Stories from the road

July 14

Tips for Preserving Summer Memories as a Family

Summer is in full swing and lots of families are headed out on vacation. Rather than assigning one person to take all the pictures, share the photographer role and preserve your joyful memories together. Here are five simple tips:

1. Pass the camera around to each person so your pictures have a variety of perspectives.

2. Sightseeing? Assign a destination to each person. When it comes time to add captions to those photos, that family member can fill in the facts.

3. On the ride or flight home from your trip, ask your family to discuss each person’s favorite moments. Use these highlights as a story line for your album.

4. Create friendly competition with a photo contest! Have each person vote on the photo that they like best. Use that picture on the photo book cover.

5. Showcase each family member’s creativity by taking turns at the computer designing the pages. Besides being a quick way to commemorate the trip, this makes sure that every person’s experience is reflected in the book.

July 8

The Windy City is alive with the sound of music! For more than 100 years, the Ravinia Festival has been a place for concert-goers to gather and listen to all genres of music from classical to pop to jazz. Stars like Jennifer Hudson and Maroon 5 have also taken to the venue’s stages. The Ravinia Festival Association made this photo book that captures the concert experience with shots of fans singing, picnicking, drinking and dancing.

There’s no better time to reconnect with your favorite friends than the warm weather months!  Invest in some concert tickets and chronicle the event with pictures of your group getting ready, boarding the party bus and hanging out after the event.

I’m headed to Chicago to share some Shutterfly photo tips on NBC 5 Chicago News. Be sure to check out the segment on Saturday just after nine a.m!

July 7

“Staying in” is the new going out!  Take a break from the Summer heat and tweet about your favorite vacations, joyful family memories and capturing life’s important moments with your camera! Shutterfly’s throwing a Twitter party and you’re invited! Join us Thursday from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. PST for a chance to share tips and ideas and win fun prizes!

When the conversation ends, use the tips on to preserve your special memories in a photo book or grab your cameras and head out to take photos of your joyous summer moments!

Get the party started by following #SFLYenjoysummer to participate in the conversation!

And don’t forget to follow @Shutterfly and me, @SFLYinspiration for great news and updates.

July 5

Summer is a season of senses —the smell of barbecue at a cookout, the sound of waves crashing or a dazzling firework display across the sky. Don’t rely on your memory alone to preserve those events—photo book your special moments while there’s still a bit of sand in your shoes. This way you won’t forget any of the details and can relive the experiences with friends and family members. Remember, you don’t have to travel to an exotic location to feel like you’ve taken a break. Take a staycation: spend a day exploring hometown haunts and chronicle the trip around town in pictures.

Boston Duck Tours is famous for taking tourists and locals aboard a WWII style amphibious landing vehicle called a “DUCK” that rolls down the roads and into the Charles River so visitors can view the city’s historical sites. So-called “conducktors” add flavor to the excursion, highlighting fun and interesting facts.

The company created this photo book to showcase the tour. Remember to rotate your camera while shooting so you have a variety of landscape and portrait shots. This will add movement and momentum to your story.

June 29

People make for great photos, but so do pets!  Chronicle your furry friend’s milestones — from a pooch’s first trip to the dog park to a cat’s day out and about to a hamster’s routine run on the wheel — and compile them in a photo book. Add some playful snapshots that showcase your pet’s unique abilities or personality. Considered a member of the family, pets really make a difference in our lives with their companionship and unconditional love.

HoPe Veterinary Center is a non-profit corporation that provides full service veterinary care to pets affected by poverty and homelessness in the Los Angeles area. HoPe put together this photo book to show how their organization has improved their clients’ lives.

If you are championing a cause, consider creating a photo book to spread awareness and recruit friends and family members to join your campaign.

June 27

When the sun’s up, it’s time to get active! In Texas, the FC Dallas Foundation helps spread big Summer joy by focusing on youth fitness and building athletes of the future. The non-profit organization offers scholarships to underprivileged kids playing in their athletic programs. FC Dallas foundation made this colorful photo book to showcase their endeavors.

Whether you love to run, bike, hike or swim, grab your camera before you head out on your next excursion so you can relive the adventure with your friends and family through a photo book. Action shots are storytelling images that show emotion—the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat—and can have a big impact on your album without using words. If you’re documenting a team sport, make sure to get group shots, pictures of the fans and commentary from the coaches.

I’m headed to Dallas to share some Shutterfly photo tips on Good Morning Texas. Be sure to check out the segment tomorrow morning!

June 23

If you want to get happy, head to the Big Apple! New York City is the most joyous city in America according to Shutterfly’s Joy Meter. Creativity abounds in the town that is home to Broadway shows and world-class art museums. Even NYC’s youngest citizens are encouraged to share in the joy and showcase their artistic talents.

One such place is Kids Creative, a nonprofit organization that provides acting and music based, peace education programs for students in pre-K through middle school. Their confidence building workshops give children a chance to shine. Check out this photo book of highlights that Kids Creative put together.

Anyone can explore his or her artistic side with Shutterfly! If you love being behind the lens, compile your favorite shots in a stunning photography book for your coffee table. Or showcase a budding artist by scanning your child’s artwork and creating a photo book.

June 21

Lots of people fret over taking the perfect picture, but as a mom of three children (ages 7, 4 and 1) — I just photograph life as it happens! In doing so, I’ve realized that the moments I treasure most — from the comical to the chaotic — are those that I never could have scripted or predicted. Here are my tips for capturing joyful trips and preserving them in a photo book.

1. Keep two cameras handy! When traveling with a companion, make sure one person carries the camera and the other person takes pictures with a smartphone.

2. In this age of the digital camera, there’s no such thing as wasting film so keep shooting and delete unwanted images later.

3. The journey begins the moment you leave the house, not when you arrive at the destination. Snapshots of road signs and airplane boarding passes all become part of the story.

4. Embrace the candid! These pictures often capture the essence of who people are or what an experience was like.

5. Action shots — images of travellers running, eating, laughing or leaping — add momentum to a photo book.

When you return from vacation, upload your photos while you unpack. Then, create a photo book so you can share the experience with family members and friends.

June 17

Today is the Happiest Day of the Year and when there’s something to smile about, Americans tend to take more pictures.  Believe it or not, vacations are the most photographed occasion— even more popular than the birth of one’s own baby — according to a recent Shutterfly survey.

As June gives way to gorgeous weather, outdoor festivities and much-anticipated getaways, don’t forget to get your camera ready! Fifty-nine percent of people polled said they wish they had more photos of moments that brought them joy like holidays, weddings and birthdays. Shutterfly’s enJOY Summer campaign encourages everyone to share their joyful moments with a favorite photo.

We’ve also unveiled our Ten Most Joyous Cities in America list.  Check it out to see if your favorite city is on the list and how it measures on our JOY Meter.  My hometown of San Francisco came in at 36, but I’ll be visiting a few of the top ranking cities in the weeks to come. Stay tuned for five inspirational stories from those joyful destinations!


  1. Joey says

    What a great article. Our summers are short, so I tend to take more photos of my nieces & nephews and family in the summer. I love seeing their faces of joy. I find joy in trying to capture moments we don’t want to forget and ones other family members may not think to take. I’ll have to check out the Ten Most Joyous Cities in America.

  2. BarbaraJ says

    My photography brings me more JOY than I can express. I have probable 300 DVD of past vacations, holiday, birthdays and weddings. Thank you for this article.

  3. says

    Grab and shoot! It is some of the imperfection in a photo (with kids) are always the best when it comes to story telling. The posed perfect ones just don’t have the same memories as the crazy in the moment ones.

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