A few months ago I asked you to tell me why you hadn’t begun digitizing and organizing your photo collections. Your responses ran the gamut, and some really surprised me!
Many of you said you didn’t know this service existed, and you are not alone. You certainly don’t need me to tell you that the number of pictures we take has exploded over the past couple of decades. We used to be more selective of the pictures we take, out of necessity, because there were a set number of frames per film roll, and maybe we didn’t have an extra roll laying around the house. Photos from our film days were maybe most often holidays, birthdays, vacations, or other celebrations. Now, we take so many more pictures of our everyday lives (which is ultimately a really good thing!), but the sheer volume can be very overwhelming. A study from 2013 estimated that more than 200,000 pictures were uploaded to Facebook every minute–that works out to over 6 billion per month! Literally, beyond comprehension.
We all have our slice of that huge pie. Whether or not you actively think about it, I’m sure you would agree that keeping your slice safe is very important to you. Personal archiving is a growing field that helps address not only printed and digital photographs, but also documents, websites, blogs, and social media profiles–essentially any ephemera that is associated with your or your family’s history that you want preserved for the future.
Some of you also expressed that not understanding the process is what has prevented you from embarking on this adventure. What is so great about deciding to work on your family photo collection is that you can be as involved in it as you wish. Or not involved at all!
Deciding to begin the project is the first step, and obviously that has to come from you. When we begin your project, you give me your photos (in whatever state they are in–albums, boxes, bags, slide carousels, etc) and I begin the work of organizing them if they are not already. After that, I digitize the photographs using a high-quality photo scanner. Then within a few weeks I return it all to you! If you have digital photos, we can organize those as well so that you have all of your memories in one place. How cool is that!
Some of my clients really enjoy working alongside me and learning how to use a scanner and manage a workflow so they can tackle even larger projects. Others are perfectly content to turn everything over to me and receive their photos back in archival boxes, along with a flash drive of images that they can easily share or use to create new prints, videos, books, or other heirlooms. Most importantly, you benefit from my years of experience managing projects like this.
In the past, family archiving may have only been of interest or available to a select few, but that is no longer the case. We all have a legacy now. We are all contributors to the larger cultural heritage and in effect we create our own “museums” throughout our lives! Each one of us must think about the physical and digital artifacts we create and how we want them cared for.
PS: looking for a way to jumpstart your digital archiving project? Check out my ebook More Storage More Problems: Easy Steps to Manage Your Flood of Digital Photos