Wednesday 27 August 2014

Making more of memories

One of the phrases I use to in describe myself - you know, when you have to write about a mini bio about yourself in 140 characters of less - is 'picture taking, memory making'. I've always loved photos, spending hours looking through the meticulously kept albums of my Grandfather and the time-weathered family scrapbooks of my Mother. I love being able to look back to a moment in time, taking the chance to reflect or remember a memory, a person, a place, a time. That's why I've always kept albums of my own, although I am rather behind, why I'm starting our family scrapbook and why I love Instagram so much (you can follow me at ToBecomeMum).

I, like many of my generation, am literally glued to my phone most of the day but beyond staying connected and being social, it's all about photos. I never want to miss a moment which is why I went for one of the best camera phones available (a Lumia 1020, if you'd like to know) as I use my phone as a camera much more these days than as a phone. I love my DSLR camera, which comes out on special occasions, but you can't beat a good camera phone for capturing a moment in an instant, no planning required.

Sometimes, you want to make more of a memory. You want the photos of your past to talk to you, to tell you more about what happened after that photo was taken, to remind you why you were there, who was taking the photo and how you felt at the time. Photos are signposts of our past and the many ways we can share them now is just amazing, but sometimes you just want more. For that reason, I am so grateful to have our wedding video, as well as our photos, as it captures that special day in a unique way.

However, now you can bring photos to life. You can give them a backstory. You can let them take you back to a time and place. You can make them speak your own words.

I recently discovered the Memory Box Stories app and I am so glad that I did. Being obsessed with photos, and a habitual over-sharer keen to post / tweet / share a moment as soon as it happens, any new app that let's you have fun with your photos is an exciting one for me.

What's the story with the Memory Box Stories app? Well, it's a very simple but rather lovely idea. You select up to 10 photos, record some audio and then let the app create a video montage. That's it. Such a simple idea but one that you think to yourself 'why hasn't this been done before?'. It's also rather addictive.

When you sign up, you're able to create 20 videos for free. Up to 10 photos per video. Up to five minutes of audio per video. You can the. Choose to subscribe either monthly or annually so that you can create an unlimited number of stories.

You create a profile to share your videos on and you can make these public, using the categories and location tags to help them come up in searches, or you can keep them private. Either way, they live on your profile and you can share them with your friends, family or followers via a link.

I've made a few stories already - they're not perfect but that doesn't matter. I'm looking forward to making more as time goes on, with the chance to listen back and hear in my own words, and those of my friends and family, the story behind the photos.

There's lots planned for the app in the future too. At the moment, it's very straightforward and the functions are very simple. This makes it easy to use but there's a lot more you could do to bring your photos to life in this way so it's exciting to see what else may be added. The hope is that you will soon be able to save drafts and that the app will be available to devices other than the iPhone/iPad.

As I said, it's addictive to use, not only to make your own stories but to see other people's stories too. Whether you're going to visit somewhere or want to see what a friend has been up to, there's lots of stories to be told. I like the format of the app; it makes it extremely accessible and can be used to bring so many photos, perhaps some forgotten, to life.

Memory Box Stories is available on iTunes to download for free, with up to 20 stories included, after which a small subscription fee of £1.49 per month or £9.99 for the year applies to make unlimited stories.

So go on, make more of your memories.


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