Return The Love - Make A Gift to Pay Back Your Parents

How to Make a "This Is Your Life" Video

Getting the Pictures

Here are the sources I gathered for pictures.  Many of these required me to scan pictures into a digital .jpg file, which took some time.
  • Your Own Pictures - gather all your own pictures as a first source.  I did a search on my computer and found a lot there.

  • Family Scrapbooks - My mom is an avid scrapbooker, so there were a lot of these at home to use.  I snuck home one weekend while she was away and recruited my dad to help me scan these.  It was a fun trip down memory lane.  In doing this, you need to figure out whether you want to take out pictures or just put entire scrapbook pages down on the scanner and then just select one picture at a time in the scanning software.  I suggest the entire page approach to avoid disturbing the photos.  

  • High School Yearbooks - This was a fantastic source of pictures that I had never seen before and she probably forgot she had.  A particulary powerful thing was to use the comments written by friends at the time and put them into slides with pictures of her friends from the time.  It was a great trip down memory lane and helped put a personal touch on things.

  • Your Family - ask your family to find and send you pictures they have, ideally in .jpg file format.  When asking, make sure you are clear if you want to keep a surprise so they don't tell your mom what they are doing.

  • Hometown Pictures - I wanted to get pictures from different cities where my mom lived at the time and found some great things on the internet.  For example, her small hometown actually had a bunch of postcards from the 1950s and earlier that I found using Google.  She had never seen these and they were quite effective.  You can do the same for college or other pictures, as it will help her trigger memories from seeing those.  Below is an example of  a search using Google Images to find  postcards.
  • History Pictures - you may want to have some pictures from history to associate with different times in her life.  For example, a picture of the moon landing might be a nice thing to associate with pictures around her life at that time.  I ended up not doing this, but you may want to consider it. would be a great source to find pictures related to specific events.  Google too (especially if you use the Images section) is also great.
Some tips:
  • I also recommend using a file naming convention where you name each picture scanned with the approximate year and people names in the file name.  For example, a file name could be 1980_joe_mary_john_california.  You will be glad you took the time to do this when it comes time to insert them into the right places.
  • Create a different folder for each chapter on your computer.  It will help you quickly find the right things to insert.
  • Note that once you save pictures into folders, you will want to keep them there.  The software you will use will remember where to find pictures by looking for the exact file name.  If you end up changing the file folder names or file names after you insert them into the program, you may lose the connection and have to reinsert them.  I learned this one the hard way, so hopefully you can avoid that mistake and save a bunch of time.
Can you think of some other great sources for pictures for the movie?  Add a comment below:

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