SYW221 – Building Connection through Photos

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Shortly after her marriage Kiera Liu received a difficult reminder that her family’s stories would fade away if she didn’t start collecting and curating them. This shifted the context for her work as a photographer and videographer, ultimately leading to a passion for helping others do the same. In this episode we chat about building family connections through photos and the ways Kiera uses that deeper ‘why’ to help memory keepers finish projects with ease. 

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[00:01:21] Jennifer Wilson: Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I’m your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking.

This is episode 221. In this episode I’m chatting with photographer and videographer Kiera Liu about her pivot towards helping others capture their stories in a simple, streamlined way. Our conversation includes advice on what to embrace and what to let go of when it comes to memory keeping.

[00:01:54] Jennifer Wilson: Hey Kiera Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.

[00:01:57] Kiera Liu: Hi, how are you doing? I'm so glad to be here.

[00:02:01] Jennifer Wilson: I am well today and I'm looking forward to our conversation. Can you kick things off by sharing a little bit about yourself?

[00:02:09] Kiera Liu: I'd love to. So I'm a former criminal defense attorney turned pro photographer turned mama of two um that is currently living just in the burbs of Boston. And I help people manage their memories and come up with ways to tell their stories for future generations.

[00:02:28] Jennifer Wilson: Wow. That is quite like a turn from criminal defense attorney to this world of memory keeping and documenting.

[00:02:37] Kiera Liu: Isn't that so funny. I know I'm like I say I'm the master of the pivot and I feel like I'm just every day doing pivots.

[00:02:43] Jennifer Wilson: Oh well, being a parent will do that to you for sure.

[00:02:47] Kiera Liu: Exactly. And then spring weather on top of it It's like over. It's just always having to pivot.

[00:02:54] Jennifer Wilson: So what's exciting you right now in your world? And I'd love to hear something related to photography, memory keeping, documenting. And then one thing that's kind of outside of that realm in your personal life.

[00:03:05] Kiera Liu: Okay I love this question. So right now in my world that what's exciting me as far as memory keeping is learning ways to tell simple stories through video. Um I've been really practicing putting together short video clips from all the little snippets I take during the day. To tell a story of what I wanna actually remember from that moment. So that when my kids get it in a million years, it's not just all these short clips that they don't know what's going on. I'm actually telling a little bit more of a story. So I'm taking my memory keeping a little bit more away from the the photo world and into the video world. To try to really capture the essence of the stories through movement, audio, scene setting, and capturing some more of those details. Um and that's really been lighting me up and I've been really trying to focus on just making sure those stories that are in front of me that are lighting me up every day are getting documented.

[00:03:58] Jennifer Wilson: Oh I love that. Video is I mean it's so hard because we probably have over a thousand you know ten second video clips of my daughter's life over the past decade. And there's no there's no context for most of them. I mean sometimes you can tell. But they're just kind of sitting out there.

[00:04:17] Kiera Liu: I know and video is hard. And it's one of those things that's newer like we're just starting to really understand the implications of how much bandwidth they're taking up on our phones. And how to find them and how to organize them and sort them. And what to actually do with them in the end. And like our attention spans are going down too, at the same time. Like we don't have the attention to sit through even a minute long clip just to see what it was the whole purpose of why we took that video sometimes. I'm really trying to train myself to go through and delete all those little clips that lead up to the one moment that actually I was trying to capture. So that that's not.

[00:04:54] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:04:55] Kiera Liu: Filling up my cloud service at the end of the day. And really helps me focus later on what stories I was really trying to tell.

[00:05:04] Jennifer Wilson: Oh I can't wait to get into more of this in our conversation. Now what's that thing kind of outside of memory keeping?

[00:05:10] Kiera Liu: Outside kind of plays really well with the whole pivot thing. I'm learning how to play pickleball and tennis this year. So totally about pivoting and moving your feet and learning how to just go where the ball goes. So it seems like a metaphor for how life feels a lot of the days. I'm just kind of ping ponging back and forth between my role as memory keeper and business owner and entrepreneur. With my role as a mom and a wife and someone who's trying to really jump into more taking care of things that might light me up too. So it's been a real journey.

[00:05:45] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah So how did this like exploration of pickleball happen? Because this it it's just this thing that seemed to have like appeared out of nowhere and now it's overtaking like recreation centers everywhere.

[00:05:57] Kiera Liu: Isn't it so funny. I know. I normally I don't know if I would've picked it up. Um but for the fact that when we bought our house out here it came with a clay tennis court in the backyard.

