sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Photos and Fumbles – What Do You Do with Your Thousands of Photos?

By Cynthia Hogg May 02, 2023 Lifestyle

I have 10 grandchildren and love to have adventures with them, everything from road trips to summer “Cousins’ Camps.” And I always try to document these adventures with lots of photos.

Technology Has Evolved

Today, the technology available for still and video photography is just phenomenal. What the average non-techy person (like me!) can capture and do with a smart phone is nothing short of miraculous.

Many years ago, I started with a little Brownie camera and a black and white roll of film. When our children were little, my husband lugged around a large video camera that sat on his shoulder. I am now using an iPhone Pro Max 11 that takes stunning still photographs, as well as videos. And it fits in the palm of my hand!

But there are a few caveats that come with the blessing of this new technology.

Producing Tons of Photos Isn’t Fun

The first one is, I have so many photos on my phone! And most of them stay there and are never seen. In the “old days” I used to plan my photos more carefully. Now I just click away and tell myself I’ll go back and delete all but the very best. Except I don’t. I would be too embarrassed to confess how many photos I currently have on my phone!

Creating Photobooks

One good thing I have done is put the best photos from each year into photobooks that each grandchild receives at Christmas time. (But I still never go back and delete the other photos!) The kids seem to really love these. Every year they look forward to the next book. Even though the books are a lot of work to put together, I believe my grandkids will appreciate them even more when they’re older.

Here’s some helpful advice I can share from putting together these photobooks:

Make Sure You Be Part of Some of the Pictures

In some of my first photobooks, I realized that someone important was missing: me! Because I was always the one behind the camera, it appeared that I was never part of the activities. Years from now, I want my grandkids to look at these pictures and see me as part of the fun. This might mean (carefully) handing the phone to an older grandchild or even a trustworthy-looking stranger for a quick shot.

Get at Least One Group Shot!

While I love all the individual photos, there’s just something special about capturing a group shot. My 10 grandkids always seem to be in motion, so it takes effort to get them stopped and into a group for a photo – but it’s always worth it!

Fair Share of Photos

Try to have fairly “equitable” representation when you put together the final photobook. This can be a challenge sometimes because some children are “hams” who hog the spotlight or are more naturally photogenic than others. Some are more skilled at certain activities than others. Be careful to include winning photos of each grandchild. Believe me, each child will be looking to see how well represented they are in the final product!

Don’t Miss Out on the Fun!

A final caveat to all this wonderful technology is more subtle, but I’ve begun to feel it keenly. I don’t want the photography to intrude on enjoying the time I’m spending with my grandkids. To be honest, I’m struggling some in finding the right balance.

I used to be annoyed with a daughter who was constantly “posing” her kids for photos during every activity (plus taking lots of selfies!), but now I have to look at my own behavior. I want the photos, and I want enough photos to “tell the story.” But I can tell when the kids are starting to get annoyed with my saying, “Wait a moment – I want to get a picture” or “Stand over here for a picture.”

In addition to sighing and acting annoyed, they invariably respond by saying “cheese” – along with a cheesy smile.

I have tried being less obvious and obtrusive in my photo-taking, hoping to get those candid shots, but on the last trip with my seven-year-old granddaughter (a hiking, biking, and beach trip), I was still aware that often when she turned around to tell me something interesting, I was holding up my phone.

I explained that I was taking pictures to make a book for her similar to one I’d made for her sister that she liked. It seemed to help a little, but I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that I was, if not “ruining” the moment, somehow compromising it. I tried to ease my conscience by thinking of how much she will appreciate the photos in years to come.

I did get some beautiful photos, so… was it worth it?

What I don’t want is when someone says, “Do you remember your grandma?” after I’m gone, my grandkids respond with, “Yeah, but I can’t quite remember what she looked like because she always had a phone in front of her face!”

Let’s Have a Conversation:

So, are you like me? Do you have thousands of photos? Do you print them out or put them in books or share them in some other way – or do they mostly sit on your phone? Do you feel that maybe you take too many photos, and it becomes intrusive? How do you try to strike the right balance?

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Whenever I hear the word photo I cringe. I have no cellphone, or grandchildren. I have photo albums from my parents, about 5 books of their trips and their friends. I have old photos before my grandparents age. I am 75. I have always loved to take photos, and my dad loved it too. I have 2 grown daughters, and have many of their photos, plus all of my own with friends, trips, etc.
I have many albums, large and small. I have many photos on my computer. The great thing about photos is looking at them sharing memories. I cannot share with my parents they are gone. No family. My daughter is not interested in them. I like to look at them, but alone. I feel sad, as many friends and family are gone. I need to throw out, and find it extremely difficult. A huge project. I always think that I need these photos to keep my memory sharp. I even have some scanned. I need to declutter the actual photos. What to throw out, what to keep. Anyone help.

The Author

Cynthia Hogg is a freelance writer in western Michigan who contributes regularly to Sixty and Me and Senior Perspectives magazine. She loves to travel and spend time with her grandchildren, especially combining the two. She is the editor of the newly updated blog

You Might Also Like