Memories are SO Important
When we moved to Mexico nearly 9 years ago, we packed a truckload of stuff. When we moved across Mexico to Campeche 5 years ago, we packed only 15 suitcases. Everything else was sold for cheap, given away or if we absolutely couldn't part with it but couldn't bring it, it was given into the storage care of a relative to keep for “someday”.
The thing that I most regret having to leave behind were our wedding photos, and albums, and our family scrapbooks. Years of memories and photos of loved ones were contained in those books. We used to look at them almost daily. It helped the loneliness of the mission field to relive memories through those photos and still feel like you knew and recognized the loved ones who were now so far away.
However, when space is at a premium, the 80 lb. tubs of scrapbooks didn't make the packing cut, and I have spent 5 years regretting that and wishing there was a way to get those memories safely here without spending a fortune for heavyweight international shipping.
I know there are other missionaries and expats who have lived the same experience feel the same way. There is hope!
Meet Aaron and His ShotBox
I met Aaron Johnson at a conference last month. Aaron is as tall as my Dad, and is the illustrious inventor brain behind the Cricut and the new ShotBox. I actually got to “play with” his invention and take some pictures and video with it (using only my smartphone camera!).
I have to tell you, I cried when talking to Aaron about the HUGE blessing the ShotBox will be to families like mine who leave home and family to move across the world, for whatever reason, and have to leave all of those precious memories and mementos behind. (I'm tearing up now, just writing about it.)
The ShotBox is the first ever fully contained, tabletop, collapsible, portable, lightweight, LED-lit photo studio. It has holes in the top to allow you to take straight on photos without shadows. You can photograph documents and it comes out as clean as a scan without scanning! It also has an attachable SideShot arm (shown below) so you can get the perfect side shot of your item.
The ShotBox weighs less than 5 lbs and collapses to approximately 14″ x 14″ x 2″ an easy size for storage or international travel. Fit's great in a suitcase and collapses small to store out of the way if your house, like ours, is small. You can use tiles, fabric, scrapbook papers and all kinds of around the house accessories to customize the backgrounds for your photos!
Creating Digital Memories with ShotBox
Aaron demonstrated for us how you can lay 3-D objects, documents, yes, even scrapbook pages or birth certificates, or old family documents still in their page protectors, inside the perfectly lit ShotBox and take photos with your phone or camera that come out as professional as you please. I wouldn't have believed it if I had not seen it.
My husband spent days scanning our wedding photos with a digital scanner so we could have them with us and still “travel light”. With the ShotBox, the process would have been incredibly quicker and less cumbersome.
Imagine if we could have photographed and saved the pages of those scrapbook albums as well, storing them on a thumb drive to be accessed at will, instead of countries away in a plastic tub under the eaves.
Great Looking Images
We had to purchase and import a scanner for documents because of all of the paperwork and red tape involved with visas, business and ministry here. The ShotBox and the camera you already own can quickly provide pristine cropped images better than the scanner we had.
Look at this photo I took of a postcard. That is my hand on the left to show you I really did put the card in there. And on the right is the finished cropped photo of the card.
These are images that I took of my dinner one night to see how 3-D things would do. I took these from the top and side views of the ShotBox with just my iPhone camera.
I can think of hundreds, if not thousands, of things you could photograph in the ShotBox, can't you?
- Wedding photos
- heirloom items (great for insurance photos too)
- Identification documents
- Family history documents
- Journal pages
- Scrapbook pages
- Recipe cards
- The kids' artwork (once it's served due time on display in the Refrigerator Museum of Fine Art of course)
- Local handicrafts
- Bugs! (my 4-year-old would love this!)
- Baby keepsakes and first outfits
- Local cuisine and fruits
- School project components
- lego crafts
- stop-action shots
- and so much more!
One of the ways we plan to use our Shotbox is to photograph the jewelry and local handicrafts the girls are putting into their store, Mexico Art & Decor. This will be an incredible blessing and I believe an indispensable tool for missionaries, expats, family historians, homeschoolers, YouTube tutorial creators, Etsy shop owners, bloggers, home-based businesses and more!
Every missionary, homeschooler, family and office should own a ShotBox! It is such an easy way to make those memories digital and make your life easier at the same time!
Where to Get a ShotBox
Paradise Praises Special Coupon:
Save $40 on the SHOTBOX table top photography lightbox with the code FRIENDS40
The initial investment in purchasing the ShotBox is going to pay off big time when you realize how many memories can be easily preserved and how many other things you can do with this one simple tool. I am waiting (but not very patiently) to get mine!