[00:06:08] Jennifer Wilson: Oh nice. That's cool.

[00:06:09] Kiera Liu: If don't touch it it just overgrows and becomes this disgusting like moss fields and weed fields. So we're trying this year to it up and actually use it. So I'm like using it as a way that like people are getting together a little bit more to make it a more social experience and inviting some of my friends over and trying to teach my kids how to do it. And just forcing myself out a little bit. But pickleball is it's changing. Like we just took um lessons this last week through the rec center. And it was I was definitely the youngest by like 40 years.

[00:06:42] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:06:43] Kiera Liu: But the coach was like telling us how men are really getting involved and how this is really the industry is changing and every day the rules are changing. It's getting more competitive. The leagues are popping up everywhere So it's something to really be on the horizon. So it's really fun.

[00:07:00] Jennifer Wilson: Sure. Yeah. I wonder like there's gonna be like a pickleball section at Dick's Sporting Goods. I mean there probably already is.

[00:07:06] Kiera Liu: Yeah I mean my Instagram ads are all pickleball. It like knows what you're doing. It's so weird what happens. But it was a really great way, like I was, I was like Hey if our older generations can do this and enjoy it and learn the rules and have fun like I can do this. And they were kicking butt out there. So like it's it's a really fun way to interact.

[00:07:28] Jennifer Wilson: You know what's weird about those ads is that you'll go and buy something like okay I wanna buy this thing. And that's when you get the ads is after you've bought the thing. It's the ads for all their competitors. And it's like I don't need this other one. But wait this one has this features. How come I didn't know that. It's so weird.

[00:07:46] Kiera Liu: They're start I mean I feel like if I say words though half the time I get an ad for it. So then I'm like what's this is creeping me out so bad I don't wanna click you. It's a toss up.

[00:07:58] Jennifer Wilson: Yes all the devices are always listening for sure. So we would love to ask our guests about their memory keeping uh bucket list. So do you have a story that you really want to capture? You really wanna tell it in some sort of you know video visual format, crafty format, but you haven't done it for one reason or another yet.

[00:08:20] Kiera Liu: I know I love this question. Um and I love hearing everyone's answers to it on your podcast too cuz it just it always sparks a new idea in my head. Um but for me my bucket list thing is kind of more like this goal of mine that I have to create this treasure chest for my kids when I leave this world that is curated and simplified. So they just like have what I want them to remember about me in there. And it has all the influential moments of life and in the stories that I would wanna tell them from our past. So I'm trying to break it down though because like a bucket list is a list. It has smaller items that you do It's not just general like huge large chest that you're gonna push on to the ne next generations. I'm trying to really focus on breaking each story down into tiny steps. So that I can focus on one at a time. And what I'm doing right now is like looking at what's happening in front of me and then trying to tell the stories that I connect to, to that story. So my my daughter just lost her second tooth this week. And when I lost my first tooth I swallowed my tooth. And what did I do, like what happened with the tooth fairy? And we talk about it all the time. My daughter's like very concerned that I didn't have the tooth to present to the tooth fairy. And I've actually gone back and found the letter I wrote to the tooth fairy explaining that I swallowed the tooth. And I'm trying to put that together in a little story that um has a little bit of video I have when my daughter got her first two teeth. When I discovered it I have a little video story of that. And then I have one of her just from yesterday showing off her new gap in her teeth. And then I just wanna add a couple um snippets of the letter she wrote to the tooth fairy with the letter I wrote to the tooth fairy to kind of just pull those two things together. So that's my goal.

[00:10:09] Jennifer Wilson: Oh that's really cute.

[00:10:10] Kiera Liu: Small little video about losing your first teeth. You know like so I'm just trying to like take a theme from what's happening in daily life. And then pull that full story in from generations past or from things that we've heard and learned along the way. To help make that connection grow between us.

[00:10:27] Jennifer Wilson: Okay. Now I'm curious like so what's your perspective on the delivery and storage mechanism for this? How are you you know knowing that media will change over time, what you know how are you trying to be like forward thinking or protective of that?

