How will you approach
preserving your photo collection? How will you approach
getting your photos scanned? What approach will you use to
create stories associated with the photos? Which photos will
you use? Our services and tools are designed to help you
sort through these issues and provide structure to the
process. However, the first decision you will need to
make is whether to do
it now or just wait until later.
The importance of NOW can not be
overstated. Many stories have been lost because memories
have faded and family members have passed away. It only gets
worse so time is of the essence and there is no reason you cannot
take the first step right away. You don't have to do it all
at once and we can help you get started. We like to say
"Impart before you depart!"
Option A: Pre-sort Chronologically
Gather all your
photos and do a fast chronological sort. A quick way
to do this is to get
10 large zip lock bags or storage containers and label
them by decades (1920s, 1930s, 1940s ...). Then go
through your loose photos and just toss them into the bag
that seems to make most sense. Ditto
with albums which are typically already sorted by year.
Don't dwell on
whether or not a photo should be scanned. If
there is any question at all, put it in the bag, set aside
the rest. Keep in mind that just because you can't
identify someone in a picture, maybe other family members
can or it may become clear later in context of other photos you
Next: break down each
zip lock bag into smaller units by year within each decade. Sort the photos by year as best you
can. Don't worry if you
get it wrong at this stage. It can be easily fixed later.
With the photo
collection sorted by year, they are ready to be scanned
and uploaded, one bag (year) at a time. Use a
tool, like ours, that allows you to upload multiple photos
at a time and tag (or stamp) the year to each photo during
the upload process.
Gather your photos and sort by
theme. This is a long term approach to the entire
collection but a short term approach toward creating
stories right away. Example themes could be your
wedding pictures; your parents courtship pictures,
paternal grandparents, maternal grandparents, vacations
This theme approach works well
when an event is coming up like a 50th wedding anniversary
where you might want to share a story in a group setting
that relates the experiences of the parent's
courtship. At the bottom of this screen are typical
examples of occasions that call out for a story and as
such often implies themes you may want to consider.
The downside to the theme approach
is that there is a very high probability that many
pictures may never get scanned and archived and eventually
When a celebratory event is coming
up, consider doing the theme approach as a precursor and
catalyst to scanning the entire collection.
Approach C: Don't pre-sort them at
Just scan and upload and do all
the organizing online later at your
We discourage this approach
although it may be the quickest. The disadvantage of
this is that you miss the opportunity to take advantage of
the human brain's ability to process and associate images
based on the context of which box or album it came out of
and what photos it was in close proximity to.
When photos and slides are already
contained in albums and carousels they are effectively
pre-sorted so further sorting may not be required.
We often make house calls to help
people establish a strategy for approaching the
organization and scanning of their collection. Don't
hesitate to call us for help.
A HEAD START?
a consultation which includes us coming to your
house, scanning 30 of your photos and help you
strategize your approach to digitizing your entire
a 6 month complimentary subscription to the tool set
so you can add more photos and create more stories
on your own.
is an excellent way to explore the possibilities
achieved by digitizing your photo collection.
consultation fee with scanning, strategy proposal
and story creation $95
Approach D: CASE
Janice, an 80 year
old great grandmother (who took her commitment to archive
her entire photo collection very seriously) used a unique
approach that took advantage of a feature in our system
that automatically updates the image record in the
database with the original file name when
pre-sorting the photos (prior to scanning), she identified
photo info in the file name when saving the scanned
image. As best as she could recall, she included in
the file name:
- year taken (a
guess if she had to)
- month taken
- place taken
- names of family
members in the picture
- in some cases
comments as well
file name = 1945 Dec Hamilton
Indiana George Janice Mildred Frank.jpg
year was a best guess and since the photo had a Christmas
tree in the picture the month was a good guess also.
was able to perform a series of searches on the original
file name and then mass update image records in the
database because 1) she had provided this much detail in
the image file name and 2) file names of scanned images
are captured in our system on upload.
1: of a search and update - find all photos
where the original file name contains
"1945". Then she could mass update
the "year" field with 1945.
2: find all photos whose original file name
contains "Janice" and mass update
"people in photo" field with Janice.
repeating this process with each family member's names and
place taken, all 6,000 image records were updated
relatively quickly, within a couple of hours. This
also worked for her because she had some semblance
of order in her collection that helped in the
identification process as well as some photos had notes on
the backs of the photos.
would put in several hours a day scanning and naming files
and then upload the days batch at the end of the
reality, it is likely (and ok) to use a combination of all
of the above approaches. The important thing, go with what is easiest
especially if the alternative is to put it off until later.
p p r o a c h e s t o S t o r y
C r e a t i o n A f t e r S c a n n i n
process of creating a story can be as enriching as the end
result is rewarding. Here are some possible
scenarios that you might want to consider using to inspire
you to get started.
of a grandparent
an online slide show with written or recorded
narrative about your memories with that person and
what he or she means to you. Add music and make it
focused stories represent opportunities to share
with others what your time
with them has meant. Create an online slide show,
or photo book that reviews the life with that
person from the courtship years to the
present. Add music (if online) or narrative
(if online or photo book format) to make it really
a loved one with a life review
pictorial life review of the evolution of a person
from birth to present might feature all the
milestones in that personís life. Possibly
include birth picture, first steps,
first grade, first bike, first girl/boy friend,
first date, graduation, first car, wedding, jobs,
retirement. Add music or narrative to
add dimension and meaning to the life of the loved
one or the couple with their favorite songs.
occasions represent a sad time for family and
friends but creating a review of the personís
life is a great way to remember them as an
individual who, like all of us, was born
into this world, evolved from childhood to young
adult to adult and who, while departed, has left a
footprint genetically and/or experientially.
Stories of this nature are best when they capture
the essence of who that person was and the impact
that personís life has had on others.
blogs will deal with how to approach this type of
story (as well as other types) in greater
detail. Register to
be notified of blog postings.
gift and intergenerational opportunity
parent's or grandparent's life deserves to be
acknowledged and there is no better way than to
give them the gift of memories. If they have
already passed consider taking the time to share
your memories of them with your children and
blog on the value of family legacies for children
just some examples of "end product" goal which
may motivate you to get started. Rather than scanning (digitizing) all the photos all
at once (a seemingly overwhelming task that keeps people
from doing anything with their collection) approach it one
story or project at a time. Doing it in chunks will reward
you when sharing it for the given occasion and will
provide inspiration and momentum to keep you going with
the rest of the collection.