Recording family memories has come a long way in the past decade. From large wonky handheld camcorders to smartphones that fit neatly in our pocket, it has never been easier to record big family moments. No longer do you need clunky cassette tapes and/or large battery packs that are the size of a suitcase. It’s even considered to be a healthy hobby now by many people with access to sharing content on social media.
Since so much has changed, we thought we’d create a guide on how to make the most of current technology and safe keep it for the future. Here are the tools and guidance to recording family memories AND keeping them safe!
- Recording devices
- Recording equipment
- Photo books and scrapbooks
- Digitize old photos
- Capture the mundane moments
Before talking about equipment or phones, let’s talk about safeguarding your data. Most parents are going to take photos and videos on their phones. You need a place to store that data in case you upgrade your phone or lose it. The best option to do this is with cloud storage, which does not tie your photos to any specific device, but rather stores your photos over the internet. This means that should an accident happen to your home or your device becomes corrupted, you can still access those photos.
There are two major players in this field, and some third-party options to keep in mind.
Apple iCloud Photos
Integral to every Apple product, iCloud Photos will store your photos on your Apple drive. Every iPhone comes with 5GB of storage for free, which will fill up fast. After that, you can get up to 2 Terabytes worth of storage for $10. If you have any Apple devices, this may be the best option for you. Uploading photos is super simple if you are already in the ecosystem. Apple has a ton of features to categorize photos and make organization and printing super simple. The cloud system also has a feature for eliminating unwanted photos.
Google Photos is simple, intuitive, and straightforward. You can upload photos with a touch of a button, and Google can automatically categorize your photos. The cloud-based works well on both android and iPhone, although to qualify for the free plan your photos must stay under 16-megapixels. Your video content must also have a resolution of 1080p or less. If your photos are a higher megapixel count, or you want to shoot videos in 4k, you can get 1 terabyte of storage a month for $10.
These are the main players for those who plan on using their phones for filming and taking photos. They provide ease of access and can streamline your uploading process. Both of these services can store professional photos as well at higher resolutions. You’ll just need to pay for the extra storage. If these don’t suit your needs you can find other options here.
A word of caution – in the unlikely event that somehow your photos still become lost, copy some of your photos on an external hard drive as well. Don’t use social media as a photo backup.
While most people will be using a smartphone as their preferred recording device, there is always the option to use a camcorder. Using a camcorder will still allow you to use your phone while recording family memories. A camcorder can also be:
- Easy to operate
- Have stabilization technology (some phones have this too)
- Record in 4k
- You are not limited in storage capacity like you are on your phone
- Have long-lasting batteries
- Multiple price points
- Can be small enough to be put in a bag
- Can be the first step when starting a family vlog
However, camcorders are not necessary when recording family memories. In fact, with the proper equipment, you can take some excellent videos and photos.
Some classic pieces of equipment that will help you take your videos and photos to the next level are.
- Selfie sticks
- Shotgun mic
- Portable power bank
A tripod will give your videos more stability when walking or doing physical activities. Additionally, they can help you film large groups of people. For instance, when Christmas rolls around you don’t have to film each kid one by one while they open presents. When you do that, your arms and hands are going to get tired, and your phone is more likely to pick up your breathing, which can be really annoying on playback. Use a tripod to capture everyone’s reactions! You can even multiple tripods, a small one for travel and a large one for recording family memories at your home.
While tripods may be great for filming, if you want to take photos on the go consider grabbing a selfie stick. Relatively inexpensive, selfie sticks can help you take great photos of your family. It will also help you capture more of your background which is perfect for family vacations.
If you really want to up your game, try buying a shotgun microphone or lavalier microphone. A shotgun microphone is a microphone that will pick up audio that is directly in front of it. It also blocks out the sound that surrounds the microphone. This can be great for family trips, as it can block out unwanted sounds when filming among other people. You can get shotgun mics for phones or camcorders.
Sometimes, people want to create the perfect atmosphere when recording family memories. If you want to take a more serious approach to record family memories or events, lighting will make your videos more professional. For instance, you could use lighting when recording family members telling their life stories or filming after dark.
Portable power bank
Whether you’re using your phone or a camcorder, you never want to run out of battery when the perfect moment comes. Instead, carry a portable power bank that can help you stay ready for whatever life throws at you!
Photo Books and scrapbooks
So you have your digital backups and you have your hard drive backups. Now what? Why have the photos if you can’t view them or decorate with them? There are a couple of ways to enjoy your photos and decorate your home with them. You can make photo books and scrapbooks. You can also decorate your living room with framed photos or polaroids.
Photo books are rather large books in which every page contains large-scale photos. They make great coffee table pieces and are great conversation starters. Some even come with unique designs and writings for the pages as well.
Scrapbooks are books that usually contain multiple photos on one page. You can print out photos and put them into protective covers within the book. Most people used to put polaroids on scrapbook pages. However, due to the rise of smartphones that’s fallen out of style. If you still want that polaroid look for your scrapbook or home you still can! You can use a polaroid printer to print photos right from your phone! It’s a classic way to record your family memories.
Digitize old photos
Over the years, old photos of loved ones may start to break down. Loved one’s faces who passed away may be forgotten without photos. If you want to make sure you have those photos forever you should digitize your photos. Use apps like Photoscan to scan old photos and save them on your phone and upload them to the cloud. It’s a great way for recording family memories and help you always keep the past with you.
Capture the mundane moments
Finally, one of the best pieces of advice we can give you when it comes to recording your family memories is to capture the small and mundane moments. While it may be tempting to only remember the highlights, don’t. As your children grow older, you’ll miss those sweet moments of cooking in the kitchen or playing tag. It can actually be a great way to have fun at home. You can always edit those videos later. Keep the cameras rolling during moments like:
- Reading before bedtime
- General play around the house
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