[00:10:44] Kiera Liu: That's an awesome question and it's something I think about constantly because it is changing every day. And in fact yesterday I was spending a lot of my time just looking up what's happening with Amazon Drive. Um because in the end of December they're changing their Amazon drive and that's going away completely. And they're gonna go just to Amazon Photos. Which it kind of stinks. Cuz I love Amazon Drive I love that you can see everything in folders and find everything written out and just link directly to it. Um

[00:11:12] Kiera Liu: was trying to find my next solution next solution looks like it's gonna be heading towards Dropbox again. Because that's not really that hasn't changed and has remained the same pretty much. Um I like to have it backed up in several places. So they'll be, I'll be making sure I have it on Dropbox. I'm gonna be using QR codes that will go like for these big movies that I put together wanna have like a, I do have a Vimeo station and a um unlisted YouTube station that can link to. So that these QR codes they can just scan it and get right to it. Um so I wanna print those out with her little baby book that I have along the way. That she can start to access that as we go. I'm trying to think though that as we grow you know like there could be so many. Like how are they gonna find them all. And it's it's just having that backup system in place that on my external hard drives I just I do it every year. I how the however the technology changes I get the newest one for it and move over all those MVP things that I wanna pass on, to it.

[00:12:17] Jennifer Wilson: Okay. Okay.

[00:12:18] Kiera Liu: I think that's where the connection to that treasure chest comes from It's like identifying the actual stories that matter that I need to pull over all the time every year. Because otherwise at the end of this we're gonna need like 50 terabyte drives all the time. And it's gonna be cost prohibitive to do that. I'm just trying to focus on the stories that we're really connecting to right now. That I can see being something that comes up in generations down the road. Like losing your first tooth is something that everybody's gonna do and you're gonna wanna know what happened with your parents and maybe your grandparents. And if there was a silly story how they dealt with it. So it's just really paying attention to these stories that are connecting with my heart and helping us grow as a family.

[00:12:59] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. I'd love to get more into, you just you have such a passion for storytelling and I can tell this comes through in your work as a photographer and videographer. So can you talk about like how you approach the you know the work side of your life?

[00:13:15] Kiera Liu: Yeah absolutely. So the work side of my life, I'm trying like I think we've talked about it in the past how now I'm a mom of two I had my second child during the pandemic. He was born in April right after the world shut down. Life got a little bit hard to balance as far as getting out with work and getting and staying in focus with my family and raising a baby during a pandemic. And I'm just starting to get those wheels moving again where.

[00:13:42] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:13:42] Kiera Liu: I'm trying to identify the the projects that are important to most people. And helping them come up with some inspiration to start tackling their pro their projects. And really just coming up with the steps forward. So I'm I'm putting stuff out on Instagram right now to just get that connection sparked again between everyone. We can get the conversations flowing about what's tripping us up so that we can deliver some help for them. So that they know how to tackle their projects as well. But it's been it's hard to approach work, to be honest. It's been a lot of pivoting.

[00:14:17] Jennifer Wilson: Now are you still doing any client work? Or are you kind of officially transitioned to kind of working online with you know the family memory keeper?

[00:14:27] Kiera Liu: I am I'm still kind of in the middle right now. I'm working.

[00:14:30] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:14:30] Kiera Liu: With small women owned businesses helping them um create content for their Reels on Instagram. Um telling storytelling based Reels. If right now I'm working with like a clothing company. Just telling them like, helping bring a shirt to life and what you would use the shirt for and how functions in the world and how you can wear it multiple different ways. So like just telling stories about actual products. But then I'm also very passionate about connecting with families. And hopeful that in the coming months I'll be able to focus a little more on it so that I can work with more families directly. Um we have, I've been working on the Memory Maker's Masterclass this last year. With um I've got 21 founding members in it that we're putting together this whole masterclass that really design design design around the process of memory keeping. So I walk uh my clients through how to back up your images, how to take better pictures, what to what projects to consider making. And how to simplify them down to the quickest, easiest, simplest steps. Um so like taking a baby book project and bringing it down to what truly matters about the baby. And what pictures you wanna take and what pictures you should have in that just to make it simpler. And helping people with their wedding albums and gallery walls. Just pulling that content together so that they have a spot to go to.

[00:15:48] Jennifer Wilson: Yes.

[00:15:49] Kiera Liu: Work through it. It's been a lot of work it together and I'm like hopeful that it's it gets done in the next couple months, if I'm just being honest.

[00:15:59] Jennifer Wilson: So I'm curious how your own kind of path through documenting your life uh influenced kind of your approach to work your your pivot away from the legal field. Um you know have you ever considered yourself a kind of traditional scrapbooker? What was your like what was the role of photos and crafty stuff in your childhood, maybe?

