancer. This was a terrible blow to Kathy, and she thought about stopping the Day2Day project, but friends advised that it might be good therapy.

“I kept it up and documented what was happening in our lives. The weekly themes encouraged me to look around, see my blessings, and to understand what was good in my world, despite some days being difficult. It was a powerful activity for me.

During my husband’s illness we had many friends and relatives visit, and I’m glad I documented those memories. They brought me great comfort after his death.”

Kathy has kept the project going for four years.

“It’s been a record of my life using a medium, an art form, that I already loved.”

The loss of her spouse motivated Kathy to brand her business, Photo Coach Kathy.

Offering Photo Services

“It’s been a great career, and socially the contacts are wonderful. I love helping my clients, both ones who are local and others who are out of state.”

Her clients have a variety of needs, and to meet them she offers a variety of services and utilizes the offerings of FOREVER, FOREVER – A Complete Memory Keeping Platform  that’s guaranteed to last for your lifetime, plus 100 years.

“One client makes a lot of photobooks, so I’ll coach her through them. For others, I help them re-capture their memories by digitizing their photos and videos.”

Woman standing looking at monitor with woman sitting
Kathy loves helping her clients discover the full potential of family photos; photo by Kathy Jones

 

Kathy just completed a large project with one family who had initially sent their VHS videos to Costco to store on a read-only DVDs. Locating specific events to watch was difficult. Kathy helped itemize individual video clips and then helped the family

2 couples on a train
Photo editing is one of Kathy’s specialties

send these Costco DVDs to FOREVER for digitization. They will be able to easily find and view specific birthday, anniversary, or vacation videos now. She is also working on a family reunion photo book for this same family.

If you look at your family photos, you’ll notice in some pictures there are distractions in the background or perhaps your subject, it could be you, has too many wrinkles!

Kathy offers photo editing to clean up the shots that are most meaningful. In her portfolio, you can see how she’s cleaned up the Before and After shots.

She can remove someone lingering in the background and do other cosmetic touch-ups like turning eyes closed into eyes open. This way, family photos are presented in the best possible context.

Family photos are memories that are an irreplaceable asset and a source of strength. Kathy knows she’s blessed to show families how to preserve their pictures so they can enjoy them for generations to come.

 

What Do You Need?

 

Two women looking at smartphones
Kathy enjoys helping families treasure their family albums

 

Contact Kathy for a free call to learn more about:

  • documenting your family’s past and present
  • digital conversion of old media files and storage
  • photo editing and touch-ups
  • tech assistance

And if you have a passion for helping others with their family photos, then ask Kathy what it’s like to turn a hobby into a branded business.

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