Say Cheese

A picture really is worth a thousand words.

It may seem silly to write a blog about the importance of taking pictures when most of us seem to capture each and every moment on our phones these days. My question is, what do you do with them? I’m that lady who has photo albums dating back to my childhood (let’s just say many decades). Every worthy picture I’ve ever taken has been printed and properly stowed in a photo album – labeled by year. Annoying, aren’t I? It’s so worth it! There is nothing like time traveling through old albums and it just isn’t the same on a computer or thumbing through “recents” on your phone. 

Here are some of the most important things I’ve done with photos over the years.

Social Media – I’m not talking about the regular, “this is what I did today pictures,” although those can be fun too. Taking Throw Back Thursday to a whole new level, my specialty is giving the gift of time for birthdays and special occasions by diving back into that library of photo albums. Whether it’s someone’s long lost senior picture or a particularly memorable (and not-too-embarrassing) image from high school, in my experience, people love seeing these treasures from the past. What’s particularly fun is the comments from new friends of the birthday girl/boy who’ve never seen these pictures before. The banter is very entertaining. 

Special Occasions – Every celebration, from significant anniversaries to decade birthdays, graduations to weddings and even funerals deserve to be commemorated in memorable ways. While often our focus is on documenting the day with current images, it can be a wonderful gift to put together a custom slide show to mark the occasion. A side-perk, digging back through your digital or virtual library of photos is a way to reconnect with often-forgotten memories. Pairing these slide shows with appropriate music makes these productions even more meaningful. 

Custom Cards – My mother was well-known for putting pictures of her family on their birthday cards. Sometimes they weren’t our favorite pictures, but we always knew they were sent from the heart as she treasured the photos she had of everyone (and some of these even came from her pile of old photo albums). These are the cards that get stashed away to bring back warm memories of the lady that wanted to make something special for each occasion.

Gifts – There is no shortage of sources for gifts featuring photos from coffee mugs to calendars, all of which are wonderfully personal keepsakes. These tend to be the gifts that keep on giving because even if they get tucked away in a drawer, who is going to throw away a t-shirt or mouse pad featuring their children? One of the best gifts we gave my mother-in-law suffering from dementia was a blanket featuring photos of her grandchildren. She may not have recognized them all the time, but the kids were always there to keep her warm. 

Photo Albums – I love the digital age because I can permanently store my photos, catalogued by event and year of course, for easy access no matter what the purpose. I’ve used this as an easy source for making custom photo books. Each year, my husband gets a new one on Father’s Day that chronicles our family pontoon escapades. I also typically take the images from the special occasion slide show mentioned earlier and put them into an album as a gift. This has been a lovely way to mark 50th anniversary celebrations, significant birthdays, and graduations.  

Videos – Friends who’ve recently had children will attest to the fact that I’m constantly pestering them to take videos as well as still images. I didn’t realize how important these were until I compiled years of home videos of our children, including their births, onto CD’s. They were completely captivated by watching themselves as youngsters, especially during the holidays. Hearing their own voices and seeing their interaction with family members is priceless. So, while pictures are worth a thousand words, videos capture a thousand voices that will never be forgotten.

At Cherry Creek Guest House, photos are key. Having professional photos taken of our property helped alleviate the “pictures don’t do it justice” comments.  We are also fortunate to have two photographers in our family who have enhanced our decor. My father has taken many beautiful black and white images around Big Sky country that are displayed throughout the home to mark the historic sites and treasures he’s photographed. Our son has captured several images that we proudly feature, including one of our favorite neighborhood moose. 

Since we purchased the property five years ago, we’ve taken before, during, and after photos of every renovation we’ve done. These too are captured in annual photo books so we can see how far we’ve come. We are quick to snap images of our beautiful bald eagles and red-tailed hawks in the tall tree by the river behind our home along with the deer, wild turkeys, pheasants, owls, and countless other “Cherry Creek Critters.” These are shared in a coffee table book and posted on our social media sites

So, whether you are an excellent photographer, a quick snapper, or just a hobby photo journalist, take the time to organize and store your one-of-a-kind images and spread the joy by sharing them in your own creative ways.

The opportunities for your next Montana adventure are unlimited and Cherry Creek Guest House is ready to serve as your home away.

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