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Thread: I have boxes and boxes of photos. Where do I start?

  1. #1
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Question I have boxes and boxes of photos. Where do I start?

    I guess I have been postponing learning how to "scrapbook" for about 50 years. I have boxes and boxes of old photos that really need to be put into albums or picture frames. Honestly, I don't know where to start. It's not like quilting where I am attracted to the fabric, the magazines, the posts on the QB, etc. I'm not really attracted to anything having to do with scrapbooking. However, I cannot imagine leaving this stuff to my daughter to sort out. I really need to do something.

    Help?

    p.s. On a related theme, we have lots of home videos on different formats (I don't even know which ones). My dh always insisted on getting "good" equipment rather than "easy to use" equipment, so we have rarely ever played anything we have. I'm at the point where I am thinking of taking everything to one of those audio conversion places. However, I'm thinking that is a pretty expensive option, especially since we would be converting hours and hours of really dull home movies in addition to the fun stuff. My dh has always planned to home edit the movies, and I'm sure he could figure out how to do it eventually, but he is still working more than full-time at age 68 with no plans to stop anytime soon. I am thinking we should do something within the near future. What have you done with home videos???

  2. #2
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    good luck to you. It will take lots of time and determination. I have a large plastic tub i just put all my framed photos and boxes and albums into. I may move this year and they are all in one place now other than the ones still on display around the house. Same with all my genealogical stuff. large heavy tub!

  3. #3
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    My recommendation would be to minimally sort your photos into various categories...family; vacations; special events; whatever fits your life. As you are going through that process, toss out the bad photos that we have all been convinced we need to keep. You know, heads chopped off; big old blobs of flash. Just toss them.

    You really don't need to 'scrapbook' if that is not your thing. If you can, write on the back of the photo who is in them; where it was taken; when; whatever you know. You can get photo background paper already cut to most photo-ready sizes - a bit oversize. i.e., 4x6 photo would go on a 5x7 sheet. If you are worried about archival quality, you can mount the photos on those sheets with archival safe adhesives. If not, a glue stick on the corners of the photo works. Transfer whatever you've written on the backs of the photos to the back of the sheet it's mounted to. Or make that one process. But if you at least get some basics on the back of the photos, you've passed on the info to future generations without making a total production out of it.

    Get some photo-style decorative boxes (or other size-appropriate decorative boxes) and toss the mounted photos in there with a label on the box as to it's initial category.

    You could even type up the photo info onto adhesive labels to use on either the back of the photo or the sheet you've mounted it to if you feel your handwriting might be difficult for others to read.

    And, frankly, I'd bite the bullet and have all the videos transferred to DVD whatever the cost. If DH is still working, it's not likely he'll get to that in the near future. If you at least get everything onto DVD, when those go the way of the dodo, you (or your heirs) will likely be able to get them transferred to the next generation of video file.

    My dad did that with all the home movies (and had copies made for each of the siblings) after trying to view them on the old family projector and having the bulb start melting the film due to it's age.

    Just my thoughts. Yes, it can be daunting and time consuming. It's like eating an elephant...just do it one bite at a time.

  4. #4
    Super Member ekuw's Avatar
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    Maybe your daughter can help? She will likely be the one who wants the photo's right? We had the same situation. My parents had TONS of pictures and slides. My dad was an amateur photographer. She took all the pictures of our school years and put them in an album, not "scrapbooking" just a regular album and gave each of us those. They did have the slides transffered to video, which was AWESOME. Now I will need to get those transferred to DVD. I think NJ QUILTER has it right.

    "My recommendation would be to minimally sort your photos into various categories...family; vacations; special events; whatever fits your life. As you are going through that process, toss out the bad photos that we have all been convinced we need to keep. You know, heads chopped off; big old blobs of flash. Just toss them."

