5 ways to celebrate Family History Month

September’s Save Your Photos Month focused on creating good archival habits to prevent your family history from fading. This month, as declared by Congress back in 2001, is all about celebrating that history! Here are five ways we at Mike’s Camera can help you do that.

1. Archiving (in case you haven’t heard)

I’ve mentioned the ways our scanning services can help you a few times, and it still bears repeating! Our archival experts can bring almost anything into a form accessible to the modern age:

And, if you’re looking to work with slides or negatives, hurry in before Saturday. Our 75¢/slide or negative strip sale is on, and it’s the best price you’re gonna find!

The importance of continually updating your archive to keep it safe and well-preserved can not be overstated, but making your archive easily accessible enables you to use them in so many exciting ways.

2. Heal time’s wounds

Not only are we experts in archiving memories as they are, we can work wonders when you want to preserve them as they were. Damaged prints? Want a background changed, color tweaked, or a person included in a special family photo? If it’s possible to restore your photos, we can do it. We can even clean up your old audio and video recordings, though adding characters might be a little beyond the scope of our services.

3. Shoot your wife! Frame your kids!

For the photographic greats of your family (whether that means great art photography or photographs of great people), our custom framing service is the piece of the puzzle you may be missing. Trust me—great images look pretty darn good on their own, but they look amazing with the right frame. Dust off the double exposures your dad shot in the ’80s or make a “hall of presidents” style wall to memorialize your lineage.

Psst: 50% off custom frames (or mats, in CA) happens to be the upcoming Pick of the Week! Place your order between October 7th and 20th to take advantage of this great deal.

4. Present stories the way they deserve to be presented

Did you know that Mike’s Camera provides CD/DVD authoring services, as well? If you have a tape of your grandpa casually killing it on the guitar, a video of your mom dropping jaws as Ophelia in college, or any other underrated record of talent at risk of ephemerality, bring it to us! Imagine Grandpa’s face when you hand him a professionally-printed CD in a sharp-looking case with his own face on the front… It almost brings a tear to my eye to imagine it!

Books are an excellent way to give the deluxe treatment to both text and photos. We can produce anything from simple, inexpensive books if you want to give all the grandkids a start in their history all the way to archival photographic prints in a coffee-table-style lay-flat book. Great projects that I’ve seen include:

  • A cookbook (I’ve been meaning to get around to this one! Everyone knows mom’s cooking is the best…)
  • Faithful reproductions of formerly one-of-a-kind handmade storybooks
  • Genealogy reference guide
  • Life-story books
  • “What life was like back when”
  • Life on the old family homestead

The possibilities are limitless! We’ve even worked with a bookbinding partner to make professional books hundreds of pages long. Whatever you want to preserve for your family, it’s probably possible even in short runs. Let’s see what we can come up with together.

5. Record new family history

We’ve focused, so far, on how to use material that’s already been recorded to celebrate family history. Don’t forget that someone has to do the recordings in the first place! The technology available today makes it easier and cheaper to make unprecedentedly high-quality records of our lives. Take advantage and take a moment to change your perspective—think like a creator rather than consumer of archives, and the rest of your family will thank you.

One of the best things I ever did was get a high-quality pocket audio recorder. They’re a little more expensive than voice recorders intended for business or lecture usage, but hearing a cherished family member’s voice, crystal clear, telling the stories important to them—that’s invaluable. I started recording parts of visits with family members (especially when they’re ready to launch into a favorite story), and I’ve found it’s an easy habit to keep up with, a great memory aid, and helpful when you miss someone. The Zoom H1n is pocket-sized, simple, and not much over $100: a great way to get started. Other options include higher-end recorders (see the Zoom H4n and H5 if you want to record with more advanced options available) and external microphones for the camera you already have—shooting video is an even more complete way to record someone, after all!

After you’ve created these, dig into a little editing (for audio, Audacity is a great freeware way to get started) and come back to us at Mike’s to make some of those CDs or DVDs we talked about earlier. Dad’s Greatest Fishing Stories, anyone?

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