Day 22: Make Good Choices
When it comes time to choose your photo organizing software, you have to have an honest conversation with yourself. What is your technological ability, what platform (Mac/PC, Android/iOs) do you want to use, how much time do you have to maintain your process? Use the answers to those question to help guide your decision-making process.
Day 23: Store Printed Photos Safely
It’s important to store your physical photos and memorabilia safely. Experts advise opting for archival quality storage solutions kept in areas of stable temperatures and low humidity. No attics, garages or basements, please.
Pass The PAT Test
Printed photos (and memorabilia) should be stored in containers designed for archiving. To be considered ‘archival,’ products must meet rigorous standards developed the Image Permanence Institute, by passing the Photographic Activity Test (PAT). The PAT test is the international standard for photographic archival storage, and you can learn more about it at the Image Permanence Institute.
Keep It Clean
Before you place your scanned prints and memorabilia into their storage containers, wipe the surface of each photo with a clean, lint-free cloth to remove any residue or dust that may be on the picture. And of course, wear your gloves!
Perfect Storage Conditions
Your photo boxes and containers should be stored at room temperature with 40% humidity levels, and away from light.
Stay away from basements and attics and keep them off the ground, preferably on top shelves or the 2nd floor of your home. When floods occur, homes fill from the basement up. Even though your collection has been digitized, and backed up with the rest of your digital images, you should strive to secure your originals to best of your ability.
Day 24: Create Photo Albums
Printed photo books, scrapbooks, and photo albums don’t rely on technology to enjoy them. When you create physical photo albums or photo books, you increase the odds that your family story and precious memories will succeed you.
Here is an article about research that finds that looking at and talking about photos makes kids feel more connected and closer to their families and makes parents feel like more capable caregivers: https://chatbooks.com/printed-photo-report
Look here for more information on the joys of digital scrapbooking: http://thephotoorganizers.com/digital-scrapbooking/
Day 25: Create Family Archives
The way we share photos and tell our story has changed significantly in the last 20 years thanks to technology, the internet, and social media. We can use social platforms like Facebook or Instagram to share photos and stories. We can dig into the past through sites like Ancestry.com and we can store, organize and share large collections of images through sites like Flickr.
This type of social sharing has its downside too. Privacy, security and the preservation of your online photos is a growing concern as we hurl towards a digital future. So what’s the answer?
Create a Private Family Archive
Fortunately, some solutions offer a private, secure place to archive your images, videos, audios, and documents. Online family archives provide a living timeline of your family story and make it easy for you to collaborate and share with family members. When family members contribute photos and details, you begin to build a family archive that is rich in historical information.
Tips for Successful Family Archives
Be selective: A family archive is a carefully constructed online album, not a dumping ground for all your photos. Choose pictures and videos that best tell the story and leave the rest in your digital photo hub.
Be descriptive: Imagine future generations viewing your archive. Is there enough information in the photo descriptions? Have you mentioned full names (and maiden names) to help piece together your family tree? Have you told important family stories?
Involve others: You can’t remember everything! Engage as many family members as you can to help add family history to your narrative.
Make good choices: The internet is filled with free and paid for services so do your homework. An online archive can become a family heirloom that succeeds you so choose wisely. Here are a few things to look for:
- Is the archive easy to setup and manage? Is it user-friendly and does the provider offer tutorials or training?
- Do you maintain ownership over your image? Read the fine print!
- Do you have complete control over your image privacy settings and are they easy to understand?
- Does the provider protect your privacy regarding your personal info? FREE services mine your data for advertising purposes and share your information with third party services.
- Does the provider keep your image metadata intact and in its original size? Some services compress your image and strip your metadata upon upload.
- Does your provider have any space limitations? Some services have a cap on how much space you have.
- Does your provider make it easy for you to retrieve or download your photos if you choose to discontinue the service? Some services charge you a fee or have download restrictions.
- Does the service offer keywording, ratings and a folder or album organizing feature and how is this information captured in the metadata? Some providers have very limited organizing options and don’t embed metadata in the image file upon download.
- Does your online provider have backup redundancies in place and high-level security?
- Does your provider offer a succession plan for your photos? If you pass away, will your family be able to access your account?
Telling your story is about so much more than posting photos and seeing how many likes you get. It’s more than a folder structure, neatly organized. Your complete family story shares your values, your beliefs, your contributions in the world around you and your hopes and dreams. It connects the past to the present and inspires future generations.
