By Jennifer DelAngelo, Caramel Studios
When I sit down with clients for the first time, there is something I often notice. The look of panic that says, “How will I ever go through 13 years of photos and videos and pick the right ones? Where do I start?”
Here are some suggestions for choosing your photos:
* To help organize your photos as you select them, first decide if you want to divide your photos into categories such as: growing up, immediate family, extended family, friends, camp friends, sports and/or something unique and important to your child that you want to focus on.
* You also may choose to keep the full montage chronological from beginning to end, or have another idea in mind.
* Sort through your photos on the computer and those that are only hard copy. On your computer, create a “Montage” folder, and then create sub-folders for each category. For hard copies, label envelopes with the same categories. For example:
Jordan’s Bat Mitzvah, growing up, immediate family, extended family, friends, camp, soccer.
* Don’t over-think the photos you choose at first. If you think you may use it, include it. You can always delete, but you won’t want to go back and have to find more photos later. Trust me – just do it once!
* After you have all photos to consider, look at them again, and decide what you can eliminate. If two photos are similar, same age, etc., just pick one. Chances are, you may do this process a few times until you narrow down to what you really want.
* Make a list of anyone you want to include in the montage and check them off after you have included them. You don’t want to leave anyone important out! Very often, someone panics at the last minute, realizing that they forgot someone.
* Once all photos are chosen, number them. This will ensure that they are in the montage in the order you want. It will also avoid any confusion later on.
* Here’s an example how to rename your photos: 01growing up, 02growing up , 03growing up, 01family, 02family, 03family. You get the idea!
* When picking your photos make them count! I would rather watch a slightly longer montage with fabulous photos, video and music, than a short one with basic photos, video and bad music choices!
* Ideally, choose photos without any distractions in the background (a messy room, a garbage can, etc.)
* Close-up photos are best. You want your subject to fill the screen for impact. Keep the photos interesting, if it’s a group shot, be sure you can see faces.
* You may want to use a few formal, posed photos, but the rest should be interesting, with different backgrounds, expressions, action, etc.
Here are some tips about hard copy photos:
* If you have a scanner, scan the photos in and just add them to your digital folders and name them accordingly. You need to merge your digital and hard copy photos.
* If you do NOT have a scanner, number the back of the photos in light pencil. This way when the montage creator scans the photo, they will know exactly where to place it.
If your photos and videos are not currently well organized, contact me for complimentary tips of how to achieve this. I have around 30,000 personal photos on my computer and I can easily find a photo if I need to. It’s all about being organized.
Remember, this is a way to honor your child, but you also want to keep it entertaining for your guests. Keep it moving and fun to watch. The montage should create energy in the room, not slow the party down. In general, you hope to hear everyone laughing, singing, clapping to the beat or shouting oohs and aahs.
Tips About Videos:
* I highly suggest adding video clips. It makes the montage come alive. The best way to capture true personalities! The clips can be short (for example: 20 seconds of your child coming home from the hospital, crawling, first learning to walk, playing an instrument, dancing around at a young age, etc.) anything that marks a milestone or shows personality.
* If you don’t have a lot of video, or are finding it difficult to locate what you want to use, I have another suggestion. Video tape family and friends wishing the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child Mazel Tov. It’s a really sweet touch. Or interview family and friends about the guest of honor. Video definitely keeps it interesting!
Very creative montage sample where the Bat Mitzvah girl grows up right before you eyes!