#SaveYourPhotos2020 Month Week 1: Set a Goal

Did you know that September is Save Your Photos Month? Join us for a month-long quest to protect and preserve your family’s lifetime of photos, film, and memorabilia. #SaveYourPhotos2020


September 1Day 1: We Are Overwhelmed

In 2019, there were over 1.4 trillion digital photos taken. There are also an estimated 1.7 trillion printed photos in boxes, albums, and drawers. No wonder we are overwhelmed! The Photo Managers can help. Check each day throughout September for tips! #SaveYourPhotos2020


September 2Day 2: Set a Realistic Goal

The first step of photo organization is to picture the end result. As with any goal, you must have a specific vision and a timeline for completion. How do you want to share and celebrate your photos? #SaveYourPhotos2020


September 3Day 3: Set Up for Success

Designate a temporary workspace in your home that allows you to spread out and that will be undisturbed. When your project is visible, you are more likely to remain focused and achieve your goal. #SaveYourPhotos2020


September 4Day 4: Include Keepsakes

Kids’ artwork and family documents, as well as tangible keepsakes such as souvenirs and family heirlooms should be considered as part of your photo organizing goal. These can be scanned or photographed and added to your collection. #SaveYourPhotos2020


September 5Day 5: Prepare for Emotions

Photographs allow us to reflect back on our lives, both the good and the bad. Many emotions may arise when you open long-stored boxes of photos. Allow yourself time with these feelings. #SaveYourPhotos2020


© The Photo Managers

September is #SaveYourPhotos2020 Month!

Only two days until September and #SaveYourPhotos2020 month!

Save Your Photos Month is a public service outreach campaign developed by The Photo Managers to teach you how to preserve life’s irreplaceable photos, videos, and documents, in case of an unforeseen accident or disaster. 

Every year in September, photo organizers, companies, and photo retailers come together to raise awareness and educate the masses on the benefits of safeguarding their photos.

Join us this year on social media, through online courses, and educational events: https://thephotomanagers.pages.ontraport.net/save-your-photos-month

#SaveYourPhotos Month Week 5

29smDay 29: Create Video Slideshows

Video slideshows or montages are a fun way to bring photos and videos together to create a compelling and emotional story. When you add music or oral narratives or both, the result is a living album filled with movement and sound that triggers your senses.

Slideshows are a great option for family gatherings, special events, and celebrations. And they can be a fun option to enjoy on family movie night. Popcorn, PJs and precious family memories, can it get any better than that?

There are online solutions that make it easy for you to create slideshows by uploading photos and video clips. Some online services offer royalty free music and templates that make it simple for you to render a studio quality production in a few clicks. If you prefer a hands-on approach, iMovie (Mac) or MovieMaker (PC) may work for you, or you can invest in software solutions that come with more tools, effects, and support.

Tips for Video Slideshow Success

  • The shorter, the better! Attention spans aren’t what they used to be, so keep your slideshow to less than 10 minutes or even shorter depending on the event.
  • Use a combination of short videos clips (10-15 seconds long) and a variety of still photos to create movement.
  • Keep the photos moving along at a quick pace. The difference between 10 seconds a photo and 5 seconds, is huge. Stick to 5 seconds per image or less depending on the music.
  • Music can make or break your video! Music should match the tone and theme of your photos. Choose royalty free music especially if you plan to share your completed slideshow online.
  • Add an oral narrative. Record Grandpa narrating the story of his mom and dad and layer this audio with the photos and background music. Please pass the tissues!
  • Don’t go crazy with transitions. Keep it straightforward and consistent for the best viewing pleasure. The Ken Burns effect is still a classic and dramatic way to view slideshows.
  • Add your completed slideshow to your digital photo hub and back it up.

Pass the popcorn!

Here’s a great article with lots more ideas: https://www.organizingphotos.net/video-slideshows-memories/



30smDay 30: Schedule Regular Maintenance

Don’t skip this step! Now that you have your photos organized, or even if you are still in the process, create a plan to regularly maintain your collection. You will continue to take photos; life will get busy, and chances are you’ll forget about the important task of managing your collection if you don’t take steps to prevent that now.

Create a Routine

Routines help form healthy habits. Choose a time each week or after each event, to gather photos from your memory cards and smartphones, into your ‘to be organized’ folder in your photo hub. Don’t wait until your camera roll or memory card is full!

Schedule It

Choose a regular time each month to sort your ‘to be organized’ folder and then move those images into the folder structure in your hub. Flag or rate your favorite photos from that month to have printed or placed into an album. Check to make sure your backup systems are working or perform a manual backup. Add this important task to your calendar so you don’t forget!

Spring ahead, Fall forward

When it’s time to change your clocks, it’s time to run a diagnostic on your backup systems and external hard drives. Most EHDs come with a utility that allows you to run a performance scan.

