Summer approaches! Get those cameras ready! Be sure your camera phones are always fully charged, and have the extra battery for your larger digital camera all set to use! The grandchildren will soon be visiting and you'll want to be sure to capture all those glorious summer memories.

Our family is just a wee little bit camera crazy. Grampy likes taking action shots and unposed pictures. My sister has her nieces "work it, work it" as they model their new clothes, and she does wonders with digital enhancement of her photos as well.

My advice? Create photo albums every year. And don't procrastinate. As soon as your grandchildren have returned home, get those photos onto the computer and create a digital photo album. We do this times for each "event" during our granddaughters' visit. Grampy uploads photos per trip or occasion (birthday photos go in one album, trip to the beach in another, and so on). If you want a physical photo album in your hands, print out your favorite photos from your time together and make a keepsake that way. The physical albums I create are primarily for us as the grandparents. We can look at them throughout the year and remember all the fun we had. Our granddaughters enjoy looking at them each summer, too. But everyone has access to the digital albums. Family and friends all over the globe can share in our fun. I call them my electronic brag books!

My first physical photo album was created after they were both old enough to visit, and I did it up big! It's all in scrapbook form, complete with decorative pages, stickers, photos and captions. Swimming and boating pictures on blue, water-themed pages; hiking trip pics on leafy, green sheets; stickers of bubbles and rubber ducks on bath time photos; glamor girl/girls rock/divas rule/absolutely fabulous and similar words scattered among the modeling photos. You get the idea. It takes a bit of time and work to create this kind of album, but they are truly keepsakes!

Of course, digital photo albums can be created this way, too. Choose your backgrounds, caption your photos, etc., etc., etc. You can even make a book if you wish, and let the computer do the work for you instead of creating a handmade scrapbook. No glue, no stickers, no fuss. You just have to know how to make a digital photo album. I am not tech savvy, thus I prefer to print out photos and put them in physical albums. Still old school, I guess.

A word about digital albums.You can upload photos of your choice to albums on a site such as Shutterfly, share those albums and order prints if you'd like. But you might not be able to download photos in full resolution from such a site. (If that's important to you, check out a site's rules before committing to it. We found out the hard way when Shutterfly, which does not allow full-resolution downloads, inherited our photos from the now-defunct Kodak Gallery, which did.) In any case, it's important to safely store ALL of your photos in the "cloud" using Dropbox or the like. And label those photo so they're easy to find.

Whoever the shutterbugs are in your family, just be sure they don't spend all their time behind the lens. Encourage them to interact with the children AND be included in some of the photos with them. Otherwise, the children might wonder what Uncle Charlie looked like if they never see any pictures of him!

Let the children take photos of you (and your pets, family members, rainbows, waterfalls, zoo animals, nature scenes), too! They already know how to use the ones on their phones. But put a real camera in their hands and teach them how to use that as well. Here's to yet another teachable moment, and you may very well have sparked an interest in someone becoming a professional photographer!

Above all, as Grampy says, "Have fun!"

and say "CHEEEEESE!"