Episode 110: Best Practices for Photo Organizing

It’s the beginning of the year. A good time to review the ways we approach our photos. 

Best practices vary based on what you are trying to accomplish. There is no setlist of what should be done in which order. For instance,  Identifying photo best practices are not the same as the tasks relating to planning a virtual reunion.  The same is true for photo organizing. The approach varies based on what you are trying to organize and whether it’s real or digital. 

Let’s start with the real stuff.  

First question: What do you have?   

Your ancestral images.  Your parents. Your own. Each one may take a different approach to organizing.  Your ancestral images are likely a mix of various photographic types some of which will require special storage.  Daguerreotypes and slides for instance.  Shiny reflective daguerreotypes and other types of cased images fit nicely in acid and lignin-free microfilm boxes.  Slides may still be fine in the carousel’s in which they are stored. Prints can be sorted by generation and name of the person. 

Your parent’s images probably contain images from before your time in their lives and images with you as a subject.  You might be able to sort them by year especially if they are still in the envelopes from the processor.  

Now let’s talk about your pictures. Do you have that digital divide that happens in photo collections? Its that moment when you transition to digital-only never to use film again.  That’s what I mean by a digital divide.  The shift in technology happens in most families. 

Do you scan everything?  

It’s one of those should’s that can be difficult to accomplish.  You could send them out to be scanned at a service such as  Scan my photos.com 

Once you’ve scanned the pictures you’ll need a way to find them. Metadata is key. There are a lot of photo organizers out there. Evaluate them based on whether or not they embed the metadata in the photo.

Related Episodes:

Episode 64   Save Your Photos with The Right Stuff 

Episode 50: Scan Your Photos with Mitch Goldstone


About Maureen Taylor:

Maureen is a frequent keynote speaker on photo identification, photograph preservation, and family history at historical and genealogical societies, museums, conferences, libraries, and other organizations across the U.S., London and Canada.  She’s the author of several books and hundreds of articles and her television appearances include The View and The Today Show (where she researched and presented a complete family tree for host Meredith Vieira).  She’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, The Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, Germany’s top newspaper Der Spiegel, American Spirit, and The New York Times. Maureen was recently a spokesperson and photograph expert for MyHeritage.com, an internationally known family history website and also writes guidebooks, scholarly articles and online columns for such media as Smithsonian.com. Learn more at Maureentaylor.com

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