Welcome to the Melanie Foster Blog

celebrating OU seniors and Bartlesville and Tulsa families through photography.

Hey, y’all! 

I’m Melanie, the girl behind the lens at Melanie Foster Photography. Whether you’re getting ready for your upcoming OU senior or your Bartlesville or Tulsa family photography experience, I hope you’ll stay a while, pick up a few tips, and be inspired for your own MFP photo session! 

Why Print Your Photos? | Preserving Family Memories | Making a Home with Melanie

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Why print your photos? | Preserving Family Memories | Making a Home with Melanie

Today I’m kicking off the start of a BLOG SERIES!!! If you’ve been around for a little bit, you know that my heart is first and foremost with my husband, my family, and my home. While I dreamt about being a wife and mom throughout high school and college, I never really thought to prepare myself for that season until it was actually a feasible reality. In just the 14 months since our wedding, it has been one of my goals to pick up a handful of new skills that will serve our family and home. One of those goals is the perfect blending of my two biggest passions – making a home and photography. Today, to kick off the new blog series, I’m sharing a little about my process for printing photos and cataloguing our family memories! And there’s a bonus – read all the way through for a surprise!

We’ve had several large family events in the last 5-8 years or so, and it always gets me thinking – what is one of the first things we do when we’re celebrating grandma’s 80th birthday, or mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary? What do we do when we gather as a family to honor the legacy of a loved one? How do you bring your college days back to life, or share stories with your little girl about your family dog growing up, your best halloween costume, or the first dance you attended in middle school?

We gather photos. Printed photos. Albums. Yearbooks. Scrapbooks. We put together slideshows. We spend hours sifting through moments, photos of a past time, and reflect on the memories that built us, the visual evidence of our stories. Your photos only grow in value over time…they are what your children will have left of you, how they will remember you, and the treasure they will hold on to.

I know that is a sentimental answer, but it’s true. Even throughout my pregnancy, I did NOT want to take photos. I was frustrated with my body, my rapid weight gain, and how I looked in photos. There were many occasions with tears. I have never been that big before and I was really fighting to be content in the changes. Now, I am looking back at the 2021 year wishing there weren’t so many gaps in the time we had with the baby growing inside of me. I am disappointed that I let it get to me so much in the moment and it prevented me from doing what I love for our own family to the fullest.

Taking the photos can be hard enough, but then what do you do after we pick out the outfits, book the photographer, and take the pictures? What do we do with all of the iPhone photos that live and die in your pocket? I thought it might be helpful to share what I do for our growing Russell family!

8×10 prints inside 14×17 matted frames from Pottery Barn linked here. These are the same frames shown along our stairwell and entry.

Premium heirloom wedding album below was ordered directly through our photographer.

  • We budget for photoshoots for major life events, or at least 1-2x annually. In 2021 we had a lot – pregnancy announcement photos, maternity photos (gifted to us by our sweet friends, the Eddys), and we will have newborn lifestyle photos. In 2022 I imagine we will plan for one spring and one fall family photoshoot, especially since the baby will be changing so much. These do not all have to be full blown sessions – petite sessions (minis) are a great option! I recommend petite sessions for kids 4 and under – you can get on our waiting list for our spring date announcement here!
  • When photos are delivered, select your favorites within the first few days! This is one of the funnest parts to me! Add them to a list within your client gallery. Narrow down your top picks, take a look around your home, and decide which framed images or canvases you’d like to update. Place the order from your photographer’s gallery for the highest quality products – see why this is my #1 recommendation for clients, and what might happen if you order elsewhere…
  • Bookmark the link to your gallery (I have a folder in my bookmarks bar for easy access), and download all of your images received from your session to save to an external hard-drive or cloud storage. Just make sure they are in two places digitally, and you have your favorites (or more) in physical copies. Here is the external drive I use – a 1TB should be plenty for several years of family photos!

12×12 large square blurb books with a gallery wrap cover, premium matte paper.

Note that the following recommendations below are modeled after our own wedding photographer’s system! Katelyn’s process helps make it simple!

  • Every 4-5 months, I’ll spend a few hours working on our annual yearbook and updating with the most recent events and photos. Since we have so many professional-quality images from day-to-day happenings, these albums are exclusively for my “big camera” photos but it would not hurt to include iPhone photos if you’re a non-photographer! We also include our favorite photos from professional sessions in these books. I order a 12×12 album with a gallery wrap cover on premium matte paper through Blurb Books, although a smaller one would be just fine, especially if it’s primarily iPhone photos.
  • Speaking of iPhone photos, we order $15 hardcover Chatbooks exclusively for our iPhone memories and smaller every day moments. We receive a new book every few months, or whenever I get around to updating the app! You can also import from an Instagram feed for automatic shipments. Get $10 off using code melfostergirl-XNUU!

Other ideas:

  • Have a set gallery wall in your home of 3 – 9 images of your family that you commit to updating annually.
  • Order a pretty glass box and store your single prints in it on your coffee table for guests to browse!
  • Save your family Christmas card and display them like this or this each holiday season so your littles can see how they’ve grown over the years.
  • I’m excited to order a hanging canvas with wood rails from Smallwoods the next time we update our displays – they are a family-owned company and handcraft their products in Texas!
  • Here’s the surprise! Take 20% off a print order over $50 in your MFP gallery using “makingahome”. Expires November 30! And see why you should almost never again order family photos from Walgreens, CVS, Target, etc.

Let’s get to printing!

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