How Journaling Your Photos is Different than Scrapbooking

Barn in Pennsylvania
A prized photo is one that strikes an emotional chord. Photo by Don Simkovich

“Ask yourself: “Does this subject move me to feel, think and dream?” Ansel Adams


Ansel Adams captured America’s grandeur as seen in Yosemite and other national parks. His photographs inspired a movement to preserve the environment and benefitted the work of the Sierra Club.

His pictures left a legacy and teach us an important lesson – our photos can outlast the physical lives we live and serve to inform, educate and inspire the generations who follow in our footsteps.

You may not become a famous photographer like Ansel Adams, but if you safeguard the pictures that you take of your family, then you can a lasting and positive impression.


Learning Journaling from Ansel Adams

In 1927, Ansel Adams made his first fully visualized photograph, Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, and took his first HighTrip. The biography on his website referred to the year as “the pivotal year” of his life.

He also developed a friendship a patron of the arts and that led to the publication of his first portfolio. His creative energies and abilities as a photographer blossomed, and he began to have the confidence and wherewithal to pursue his dreams.

Have you ever seen an exhibit of his photos or an exhibit similar to his?

His pictures are on display and stand alone without special decorating or what we would call “scrapbooking.”

It’s nice to have scrapbooks that are decorated with special glitter and paper, but it’s also a treasure when photos stand on their own merits.

I’ve been a photo coach for 26 years and technology has changed, but not my approach.

Some of us are naturally artistic and love crafts while others of us, myself included, simply don’t have that side of our brain kicking into gear. I’m more organized than artsy and enjoy showing someone the “journaling” side of selecting and organizing photos.

You’re not aspiring to be Ansel Adams, but you want the merits of your photos to last for generations to come.

What kind of photos are we talking about?


Family moments like:

  • Photo by nappy from Pexels

    Small children and their first-time experiences

  • Milestones and events like weddings and graduations
  • Defining moments like promotions, births and adoptions
  • Extended moments
  • Vacations








Hobbies and Recreation

  • Sports victories
  • Sports defeats
  • Running a first marathon … or a last marathon



  • Promotions
  • Demotions or job loss and how you coped



  • Overcoming illness
  • One’s final moments


Choosing and Organizing Your Photos

Think of categories, like the ones above and then choose the photos that you like the best within those categories and then delete the rest.

So where do you place them?

I have clients create a cloud-based, or online, photo album where you can label the album and then upload photos that fit.

Make notes about:

What – what was the event

Who – who was in it

Why – state why it was significant

Where – where did it take place?

When – when did it occur?


This approach is journaling your images—providing just enough information that you create a story.

The notes that you use in journaling will form more of a picture in the minds of those who read about it in the years to come.

And how will they read the notes or see the images?

The albums can be either public or private and you can have links to them so that your children, grandchildren and their children can have access.

It’s an online storage system that I recommend my clients using and it allows you to upload your images, advertisement free, so that they’ll be available for a lifetime plus 100 years. That may sound impossible, but think of how endowments work for universities and consider the business model of insurance companies.

Money from premiums and gifts is set aside and invested so the work continues and funds are available to provide settlements. The cloud storage is only U.S.-based and there’s a free version with 2 gigabytes of storage.

There are paid storage options, of course, that allow multiple family members or friends to access the albums. A percentage of the fees then goes to research and development to stay up-to-date as technology evolves.

Of course, you can still create a scrapbook and through the Safeguard Your Memories team you have access to creating photobooks and other products.

You might make scrapbooks that are great to look at for particular categories such as someone’s baseball or basketball season.

The relief is that you don’t have to keep pulling out thick albums because online digital storage for photos is a proven solution.

I’m Here to Help

Contact me if you have questions and I’ll be glad to answer them.

Also, if you have thoughts of starting a business then I’ll be glad to share my experience as a photo coach.

Office Hours with Melody Event
Melody Whitehead, Safeguard Your Memories

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