[00:16:22] Kiera Liu: Yeah that's an awesome question too. So I love getting back to this, honestly. Like when I was a lawyer I wanted to be a lawyer since I was little. I was um adopted when I was six years old. Like actually it's like I can't even how many years It's like 34 years or something this year. And um I was adopted way back then. And when I was in the courtroom I knew at that moment I wanted to be a lawyer because I wanted to bring families together. At six years old. And what was interesting then is that I just had no perspective of like what the legal world would be and how stressful some of the careers could actually end up as. And as I progressed into my role as a criminal defense attorney it was definitely not what I was looking forward to doing. But I had graduated when the market collapsed in in 2008 and that was the job I could get.

[00:17:12] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:17:13] Kiera Liu: It was It was really interesting though because at that time I was connecting greatly with families that were in somewhat tumultuous times of their lives. While they're in the criminal system. And my husband, we were still dating at the time. But he was very aware that I had a light to give when I connected to stories and photos. And he encouraged me to go back to my roots. Um I had been a photographer in college I went to school for photography and he is like get back to that. That's where you're you light up.

[00:17:44] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:17:44] Kiera Liu: It was the step I needed to be able to like step away from something that I thought I wanted since I was six years old and like take the risk to dive in and like focus on my photo work. And through that photo work, I connected with families. I saw families in all different times of transition. Um many of them were welcoming you welcoming new babies or getting married. Also what I found was that the photos I was taking were the ones that they were coming for when someone passed away. And it was those times that you really realized that these photos and these images that you're capturing mean so much more to people than just that moment that you've captured. And they in fact grow with time that value. So it became something that just continued to get more something I was more passionate about over time. And when we lost my, my sister-in-law passed away. My mother-in-law passed away. All within like a year of each other right after we got married. And it became really real that as we were growing our family their stories were going to just disappear if I wasn't someone to be able to start collecting them and telling them. And it became just so much more real to me how important it was to connect with who's still alive and capture those stories and document them so that we can make sure they live on, you know. So it was it's really driven my passion and I've I've lost like a best friend now since from a brain tumor. And just we've lost our pet just recently. We've had we had him for 11 years and just it's really been helpful as a tool. The photography and the storytelling to teach my kids through the grief process.

[00:19:20] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:19:20] Kiera Liu: To honor the lives that we've had that have been a part a huge part of making us who we are and keeping that legacy alive. And being able to have a way to safely and warmly talk about them by sharing those stories. So it's really fueled it in these last few years.

[00:19:37] Jennifer Wilson: Well and I I just love how you connected that so vividly to your experience at six years old and this the idea of family and how families form and transition and how we evolve over time and what the meaning of all that is I think that's really beautiful.

[00:19:56] Kiera Liu: Yeah and I just I honestly I was reading before we talked today this article on the New York Times it was about family stories and how they have such a power to drive connection for kids. And it there's studies that are showing that families that talk about their history and that oscillating times of life that the goods and the bads and how you've gotten through it, become more resilient. And these kids are able to function better in life by having family stories. And I can't believe that article just popped up today because I was like you know this is like what drives me. And I feel this in my core. And now I'm like oh now there's studies that show this is how you can actually help your children thrive and survive in this world. By sharing those stories of hardships and pain and growth and watching the little miracles form throughout it as you process and get through it. And that's what really has been the golden nugget that has pushed me forward in making sure I keep these stories going.

[00:20:56] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. I'm curious how you mentioned you had your second baby in in April of 2020. And you know you had a pandemic at the same time. So how did that shift any of your perspectives on storytelling? I imagine it's only kind of deepened this connection to uh you know the purpose behind it.

[00:21:20] Kiera Liu: Yeah. So what's really funny about the whole pandemic thing, is I was I had made a book for my daughter when we were about to have our son. And I've always kept, in to answer your question from before about scrapbooking, like I've never been a traditional scrapbooker who like gets the paper and sticks the photos on it and the like words. I've done it once or twice in the past and my grandma's incredible at it and make has made us ones that I treasure all the time and I always am going back to 'em. But I've never been able to complete a project that well when I have to do that. Cuz I feel like there's too many steps involved. So I've always broken them down into smaller tiny books. And I've been using Pinhole Press for years where I make these little board books for my kids that have like 12 pages in them. So they're.

[00:22:05] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:22:05] Kiera Liu: Nothing too hard or complicated. And it's one picture a couple of words. And during the pandemic I made my daughter a book about becoming a big sister. And it was um maybe like seven pages of what she can expect. And it was that I was gonna go to the hospital. She was gonna go to school with her friends. She was gonna come and meet the baby in the hospital. Come home and then who was gonna be with our family while we were transitioning. And

[00:22:28] Jennifer Wilson: Oh gosh, so none of that happened.

