Moving Towards a Digital Collection - Step 2

So you have taken the first step in moving towards a digital collection of photos and selected the best of the best from your albums and scrapbooks. CONGRATULATIONS! Hopefully this was an enjoyable process and allowed you to share memories with family and friends.

Next, the dreaded boxes, bags and piles of photos. This is the single most overwhelming aspect for my clients, how to filter through them all. However this activity can be broken down as well.

First - I suggest getting some simple boxes or trays to group photos in. Foil bread or brownie (or turkey!) trays from the grocery store can work well. You want to have one for every decade you think you pile covers. Have images from the 1970s and 1980s - maybe 2 to 4 trays will suffice. Label each one by decade (or 5 years if you have a lot of photos). Just a year range written on a large sticky note is enough for labeling.  

Second - you don’t want to spend a ton of time reviewing EVERY photo. This is the secret photo organizers keep so that their workflows work quickly. You are only looking for date information (on a photo pack or back of photos) and placing the photo(s) in the correct tray. If you pause to go down memory lane, just realize this task will take much more time and can become exhausting. Often flipping the photos over and working from the backs first (where dates are available) can speed up this process.

Third - determine if any duplicates are worth keeping for another use - you don’t want to pay to digitize the same photo twice! Many times I see the full strip of small school photo wallets alongside the larger 8x10 photos. Digitizing the 8x10 is better, if you don’t need those little wallets let them go.

Finally - once your photos are sorted collect them into these date groupings for future review. You can put the clear lid that is sold with the foil trays over the entire collection or transfer into boxes or small tubs (your preference).

Still feel like this is a huge project? Involve others - family, friends, kids, grandkids. If they can read a date they can sort! Leave the mystery photos to the family and friends who may remember the events more clearly. Know that you are taking the second step in keeping your memories alive for future generations!

Is your print collection overwhelming? Contact me for your free 30-minute consultation to determine if using a professional will relieve that stress and allow you to enjoy your collection.  

Moving Towards a Digital Collection - Step 1

More and more I’m working with clients who want to digitize their photo collection for backup, space, and ease of use. Whether you have boxes and boxes of loose photos or all those binders of sticky/magnetic sheets, the shift to digital can be overwhelming.

The best approach is to organize the physical BEFORE going digital so you don’t replicate chaos in your collection. I love to help others break this approach down into manageable chunks. Let’s start with your album collection!

Do you have lots of binders of magnetic sheet albums (the clear cover over sticky pages)? What about all of those scrapbooks that you (or someone else) spent so much time on? As much as we enjoy them, they take up a LOT of room and are difficult to share with any family and friends that are not local.

The first thing you can do is review these books with one thought in mind - which pictures are the BEST? We printed a lot of photos particularly in the 1970s and 1980s but not all were winners. Time to curate so every photo you save is the one that tells the story. I suggest clients sit with a book and a pad of small sticky notes. Any photo you absolutely want to save as digital, put the sticky note over the photo on the protective cover.

When you are finished with a book, this activity will help you in two ways:

1 - Take a look at all of the sticky notes you have applied (not necessarily the pictures underneath). Does this seem like too many photos? Not enough photos for your digital collection?

2 - Take a pass over the remaining photos (not covered with a sticky note). Did any go by unnoticed? Do you feel comfortable in leaving them out of your digital collection?

Taking this first step will propel you forward in your digital collection goals. Make it fun by reviewing an album with a friend or relative or at a family gathering. Make annotations on the sticky note of date, location, people (if you don’t have that captured already). Know that you are taking the first step in keeping your memories alive for future generations!

Not sure what your digital library could be at the end of your efforts? Contact me for your free 30-minute consultation to understand that future photo collection.