Welcome back to those who are following me as I tackle the monster job of organizing years and years of family photos! In step one, I talked about committing to the project – and that has shown to be an important step as I progress, because I honestly have felt like quitting or putting it off every day when I let myself feel the scope of this project. SO it remains at the top of my daily/weekly/monthly to-do list, to remind me to keep going forward, even if it’s baby steps. These photos accumulated over many years…they aren’t going to get organized overnight.
I also talked about a plan for the final presentation/collection/storage of the organized photos. For some, that could be photo albums. Or photo boxes. Or even an external hard drive. For me it will be a digitally printed photo album. I am in the process of researching and testing options now, but I have a long way to go before I need to finalize that decision. Just having that goal, though, helps keep me focused and guides my decisions during this process. I will keep all of you updated as to what I discover along the way.
Finally, gathering ALL of my photos in one place is a necessary first step. I sorted into two main categories: printed photos and digital photos. I put all of my printed photos in one place, and I uploaded all of my CDs, hard drives, camera files into one folder on my computer (with a few broad subfolders inside).
Today is STEP TWO, which is actually a continuation of step one. It took a lot of work and research though, so I’m making it it’s own step lol! It involves digitizing all of the photographs.
I did a little of this several years ago when I used a flatbed scanner to digitize some of my family’s old photos. IT TOOK FOREVER. And the quality and resolution wasn’t very good. At the time, I only had the goal of saving them in case something happened to the originals so it was okay. But now I want them to be printable and of much better quality, so I began to research options. Lo and behold, my trusty camera phone turned out to be the perfect tool!
There are many, many apps for this and I tried almost all of them, I finally settled on Google’s Photo Scan. It does an amazing job, automatically removing glare and borders from the final photo at a decent resolution. It can be used with an iphone or android phone. Best of all, it can be used seamlessly with Google Photos.
Have I mentioned Google Photos? GET IT RIGHT NOW. It is turning out to be perfect for this project. It works across platforms and has desktop and mobile apps, automatically backing up everything and doing the heavy lifting for organization. Here is an article that will help you get started, if you don’t already have it: Getting Started With Google Photos. Now, I know there are some people who live and breathe Apple, so you actually could use iphoto and icloud just as well. Or dropbox. The same principles will apply. (please jump in with any tips you have in the comments, if you go this route – I would love to have more info available for everyone who is doing photo organization!). This will work well for me since my phone is an integral part of my family photographs now, and I can use both it and my desktop in this project.
Next week I will begin the process of scanning old photos with my phone. That will be easy with the app. What isn’t so easy is to decide HOW MUCH of the work to include with this step. Each photo will ultimately and ideally be identified with the name of the person(s) in it, occasion, and date. Should I do this as soon as I scan it, or can I come back to it as a separate step? Will that bog me down too much, interrupt the flow and tempt me to slow down? I’m torn. I think I will have to actually get started to see what works best for me, and share that with all of you. I will be certain to make notes about the process and the pros and cons.
Looking forward to making some big progress in the days and weeks ahead! If you haven’t already, subscribe to get notifications when I make my next post so you don’t miss it…if you are on mobile, scroll down past this to the bottom of the page…if you are on your computer, look over there at the bottom of the right sidebar!