Happy organizing!


You made it to the end of #SaveYourPhotos Month!! We hope you learned lots of great tips and will have fun enjoying your photos!


© The Photo Organizers. Join the Photo Organizers newsletter list to get tips and resources right in your email box. Just go to https://www.subscribepage.com/TPOlist to sign up.

#SaveYourPhotos Month Week 4

22smDay 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.



23smDay 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.



24smDay 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/



25smDay 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.



26smDay 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



27smDay 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).



28smDay 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


© The Photo Organizers. Join the Photo Organizers newsletter list to get tips and resources right in your email box. Just go to https://www.subscribepage.com/TPOlist to sign up.

#SaveYourPhotos Month Week 3

15smDay 15: Take Advantage of Free Trials

Most photo organizing and photo storage software offers free trials. Use a small selection of your photos and play around with the software and see if it may work for you, your comfort level and your lifestyle.

Have you ever tried to google ‘photo organizing software’? The results can be overwhelming and at the very least, confusing. In addition to that, product changes continue to occur at such a rapid pace; it makes it that much harder for you to make decisions.

Here is some information that will help you make the right choice for you and your memory collection, and ease some of the fears you may feel about moving forward.

Desktop Photo Organizing Software

A desktop photo organizer is an app or software that you download and install on your computer.

  • Some programs work directly with your folder structure (on the hub you created) and apply changes directly to the photos in your folders.

  • Some programs work together with your folder structure and their internal database while applying changes to your photos.

  • Some programs are proprietary and work with their internal database or catalog.

Your workflow will be easier if you choose a program that works with your folder structure. If you select a proprietary program, you would have the added step of importing your photos from your hub into the program. There is no right or wrong; it’s really about personal preference.

Here are some essential features you should expect from a desktop photo organizer:

  • Is the program user-friendly and does the company provide training tutorials and good customer service?

  • Does the program use non-destructive editing (does it retain your original image)?

  • Does the program adhere to IPTC standards for applying metadata to your images? Yes, there are industry standards that you can learn more about here.

  • Does the program have key features such as keywording, a rating system, simple or advanced editing, captioning or storytelling options, smart albums, etc.?

  • Does the program offer a pleasant viewing experience or slideshow options?

  • Will your program organize video formats?

  • Is it easy for you to export and share images from the program?

  • Is your metadata intact once you export your image(s)?

Online Photo Organizing Software

An online photo organizer resides in the cloud, and you upload some or all of your photos from your hub.

In this scenario, you are sending a copy of your photos to your online provider and keeping your original images in your hub, which is stored locally on your computer or EHD. The distinct advantage of this option is you naturally, create a 2nd backup of your photo collection that is stored offsite (in a different location than your home computer or EHD).

In addition to some of the features we outline above, here are some features you should look for in an online photo organizer. Remember, when choosing an online provider to store and organize your precious photos, you are entrusting their safety to a company. Please do your research!

  • 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 your 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 your 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?



16smDay 16: What About Your Videos?

Don’t forget about your home movies whether they are on film or on your phone. They need to be culled, organized, digitized, backed up and stored safely just like your photos.

Your old home movies are filled with special moments. From the laughter of a child, to footage of wedding vows, to someone’s first steps or first words captured on tape or film, videos can be just as special as old family photos or school portraits, and they merit just as much emphasis when it comes to preserving and sharing with loved ones.

Old videos are much harder to share than photos because they require additional equipment. VCRs break down and are getting harder to find. Camcorders require charging clunky batteries and hardly anyone has a film reel projector anymore. The best option for sharing home movies is to preserve them in a digital format that can be easily shared with friends and family.

Both videotapes and film reels can be digitized into files whose quality is equivalent to the original formats. Once digital, there are many cloud platforms that make it easy to share almost instantly once your videos are digital: Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, iCloud and YouTube are just some of the many options available.



17smDay 17: Prints, Home Movies and Keepsakes

In addition to your digital photos, your family’s collection will include print photos, photo albums, scrapbooks, slides, family artifacts, kids’ artwork, documents, memorabilia, home movies and and any tangible item that contributes to your family story. It’s important to get rid of the clutter, organize what remains, identify the most important items, digitize them and create a backup. We suggest you approach part of your collection with four goals in mind.

Reduce the Clutter: Your boxes may be bulging with memories, but we know from experience that your collection is filled with stuff that can be tossed. Duplicate prints, memorabilia that has lost its significance, broken trophies, and more can be tossed. Let’s see if we can lose a few pounds in the sorting process!

Organize and Identify: Your memory collection will be easier to access, digitize, and share when you create order and identify your most important photos, movies, and memorabilia.

Digitize and Backup: Your printed photos, home movies, treasures, and memorabilia are just as vulnerable as your digital images that haven’t been backed up. Until you digitize your physical collection, these memories could be lost through fire, flood, natural disasters, human carelessness, natural decay, and any unexpected tragedy.

