5 Steps for Stress-Free Photo Organizing
I recently went to my storage unit looking for a specific photo album, and I was rummaging through my stuff I realized that many of my photos from the 70’s and 80’s had faded tremendously, sceneries were hard to distinguish and a lot of my photos were just meaningless now. As I continued to go through my photos, I understood that I needed to start purging the “bad and the ugly” and begin to think about digitizing the keepers. I’ve always enjoyed having organized albums but at this point in my life they were just taking up lots of space.
Many of my clients are in the same boat and have asked me what to do with photos so I have compiled some tips that I have used to identify, categorize, minimize and efficiently store photos.
Yes, it’s time consuming but at the same time it’s fun going down memory lane. Not only will your memories be in order but you’ll be able to easily share them with friends and family.
1. Steps to sorting photos:
Decide what room you would like to organize the photos and make sure you have a large table top such as a kitchen table, dining room table, fold out table, craft table, etc. This area is to be used just for photo sorting for several days or weeks.
Gather your photo albums. Part of our goal here is to purge, sort and digitize. As you digitize and eliminate the albums think about all the space created.
Remove the photos from the albums. Dental floss is recommended by the experts to remove the back of the pictures from the sticky page if needed. I use shoe boxes or photo boxes to create a filing system with labels to make it easy for digitizing.
Sort pictures into events such as vacations, weddings, and birthdays. Pictures not associated with specific events can be grouped by person, family or years. Put your sorted stacks into the shoe boxes. Large photos can be stored in larger document boxes or put in a binder using clear pages.
As you begin sorting, toss and unrecognizable photos, people you don’t recognize or care about anymore, scenic shots that don’t have importance.
2. Decide on storage.
· The main options are your computer, external drives and in cloud storage. Thumb drives can be used for smaller volumes of photos. I scan to an external drive and then copy the photos to my Google Drive cloud storage.
3. Home photo scanning and digitizing options:
· Flatbed scanner- Dedicated scanners allow you to scan large photos but this scanner can be slower going with smaller photos. The All-In-One Printer with flatbeds allow for scanning but putting the photos on the glass can become a pain and very time consuming. I only use my printer for printing photos.
· Autofeed scanner- This type of scanner is great for scanning hundreds or thousands of photos as it’s fast and reliable. There are many brands to choose from but I recommend the Epson FastFoto FF-680.
· Mobile Scanner- I have used the Plustek Photo Scanner because its portable and allows me to scan photos at my clients home.
· Smartphone and Tablet- Mobile cameras have improved tremendously over the years which makes it simple for digitizing small amounts of photos. The smartphones aren’t considered high resolution but using the scanning apps makes it convenient and works great if you can’t remove a picture from a frame or album.
4. Scanning doesn’t actually archive information about your photo.
· That’s right, digitizing your vintage family photos isn’t enough. It’s no different than discovering an old photo album only to realize that no living person could possibly identify the people depicted, let alone their stories. Have you scanned dozens (or even hundreds) of family pictures, but never actually attached any information to them.
· In order to add vital information to your photos such names, dates, etc. add information (or metadata) where you can fill in the fields provided with the date being the most important. Doing this process will help when sorting in other software later.
5. Professional Digitizing Services:
· If you don’t want to take the time to digitize the pictures yourself there are a variety of online companies that will digitize your photos based on per-print cost such as ScanCafe, DigMyPics, ScanMyPhotos and Legacybox.
Kims Organizing Solutions will be glad to help get your photos sorted and organized for digitizing.
6. Now it’s time to share and enjoy!
Serving Montgomery, Conroe, Willis, The Woodlands, Spring, Magnolia, Tomball and surrounding
(complimentary to familysearch.org)