The Photos on Your Wall Are Only Telling Part of the Story

Recently I was asked what to do with printed photos. This mom had taken my online photo organization class last year and has been practicing my favorite photo taking party trick, but still had printed pictures that needed her attention.

Without batting an eye, I started to rattle off a list of things she could do with the photos on her walls. Ideas that would help her fill in her fading memory, but also help her kids learn and remember more about their childhood. And as I chatted, I realized that all of us could give these ideas a whirl.

Let’s do a little light work to give more meaning to our printed photos, shall we?

Best photo tips for kids

If you look at one of your pictures, you don’t just see a photo, you see a story… especially if you were the one who took it. Sometimes it takes awhile to fully recall what the photo true story. What were we thinking and feeling when we took it? What else was going on at the time that isn’t in the picture? And more importantly, what made us decide to take it in the first place?


Every photo has a subplot.


Let’s work on ways we can quickly recall it and help our children remember their childhood at the same time.


(1) What to do with the pictures already hanging on your walls:

Most of us hang up our important and meaningful photos. In fact, I’ve dedicated our hallway to our family pictures. I call it our living history hallway because it’s a trip down memory lane every time I walk down it. Many of our friends spend quite a bit of time perusing the land of photos and I so do my crazy babies. I realized that a little backstory would help them see more of what the photo means.

 Easy Tips for Organization of family pictures


An elegant (and simple!) solution is to jot down the location, people and year the photo was taken on the matt.

 Or for those into more detailed record keeping, how about including a little story about the picture in an envelope tucked behind the photo? It can be placed in such a way that you can easily pull out the note to read right there. Or maybe it’s a larger story, in which case a larger envelope can be secured to the back of the picture frame (be sure to keep a copy of the photo and story somewhere safe.

2) How to handle photos already printed and in albums:

Guess what? You can apply the same tips for framed pictures to your albums. Flip through the pages of your album and make note in the margins of names, ages and year. Or secure a letter detailing your thoughts and feelings about the pictures in the album. No need to address every picture, just a high level story will work perfectly.

Imagine your children or grandchildren flipping through these albums in the future. I know my heart flutters a little whenever I see my gram’s writing. I would be thrilled to find a letter telling me about all of the pictures in one of her albums.

3) Getting ready to print a new photo album? Try adding the story right in the album:

Not quite scrapbooking, but the next best thing. When printing up your albums (I like to use Blurb albums), take a little extra time to write a bit about the pictures. Not just what you see, but include WHY you took the pictures. Those are the stories people really want to hear!

Easy Tips for Organization of Photos

4) Create a Family Story album:

This is one I wish I had done ages ago. Design a family history book with a handful of photos from your past (include as many relatives as possible). Write a bit about each photo stitching together a story of your life for you kids.

And that, my friends, is how you infuse a little more meaning into your pictures. For you and your kids.

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Lifestyle family photographer Bay Area

P.S. Need more photo inspiration? Check out these other articles 5 Things I Learned by Organizing My Photos and Creating Meaningful Moments Not Photo Ops