[00:22:30] Kiera Liu: I know, I showed her that book literally the day before the world shut down and and I was like, none of that happened. It's a book we have it's like one that like becoming a big sister is like a book we read all the time. And I'm like well that's funny cuz none of that happened. And it's like been really fun to know that like there's no pressure that nothing at that happened because it's it's a timestamp. And now I can make his next book about what really happened.

[00:22:55] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes.

[00:22:56] Kiera Liu: Really fun sequel to it. And love the fact that it is such a small tiny project that like you can just do again. You know there's not as much invested in it and it grows and the story can change and evolve as it's happening. And it's kind of how we've done our baby books too. Cuz I I can't tell you how many of my clients just come to me saying well I've never done a baby book. Or I have seven baby books that I've never put a thing into and I feel so guilty and terrible and I've never done anything. And I just I, I feel for them. Because I'm, I'm not letting, I I just don't like being constrained by what's put out their product-wise, sometimes. And I'm just trying to like simplify it to what the story is. So we my kids have three baby books and one of them's a book of me. And my my me becoming a parent versus my mom becoming a parent. And we like compare the pictures of my mom with me and me with my daughter. And it's been a really fun way to like take that traditional baby book out. And like change it a little bit with actual history a little and how time is repeating itself just with images. And then we have just one where it's like just a photo a month of each of the kids. And we love to look at that like compared comparing each of 'em together. Just with those Pinhole Press books. Where it's like just one of my son, one of my daughter at one month. And we just flip the pages at the same time and see how how much or how how different they are um in each of those books. And it's been just a simplified way of getting it done instead of being so focused on it being done perfect.

[00:24:27] Jennifer Wilson: Particularly when you know as you said before like we're taking so many photos much more than we ever have in the past. Plus the video on top of that. And so I think that makes projects even more intimidating when you're trying to figure out how do I you know document my child's first year when I took 5,000 photos.

[00:24:45] Kiera Liu: Yeah. It's it's so hard and and it's there's so much pressure to feel like you gotta get it all done at once.

[00:24:52] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:24:52] Kiera Liu: I think the pandemic has changed me in that way is that I realize how little I can get done. And it's so frustrating some days. Where you're like I have all this and I wanna do something and I have five minutes to sit down and how do I move the needle forward. It's really why I've designed this process so that I can keep track of where I was. So that I can jump in and utilize some five minutes at a time. Whether it just be deleting photos in my camera roll that don't matter and videos that don't matter. Or going back and editing photos from last Christmas that I still haven't looked at yet. And just getting that one session done and backed up and making sure that they're there. And just knowing that I have a list of running lists of where everything is. And what really mattered or those highlights that have stuck out in the last three, five years that I haven't actually gotten to. .So that they're there when I need them when I need them.

[00:25:44] Jennifer Wilson: Okay. Well yeah let's get more into kind of your process, your approach. And maybe kind of starting big picture. You know your your business is called Frame of Life and who and how are you looking to serve them?

[00:25:57] Kiera Liu: So I am looking for that overwhelmed memory keeper who is staring at their phone and they're getting that message that says, hey I'm out, you're out of space, you gotta delete something, or buy more a new cloud. Or they just cannot find the pictures that they want when they want them. And they're like deathly afraid of losing everything. That's my ideal client. I have been there before and I believe very fully that there are simple things you can do to get past that. That every day If you do these little tiny steps you're gonna be able to work through a process that makes it easier to find your stuff and make sure you're backed up. So I am offering, I've got the Memory Makers Masterclass that we are creating right now that is walking through all the steps that you could take. But I also just post inspirational contents on Instagram that helps you make each step a little bit simpler. As far as identifying like a cloud service to you so that you know that your photos are backed up. And how to use daily delight so that you go through your camera roll and just take those, just get those favorite photos and make sure that those are saved. And um I have a photo tracker that has been like the biggest thing that since I put that out there has been downloaded so many times. It's like amazing how many people are recognizing the need to have a place to be able to keep track of what you were doing. And where you left off so that you can find them when you need to.

[00:27:22] Jennifer Wilson: Well we will link that one up for sure as well as all of the other things that you've mentioned. Now one of the things you recently posted which really caught my eye is the real reason your projects never get done. Can you talk more about the cycle of a project and how you get out of maybe the negative parts of it?

