Monday, March 26, 2012

Preserving Photos of Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow Part 1

Preservation of Photos yesterday, today and tomorrow has many avenues.  Photographs provide a graphic portrayal of our families history, but if we neglect and do not preserve our photographs, some of our history will fade away along with those images. 

The avenues that are out there range from good old traditional scrap-booking, storing photos on our computers or hard drives, digital photo frames and online book bound scrapbooks. I have to admit that scrap-booking has been more of a challenge for me spite the unlimited the avenues available to each of us to choose for storage.  Why?  Well today we have digital storage that is enormous instead of a roll of 35mm film that has to be developed and printed. We take hundreds of pictures that if not downloaded, categorized, edited, backed up, filed appropriately  and stored in a safe place we fall behind and accessing those memories is a task only TIME can heal. How many can agree with me here?

For our family the old fashion scrapbook is a treasure and stored in a safe and accessible place so we can take them out and view history and memories when we have family gatherings.  I also have to admit I still have shoe boxes full prior to the digital age of photos that are still left to be scrap-booked.  However it is my mission in my empty nest days to scrapbook my families memories and then to properly store these treasures so if a tragedy or natural disaster should hit we have back ups for all our families photos, history and memories.  I have been scrap-booking for almost a quarter of century...25 years that is a long time and have to also admit I don't have it all done.  My years of scrap-booking has had its own seasons of plenty and want.  During the days of my children's younger years 35mm photos were the only means of taking photos and preserving our families history and memories.  Then came along digital and in the year 2000 our life changed in the way we took pictures and stored them.  In 2001 my digital library was huge.  I have a natural love of photography and the new digital age gave me unlimited and free photo takes which resulted an overwhelming digital library that has continued to today.  TIME... is needed in everyones life to go through these enormous libraries and sort, catalog, file in folders and of course label and date each one.  Then on to the truth, most of us don't have that much time in today's world.  I still fall behind but here are a few tips to get you started on a road of organized photo history.

1. Begin today.
2. Start with your most recent photos and work to the older photos as time allows.
3. Download to computer and label the folders individually.  If this is all the time you have then get this part done first and be sure to label the file with date and event.  
4. As time allows even if its 30 minutes to an hour one dreary afternoon.  Begin to dissect each file folder, I know there are the blurry photos, they really need to be discarded first.  You only have 120 photos or more of the "Blue Bonnet" takes. So you have now reduced it to 110 takes of the same shoot.  If you have 20 shots of the same pose you need to place them in order of best to worst shot and discard duplicates of those.  One by one you have gradually reduced hopefully your batch of photos taken and they are now in order of Best to OK.  
5. Next would be to upload the BEST photos to your nearest  photo printing business.  Most offer free storage and of course as time allow you can always go back and create a bound photo scrapbook, print pictures for your own scrap-booking days or even utilize these photo printing businesses to share your albums with family members without the use of the post office. By uploading your edited album, you have also created one back up for those precious memories should the hard drive crash or natural disaster occur at home. Remember to not store all your treasures in one basket either.  Select 2-3 reliable printing companies in order to avoid the loss of memories due to unfortunate disasters in the business world.  
6. From here TIME is another factor.  Sharing, displaying and working with your photos is the next step to decide on.  From here they are organized on the computer and one back up has been created.  HOWEVER, will they ever be viewed from here?  How many of us have memories of our camping trip that we actually access the file from our computer to share with others?  In my family, if the photos have not been printed and placed in a temporary archival photo album later to be scraped, or a bound scrapbook created on line they will remain on my computer and not viewed because well most of my family members are not going to stand around my computer to view our pictures. There are other options available and each person needs to decide how they will utilize technology or TIME to store and create a way of sharing those memories with others around them.  
7.  As you complete and edit each file folder on your computer, uploaded to a reliable source then the next step is to yet again back up your photos and for my families history I have learned the hard way.  Its best to choose a couple of methods.  Flash drives are larger and larger these days and can store quiet a bit.  I use these but I also use a external hard drive that is kept in a fire proof box when not in use.  A specific hard drive for only photo archival is the choice I have made.  There is always a chance of failure with any of our technology today so it is worth the time and effort to have at least 3 places for your stored treasures.  

In this Part 1 series you have EDITED, LABELED and FILED your photos from your camera on to one source your computer.  You have created an online source of BACK UP for later use in scrap-booking and sharing your memories and have BACKED UP to at least 2 other sources.  These steps are very important to your families history and memories.  Your now set to move on to the next step that will be covered in Part 2 of this series.  Don't put this part off or the unexpected will hit, technology does have its fall back and some of us have learned the hard way and lost a great deal of treasured memories to this technology. Your now set to move on to the next step that will be covered in Part 2 of this series.  Downloading, edited, labeling, filing, and backing up is the way of todays photo memories IT IS A  MUST!!! 

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