Create a Safe Archive: Once you’ve identified the keepers in the collection and created digital copies, you’ll want to ensure that your originals are archived and stored in a photo-safe environment.

Here’s some additional hints on how to slim down your collection of keepsakes: http://thephotoorganizers.com/let-go-of-sentimental-items-7-easy-steps/



18smDay 18: Themes of Chronological?

Are you going to sort your pictures chronologically or in themes? Is there any structure to your collection that you can build on? If you survey your photo collection, you likely took most of your photos in themes. You probably have birthdays, vacations, weddings, graduations, babies, sports and so on.

Organizing by theme has many advantages:

  • Themes make it easier to pull together a photo album. Put an entire theme into one album like a vacation album, or take a handful of photos from each theme for a family yearbook.
  • Themes are easier to identify than dates. You may not be sure which year a Christmas photo was taken, but you’ll know it’s Christmas!
  • Themes translate into tags and keywords. Once digitized, themes make it easier to determine keywords or tags when you move them into your digital photo hub.

If your photos are a mess of disorganized prints with no structure, then we recommend a theme-based approach.

If you already have some chronological organization in place then keep this intact and look for ways to build on that structure. You can still identify themes, and group photos based on your end goal.

With your structure in place, set up some index cards in sorting boxes or on a table and use these to group your photos as you sort. Jot down details on the index cards so they can be scanned in with your prints.



19smDay 19: The “2 Second Rule”

We all love to visit memory lane but when sorting your photos resist that urge. Use the 2 second rule to help make quick, gut-level decisions. You can also…

Set a timer: This can be tiring work, so set a timer for 1-3 hours maximum and give yourself time between sorting sessions.



20smDay 20: The Chemical Sandwich

As you organize and sort your photos, you may come across photos in old scrapbooks, pocket page albums and old magnetic albums that were popular about 25 – 30 years ago. Unfortunately, many of these albums may be accelerating the deterioration of your photos and you need to take steps to remove your pictures now.

The biggest offender is the magnetic or sticky album. The glue on the page surface, the acidic cardboard page, and the plastic overlay create a ‘chemical sandwich’ that is rapidly destroying your photos.

If you have these albums in your collection, removing the photos is a priority! Some may be easy to remove, and some may be troublesome.

How to Remove Troublesome Photos

Here are a few tips as you approach this next step.

  1. Find a photo in the album that is a ‘throw away’ and try to remove it first by gently lifting a corner. If it comes up easily without having to pull or curl the photo, then proceed.

  2. If the picture is stuck, take a thin metal spatula and gently work under the photo, or slide a piece of unwaxed dental floss under the corner and gently saw back and forth to work through the adhesive.

  3. Try heating the back of the photo slightly with a blow dryer then attempt the dental floss again. Or heat the metal spatula and use this to soften the glue as you work behind the photo.

  4. Try using a product like Un-du which is an adhesive remover used by scrapbookers and safe to use on the backs of photos.

  5. If all this fails, leave your photos in the albums and make digital copies with a flatbed or mobile scanner.

Here are some more hints on how to remove those stuck-on photos: http://goodlifephotosolutions.com/magnetic-photo-albums/



21smDay 21: Be a Detective

Memorabilia like documents, certificates, and letters can help you learn more about your collection. Take care of them the same way you take care of your photos.

Review for dates and details

Documents, report cards, certificates, awards, trophies, newspaper articles, invitations, letters, and other similar items contain dates and information that may contribute to your family timeline. Transfer dates to your timeline.

Do any of these items correspond with a photo in your digital or printed collection? Make a note (sticky note) with the image name that this memorabilia corresponds with so you can add this to the file name when scanning or digitizing.

Purge

Once you start reviewing your memorabilia, toss out anything that has lost its meaning or level of importance. Kids artwork is a challenge for most parents, and these beautiful treasures can clutter a collection very quickly.

Get into the habit of taking a photo of your child displaying their artwork as it comes into the house. Showcase their art for a period then scan and toss with the reassurance that you have digitized and cataloged accordingly. If you have a budding Picasso, then keep and store the very best pieces.

Digitize and backup

Divide your memorabilia into two categories for digitizing. Documents, report cards certificates, etc. can be scanned but bulky items will need to be photographed. Once you have a digital file, rename your files and add metadata using the same procedure as your photos, then store in your digital photo hub.

Organize and store

Store documents flat, in archive envelopes or boxes designed specifically for document storage. Label envelopes and boxes with as much detail as possible in case your envelopes or boxes become separated from your photo collection. Or add a few duplicate images that correspond with your memorabilia (not your original prints), so you keep your timeline and photos connected.

Finally, store all protected media in a safe place away from light, humidity, and extreme temperatures.


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