[00:27:42] Kiera Liu: Yes absolutely. That I I was just thinking about this like how every time I feel like it it doesn't matter where you are in the cycle. So I'm going to I'll send you a link to the graphic so that people can follow along and know like what we're talking about. But basically I say that there's a small photo project in your mind that just like starts small as this idea of I wanna do something with my photos. And then you think about it and you're like okay well now I have like time to work but I only have five minutes. So I'm gonna like start. And then time goes by, your kids run in, your dinner's burning like you can't actually spend those five minutes and you forget about it. And then you decide well I'll just get back to this when I have time. And then all of a sudden another year goes by and then it's Black Friday and a huge sale comes up. And you're like oh I did wanna start that project and they have free shipping and it's 15% off. I could save so much money if I just made five family yearbooks right now tonight in the next three hours. You just get back in the same where's my photos? Do I have time to sit down? I don't remember where I left off. And you're like literally in this loop and it you can't get out of it. So I've started to help people figure out like the way to get through it. And I just wanna pull up my what I wrote down so I can help. So way I help people get it through that is to start with a like six steps plan here. One is to sort and organize your favorite photos as you take them. So that is going through on a daily or weekly basis when you're using your phone or whatever camera you're using to take your pictures and you're gonna get rid of those ones that don't matter to you. So that automatically all the ones that are bad shots or ones that don't matter you're gonna get rid of. And then if there's really great shots the perfect moment that you just captured and you know that that's this is the picture I wanna keep. You're gonna save that one and add it to an album on your phone. Or if you're using an external hard drive or something on your computer you're gonna use descriptive file names for what that image is. So I always love to name my um files the the year, the month, and the day. And then put in that file name something of what's happening. So it would say like Willow's first tooth or lost tooth or something that I can search later in my phone or like just typing it in in my phone. Or typing it on my computer. And that image will pop up because the image name that descriptive name in it. And then I like to break down all of my projects into tiny steps. Like the simplest steps first. And I always go backwards. So I start at the end and I like to look at like the end product like I want a wedding album. Okay well if I want a wedding album where do what would the next step from having the wedding album be in the that would be order the wedding album. Well then going backwards if I'm ordering the wedding album I'd have to put everything in order. You know and like find the pictures and then I oh if I'm gonna find the pictures where's the cord for that drive. Or do I have to get them on the cloud but I don't know the pin. And it's just going backwards and finding out what all the steps might be and then working your way through that. That you're doing one small step at a time. And keeping track of your progress so that you know where you are in that process. So if that wedding album example is that you gotta find your wedding photos, you know you found your wedding photos and you've got them here you can just check off that like on your list. I got the wedding photos they're here and this is the pin number to download them. And I've downloaded them. Or I've got the cord. And it's there. Um but keeping track of your progress is really like key to me. And it's having it in a space that can get to quickly. So I like to use um Asana and I also have um a Google Sheets that I've used in the past too before Asana. That is really helpful for people who aren't in the Asana world. But just like having a running list of what my projects are and all the small little steps that it takes to get there. So that I can check 'em off as I go. And then I make sure that I'm saving much as possible as I'm doing it. So that any progress I am making doesn't get deleted. And then I'm backing up those photos that matter the most as much as I can. So I'm backing up Um I try to do like the industry standard of a 3-2-1 method where it's you have three copies, two are um local, and one is in the cloud. Um but I at a minimum always have my photos on a hard drive, on a memory card, and stored up somewhere in the cloud. So that I feel confident that if something happens catastrophic I can get those main favorite photos when I need 'em.

[00:32:14] Jennifer Wilson: So as I I've been listening to you I I have come to understand that you are just incredibly passionate about simple systems as well as simple projects, in the end if we're talking about kind of the life cycle of our photos. What else in documenting are you passionate about?

[00:32:33] Kiera Liu: I think I'm also passionate about connection and what those stories do when you share them, and so who you're sharing them with. And I've gotten a lot more restrained on what I'm actually sharing on social lately. I feel now that my daughter's growing, it's gotten it's made it a little more more complicated feeling for me of like what I wanna put out there on the internet. Versus.

