Monday, May 11, 2009

Organizing Family Photos

In another chapter of my ongoing organizational efforts, I am trying to get my family photos organized.

I am also an avid scrapbooker, so have some photos that are in scrapbooks. Most of the other photos have long since been removed from those destructive magnetic photo albums that were so popular in the 1970s. They absolutely will destroy your photos. These photos are stored in 3 photo boxes made specifically for photo storage. Originally I had divided the photos in the boxes, placing all of my dh's family pictures in one box, all my family's pictures in a second box; and then all of us and our children and grandchildren in the third box. This has gotten a little unorganized over time; since when the kids look through the boxes they see no need to return them to the proper box. I have also made an effort to label each photograph on its back. I include who is in the picture, where it was taken, when it was taken, any occasion that it may be of, etc. Again this is not 100% completed, as I occasionally find unlabeled photos in the boxes.

The biggest problem for organizing photos is trying to organize all the digital photos as they number into the 1000s. With digital cameras, no requiring any expensive developing, to see our images, we shoot infinitely more pictures. A birthday party now can have 200 photos; instead of the 24 that the roll of film limited us to.

Also being a genealogist, I have scanned 100s of family photographs from near and far family members.

The problem comes in labeling, organizing, and ultimately being able to easily and quickly locate a picture when I want it. And I admit that I am probably only doing a C- job of digital photo organization.

I have made many stabs at getting them organized. Some of my efforts have been:
  1. I created a folder on my desktop that I named Pictures; and I drag all pictures on my computer into it. So that they are at least all in one place.
  2. I have created subfolders in the Pictures folders in the following categories:
  • Crafts - pictures of crafts I have done, or pictures of crafts I have seen that I would like to do or use for inspiration. There are sub-folders within this sub-folder for the various types of crafts I do; such as: Quilting, Crocheting, etc.
  • I have a subfolder for each family surname that I research, and place all photos of that family in each folder. Within the Talbert folder I have a subfolder for each of my children, one for pets, one for places we go (trips, vacations, etc), one for reunions, etc.
  • Scrapbooking - I am hugely obsessed with scrapbooking and have a massive folder with numerous subfolders about scrapbooking, such as: Sizzix, Cricut, Titles, Tags, Page Layouts, Pages I Have Done, Alphabets, Fonts, Borders, etc.

Now this may seem very organized but not really so much so. As there are 1000s of photos in there and there are many, many folders which are only labeled by the date that the computer imported them from the digital camera. Also when one of the kids stops by they pull their memory card out of their cameras and download a copy of all their photos onto my computer. Which is good because I have all the pictures and also good because they have a backup else where of their pictures. However, if they don't delete the photos from their camera after downloading to my computer; the next time they download it will download not only the new pictures they have taken since then, but they will redownload additional copies of the photos that were downloaded last time. This makes for tedious matching up to find the duplicates and delete them.

I guess, to put it into perspective. Yes, organizing is a necessary but tedious part of this; but that is only because we are blessed with the technology to save our littlest memories so easily. Our ancestors, would have priced as a priceless heirloom even one photo of that dear baby or of mother and father. So we are blessed, just overwhelmed. Like anything else, working on it bit by bit and having an organizational plan can help us get organized and remain organized.

Good luck with preserving those visual memories.

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