Day 26: Celebrate and Share
Your family photos and videos hold the key to your family narrative and serve a profound purpose, telling the story of your family. Now it’s time to celebrate and share your story and the photos that go with it.
Family stories build self-esteem. The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.
The New York Times published an excellent article in 2013 by Bruce Feiler called, “The Stories that Bind Us.” He reports that families who refine and retell a unifying narrative about their positive moments and resilience during difficult times, produce children who consistently show more self-confidence. Knowing the answers to questions such as; Do you know where your parents grew up? Do you know the story of your birth? Do you know of an illness or something difficult your family has experienced? was the best predictor of a child’s mental health and happiness.
Your family photos and videos hold the key to your family narrative and serve a profound purpose. With your newly organized memory collection, you have the ability now to curate your family stories into photo books, wall displays, video montages, online photo albums and so much more.
It’s time to celebrate and share your story with the people you love.
Here is a great article on the importance and impact of sharing our stories: https://www.cathinelson.com/single-post/2018/05/20/The-Gift-of-Memories
Day 27: Convert Home Movies
Time is not your friend when it comes to home movies on film. And honestly, when was the last time you watched them? Have them digitized and get them back in your life again. Here’s a great source: https://scandigital.com/
Let’s talk about your home movie collection. Remember that clunky VCR camera that helped you capture your baby’s first steps? Do you have memories of watching grandpa’s home movies with the family projector? When was the last time you were able to enjoy these memorable glimpses into the past?
Your Memories Are Fading
It’s time to do something about the rest of your memory collection trapped on film or magnetic tapes. These treasures are particularly delicate and need your attention soon. Magnetic tapes (VCR) have a shorter lifespan than film (grandpa’s home movies) and begin to deteriorate after ten years. But film has its problems too. If you smell vinegar, or your film has white or green chalky particles, then you need to act fast and work with a professional conversion service.
What to look for in a Home Movie Conversion service
Investigate how the work is done and who is doing it. Transfer services are abundant, and many of them use primitive equipment with minimally trained staff or film handlers. Many of these services use a modified projector with a video camera in it which tapes the image. They often don’t have the tools to improve the picture and can damage the film, and sometimes your film is sent out of the country.
Look for transfer services that use a sprocket less, capstan system designed specifically for scanning. This is the same type of equipment used by the Film and TV industry. This kind of equipment has tools that offer color correction, dirt and scratch concealment, high resolution and more. You’ll pay more for high-end conversion, but it’s worth it.
Ask your provider about the quality of their output. What is the highest resolution they can provide? Your goal is to have a high-resolution original as your master copy that will remain in your hub. You will edit and use derivatives to transfer to DVD or stream online (YouTube or Vimeo). If your provider only offers transfer to DVD or streaming to an online account, find another vendor. These files are highly compressed.
Once your home movies are converted, rename the files and store in your digital photo hub in their corresponding folder.
Don’t Forget Your Digital Photo Hub
Now let’s circle back to when we encouraged you to choose a digital photo hub that has a large capacity and stored locally on your computer or external hard drive. Your entire memory collection, which now contains high res images and high res videos, needs a ton of space! As your collection grows, so does your space requirement. Your locally stored hub should be easy to duplicate (copy to an external drive) and backup (manually or automatically) and is readily available at all times (doesn’t depend on an internet connection).
Day 28: Decorate Your Home with Memories
Are you looking for instant gratification while you work on that family archive or photo album? Decorate your home with the people you love! While you organize photos, you’ll come across pictures that are too good to keep hidden. Look for frame-worthy images that you can display on walls or turn into photo gifts for others.
Here are a few ideas:
Gallery Wall: Choose a collection of frames that suit your decor and create a feature wall in your home. This is an excellent way to showcase heritage photos, family weddings, a special event or vacation or the growth of your kids.
Canvas Prints: Canvas is lovely for its ‘art-like’ quality and makes a great statement piece. Look for unique fun photos that evoke conversation and storytelling.
Digital Displays: An excellent choice for technology-challenged family members. This plug and play way to display image slideshows is perfect for people who want a quick, easy way to showcase their memories.
Photo Products: There are many ways to take your favorite photos and turn them into photo gifts for you or someone special. You can choose from photo blankets, wall calendars, mugs, puzzles, ornaments, smartphone covers, and stationery, to name a few.
Click here for more information and ideas: https://www.saveyourphotos.org/blog/enjoy-photos-now
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