[00:32:54] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:32:55] Kiera Liu: How I wanna connect. And I feel like I survived the pandemic by sharing a lot more. Because I was able to talk to other parents in the moment and see what was going on and created this like virtual world basically of support when you couldn't get at other places. And I'm really trying to focus now on like how can I use these stories and experience these stories in real time and capture them and keep them within my family more. Like as a sa more sacred thing but something that we can use to grow. Um and I've I had been using Tinybeans in the past as like a private social network for my family. So that I could share these stories with the grandparents and my parents without it being blasted all over the internet. I've kind of fallen away from that in the last couple months and it's something I'm missing. And I've felt I've felt that lack of connection and it's something that I'm really driven to get back into. Like that daily practice of sharing these stories and curating what those most important moments were. Um because it has driven such intense connections with my family that is not close and um that live farther away. And it's been something that I feel like I really wanna make sure I keep up while they're still all living and are here and we can grow that connection together.

[00:34:15] Jennifer Wilson: I think that's a really important um sharing mechanism. Not really a gray area but it's not something we talk about a lot. We talk about either sharing everything publicly on social media you know down to the last detail or you know not sharing and not doing anything with our photos. But you know this area of sharing with our loved ones. You know family and friends across the world is so powerful and important.

[00:34:45] Kiera Liu: Yeah. And I think it's missed. You know, I think you can get in this, I've I've felt this. Like um I I have a podcast and I interviewed um someone about data privacy and what's happening to kids in social media and what is happening in this world of sharenting and sharing all of the information out. And it like froze me to be honest. Like I've like went into this state of panic of like what am I doing to ruin my child's life. That I've been so passionate about like embracing and helping document and share. You know and then it stopped me. And I took that time to really get close to the real reason of why I was doing it. And when I focus on that it there is the ability to still keep those stories close but also shared. And I don't wanna let that fear of like oversharing stop me because my family deserves these stories and we grow from those stories. So I really wanna keep focusing on that.

[00:35:41] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. Now you've already mentioned a bunch of really helpful tools and resources. But are there others that you think can help um someone find more ease with their photo management and their photo projects?

[00:35:55] Kiera Liu: I think the most important thing I wanna leave behind from this whole Interview together is that it's really important to just get focused on why you're doing what you're doing. And what it is that you want to pass on. So that you're not so dragged into all the shoulds and the what ifs and everything. But more focused and centered on why you're doing what you're doing. And if you can focus on those moments that you wanna capture that matter most in your life and seeing the details of your every day. That's where your life gets more fulfilling and your projects become easier to finish because you're so connected to them. Um so it's kind of a mushy gushy thing. But I feel like that's the biggest step for like connecting to moving projects forward. And then really just keeping track of your progress and breaking things down into the tiniest steps possible, because that's the only way you can really see fast motion.

[00:36:52] Jennifer Wilson: Do you have any kind of additional tricks for trying to get over that, I call it activation energy a lot, to go back to you know chemistry class or physics class. You know sometimes it feels so hard to get started. You know What's the what are the what's the first baby step that you recommend?

[00:37:09] Kiera Liu: So the first baby step I would recommend would be to really just give yourself permission to start. You don't have to be perfect. Like what we're doing here isn't precision heart surgery. It's, it's looking at your photos and starting. And it's really, if you can even write out what your why is might help you focus on getting past that intimidation. Cuz if you're, why is that you wanna document your, the, like, the story of your life so that you can feel more connected to your family. Like, then you shouldn't be so afraid of it being perfect. Because it's already happened. Everything has already happened. And now you can just take one little picture and move that step forward and just focus on what, one project at a time.

[00:37:56] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, that the connection to meaning in our projects is something that we're always talking about. How do we get back to that? Because whenever you're stuck, you're, you're stuck in comparison or you feel like things are, are too complicated. If you just kind of go back to why you even want to do it, that can kind of help you skip over those hurdles for sure.

[00:38:21] Kiera Liu: Yeah, and there's one other thing I'm implementing and it, I'm trying to bring it down into the tiniest space possible, but it's having like a command central. It's like what I really call it. Like I, when I went to IKEA and I bought a rolling desk that I can have all of my loose images in and my old albums and memory cards and everything I need for memory keeping right there. And I have like, um, my photo collection tracker out so that I can just add in handwritten if I wanted to. Like, like these highlight real moments of life that I wanna make sure I've documented. And then also track what I've taken pictures of. And I can just physically wheel that thing to wherever I need to be. And plop it next to my computer and get to work when I can. And then I can wheel it out of the way. And everything I've been doing stays there. So I don't have to get all those tools out again and start again. Um, and I'm not a very physical scrapbooker, you know, but it's still the act of knowing that everything I need is in one space that I can go back to when I need it. And I don't have to waste all that time gathering all the things. And it could be something that small.

