Documenting Life with Chatbooks

It's no big secret I love Instagram.  Whenever I take a picture of my daughter with my iPhone, she quickly asks, "Are you going to post it on Instagram?" Instagram has become the place for me to post tid bits of our family life and adventures.  Of course, I also post tons of pictures of food and workouts, but you'll see lots of the kiddos.  

Right before August started, I had a blog post challenging everyone to document their lives and capture their own family moments better because I know I am not the only one struggling to take out the camera, be it the point and shoot, camera phone, or DSLR.  Not only did I want to take more photos of our lives, but I also wanted to get those photos printed.  This is where Chatbooks comes in.  

Chatbooks will print your instagram photos in a book series automatically.  Every photo you share to Instagram creates a page in your book series.  It's just $6 for a 60 page 6X6" book volume.  You’ll get a notification each time you get close to 60 new pages. You can easily exclude photos from your book & edit captions.  Plus, you can order additional subscriptions for your loved ones!  My favorite feature is the hastag filter in the settings.  This allows you to only include posts that contain certain hastags in your Instagram photos.   My husband and I use #emerickiddos for all our kid pictures. This really made it easy to only print the photos we wanted for our first chatbook series because let's be honest, not everything I share on instagram needs to live outside of insta!  How many printed photos do we need of veggie juices, breakfast, and my garmin? None, really!  So, this feature made it super easy and convenient to only include what we wanted without having to go through each photo individually.  I also think it would be great when using a specific hashtag for events, such as weddings, vacations, or parties.  This way you can print a custom book from that event.  How cool is that, huh?  I can't wait to do this for our next vacation.  

I'm so excited that we finally go around to it and ordered our books!  It ended up being 18 volumes from January 2011 to now!  Let me tell you, the kids have really enjoyed looking through these.  They'll grab a book and flip through it saying things like,"That was so much fun!" or  "Oh, I remember this!"  It's exactly what I wanted out of having our images printed in these handy little books.  I've got them displayed on a bookshelf in our house, so anyone can just grab one and enjoy flipping through the photos anytime they want!

The awesome folks at Chatbooks want me to share the love, so here goes use code: AT64NCT6 to subscribe and get your first book free!  I promise you are going to love your Chatbooks just as much as we are! Oh and don't forget to download their app to really make it easy to order your first book straight from your phone ;) 

Documenting Life

As some of you may know already or if you read My Story, I'm a wedding and portrait photographer.  I make my living documenting milestone events and moments in the lives of others.  It is my dream job.  Being able to capture these special moments for people is amazing.  As a photographer, I strive to not just tell people where to stand and how to pose, but to capture how they are as a person, as a couple, as a family.  I think these photos, with the real smiles, real expressions, and real moments are the ones that tell the story.  These photos will tell future generations who we really were.  What we were about.  What and who we loved. How we lived and what mattered to us most.  

So, why am I telling you all of this?  Because for the past few years I have gotten away from documenting my own family's life.  Business is going great.  I am capturing some great moments for my clients, but when it comes to my own family, I am slacking.  I realized I never take out my "fancy" camera unless it's for work.  I got lazy. That's the bottom line.  It's just so easy to take  a snap shot with my iphone, I mean, I carry it with me everywhere I go anyhow.  I was also finding that with my pro camera in hand, I missed out on a lot of the fun and I worried about keeping my camera protected too, especially if we were outdoors like at the beach or something.  So, a year or so ago we purchased a nice high end digital rangefinder camera that is small and convenient, so we've been using that for our trips and leaving our pro cameras at home. And although I love the convenience and ease of the smaller camera, I feel like something is missing.  There is something about my professional DSLR camera that I can't capture in the smaller camera.  

The other problem I have with documenting life is that photos rarely live outside of a screen.  With sharing on Instagram, facebook, this blog, or my photography blog, I'm not getting photos printed.  I remember being a kid and getting so excited when we'd develop a roll of film and eagerly flipping through the photos, careful not to get any fingerprints on them.  Or as I got older, making scrapbooks and putting the pictures in albums or small "brag books".  Remember those? I want that for my kids.  I want them to be able to sit down and open a book and look through the images and remember all the fun we had on a certain vacation, hiking our favorite trails, or just on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  

After giving this much thought, I've come up with a plan.  Because, come on, you know me, there is always a plan!  First of all, I've got to be realistic.  I know that I won't carry my pro camera everywhere.  It's just not who I am.  So, there will still be lots of documenting with my iphone on instagram.  However, I'm excited to check out Chat Books.  They are small 6x6 60 page books where every photo you shear to Instagram creats a page in your book series.  The best part is that you can easily remove photos and add captions to create perfect book each time.  Because come on, I post a lot of photos of food and running that probably don't need to be printed each time.  The best part is that each book is only $6 and they also offer subscription plans.  I can't wait to try them out and let you know how they are!  

My days of scrapbooking are over.  Who has time for that?!? But, I do love the photo books from My Publisher.  I made one for our 2013 summer vacation and the kiddos love looking through it!   I know I said I had a plan, but I'm honestly not sure how I want to go about these books, yet.  Ideally, I would love to make books for each season of the year or at least from each of our family vacations. Any ideas? Please share them in the comments!  

Lastly, like I said, I know I won't take my pro camera with me everywhere we go.  But, I will make it a point to take it on longer vacations and periodically on hikes and stuff.  I want to document, not just the special occasions, but pieces of everyday life too.  Because it's the everyday adventures and shenanigans that make up our life.  It's the forts made out of sheets in Elysee's room, the cool kendama tricks Diego does daily, the family game nights, the bbq's with friends.  It's these moments that make up our life.  It's these moments that are worth documenting. 

Bonus:  In an effort to keep up with documenting our lives, I ask that you join me too! I know I am not the only one struggling to take out the camera, be it the point and shoot, camera phone, or DSLR.  I challenge you to document your life for the month of August.  Let's see how much we can photograph and document in one month.  I'll be sharing my favorite moments here on my blog and if you are also a blogger, I'd love to have you share your favorite photos on your blog.  Maybe this could even become a monthly or weekly blog swap!  Who's in? We may be surprised to see that the ordinary moments are the ones that make life extraordinary.