[00:39:30] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, it makes a huge difference. Even when you were talking about wanting to do these photo projects, you just have to know where the necessary items are in advance. And that's how you're going to always make yourself ready to take the next step.

[00:39:44] Kiera Liu: Yeah. And it's having that running list, like even if it's using your Notes app or reminders on your phone. Like, something where it's like, just create a folder on there that's like these dream stories you wanna tell. Or like for people who do more elaborate, spreads and stuff that are doing daily scrapbooking. Having like one story that you wanna tell and being able to just have a running list of all these stories.

[00:40:06] Kiera Liu: You won't have to be able to think of it. That one, five seconds that you have to sit down, you know you'll have it right there at your fingertips to go back to and find it. And know that you haven't already I said that story cuz there's been so many times where I've tried to document something and realized, oh, I've already done that. I can't even count how many times I've done it the same thing a million times.

[00:40:28] Jennifer Wilson: You know, I wrote a really nice email today to our entire community and you know, it was based connecting to a photo that I'd recently taken to my daughter. And then I went back and reviewed the email that I wrote two weeks ago. And, you know, the photo was different and the anecdotes were different, but the point was exactly the same. So sometimes we just have like certain stories we want to tell and they have to come out a couple times. So.

[00:40:53] Kiera Liu: Yeah, but that may mean that's the story you wanna tell, and that's part of your legacy. You know, like when you start to see that history is repeating itself so many times that that's what your, your goal is. And, and it's really finding those little flecks and adding them up and putting 'em together. So I fully believe that's okay. Like my, my newsletters always end up sounding the same too, cause I'm, oh, wait I told that. But that's when it sticks.

[00:41:18] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Well, it's that treasure chest idea too, of like, what are these nuggets that we wanna save?

[00:41:23] Kiera Liu: Mm-hmm. Exactly. Like, and it's important cuz I've gotten, I've inherited a lot from my families over the years. And it's, it's, I, I wanna take a picture of this cuz it's kind of a powerful visual. It's like each person that we've lost, their life, handed down to me is in one large Tupperware container. And I'm this is very interesting. Cause if this is what we're left with, like what do you want in there? And for my daughter, who never met some of these people, what do you want that her to know? You know? Cuz it's, if you don't curate what's in there, it's, it's useless. And it's meaningless. Half of the stuff, I don't even know what it is. So, it's important to really think about what you put in there and the stories that are connected with it so that, that gets passed on.

[00:42:08] Jennifer Wilson: That reminds me that I've wanted to do a shadow box with just select items from my grandmother and you know, include some photos in it as well. And then kind of start the process of letting go of the rest of it.

[00:42:23] Kiera Liu: Yes.

[00:42:23] Jennifer Wilson: Because right now it's just sitting in multiple boxes in the basement. And there's no story being communicated to my daughter about, you know, her great-grandmother that she's never met. So we have to, we have to, that curation is what's going to make it possible to pass those stories down.

[00:42:43] Kiera Liu: Exactly. And that's a hard job. It's, it's not a little, it's not a simple job to let go of things when you're so connected. But the more you can pour your heart into those stories and what you wanna be remembered, I think that it's so much more powerful.

[00:42:59] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. This has been such a delightful conversation. Can you share where our listeners can find you online and anything that you might have new are coming up later this year?

[00:43:10] Kiera Liu: Oh, awesome. I would love to connect with your listeners and I've already met a few of some how they found me on Instagram already, so I'm excited to connect more over in my DMs on Instagram. I'm at FrameofLifeProject. You can also follow me, um, on my website. It's, and then will be releasing later this year. Um, our Memory Makers Masterclass will be going live to the public. I'm hoping to also offer these into smaller bite size, um, workshops that you can download at your own pace. So that you don't have to do the whole big thing at once. You can get smaller courses as you go. Um, so I would stay tuned over on Instagram. That's where you'll get the most information as we go. And then, um, I also have a podcast that has started in the last year that offers memory, making tips in little bite size chunks. So the episodes are around 15 minutes in length and um, they come out as often as they can. Haven't gotten on the greatest schedule yet, but we've got about 14 or 15 episodes in right now, and you can listen to that at Frame of Life Podcast wherever you can find your podcast.

[00:44:17] Jennifer Wilson: Terrific. Thank you so much.

[00:44:18] Kiera Liu: Thank you so much, Jennifer. It was awesome talking with you.

[00:44:21] Jennifer Wilson: And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.

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