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    Senior Member Barbshobbies's Avatar
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    There were no photo`s from home for me so I guess I went over board keeping every one, even out of focus. 56 years later I find my girls have given me so many of their kids (because they all are great at everything they do even get to collage of choice from their accomplishments) So I am over flowing and don`t want give up any! Hubby says we can`t live here much longer, so start tossing things out. I also need help bad!

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    Sorting photos is my plan also, started a couple years ago when I was off work because of surgery. Long process, not helped by me reliving memories while I sorted!

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by julie View Post
    Sorting photos is my plan also, started a couple years ago when I was off work because of surgery. Long process, not helped by me reliving memories while I sorted!
    This is my fear. I am not good with old photos. They remind me of all the wonderful people who are gone from my life.

    The posts so far have been wonderful! At this point I am thinking I may be best off starting with the videos. It seems like a more manageable task, especially since I would be paying someone to put them onto DVD. My first task will be to engage dh so we get all of those home videos together in one place. Then I could take the box to a conversion store to find out about how much it will cost (gulp). My 24yo dd would be thrilled to see some of those old videos! I bet they would make the best Christmas gift ever come December of 2015.

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    I had a scanner and spent hours and hours of just scanning in all of my photos and most of my mom's photos. I just did a bunch at a time, sorting as I went as my scanner was kinda slow. Now I've got all these photos on my hard drive needing still to be sorted into better folders, then burned onto DVDs to share. I figured that if I spread them around the family, if someone had a disaster and lost everything, at least the pictures can be replaced.

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    I started this project just a few weeks ago. I think it will take me the entire year to finish. I have 10 grandchildren, and I plan to make each of them an album. I'm not keeping all the pictures we took - we were not very good photographers back then. But I want them to have idea of what their ancestors looked like, and what their life was like, as told by the pictures. I am not making scrapbooks. I just have pages with openings for the pictures, and on each page I will include a short description of who/what the pictures are.

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    My mother did the multiple album thing for all of us when she got a bag/box of photos from her mother. It's not extensive but does have the bulk of the family members as well as some of each of our childhood photos. Not sure what photos my father may still have of theirs that this will need to be done with as well.

    Prism99...yes, your daughter will love the videos. The ugly Christmas morning hair/pajamas and all!

  11. #11
    Super Member gramajo's Avatar
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    My daughter organized years of photos for me while she was on maternity leave 18 years ago. She organized them by subject and date and put all info on the backs. They were put in envelopes in storage boxes. I am so envious of her patience and organizational skills.

  12. #12
    Super Member quiltjoey's Avatar
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    We have a chest of drawers full pictures of our 53 years of marriage, children, grandchildren, vacations, travels, living overseas, etc. For our 50th Wedding anniversary party, I scanned about 300 photos from over the years; from our teen years in high school when we met, through all the years and put them on DVD so we could have them playing while everyone was at the party . It took me about 2 weeks to scan all those pics.
    Since my DH was in the AF and we lived all over, we didn't see the family much. So when they saw all the pics of my DH and me when we were young and traveling and living all over ( like in front of the pyramids, the Effiel Tower, The London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, on a cruise, etc). We had swim suits, shorts, evening gowns and tuxes, suits, etc. on, they were blown away.
    They didn't realize how beautiful and thin we were when we were young!!! It was a fantastic walk down memory lane. We now have them on one of the rolling picture frames that uses a USB stick with all the photos on it.
    I don't think I will scan all the ones left in the chest of drawers. The DC and DGC can do it when we are gone...
    Last edited by quiltjoey; 01-15-2015 at 09:01 PM.

  13. #13
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    For those of you who have scanned photos, what kind of scanner do you use? Have to admit I never thought of doing this. I think it would be easier for me to handle this process than it would be to mount photos in an album or on cards. I have always worried about ruining the photos. How good are the scanned versions.

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    Well you can put them on cd's. I gave the first bunch to my daughter and she is scanning them and putting them on cd's. That is the easy way. I have lots of videos from my mothers trips that I need to put on dvd's Not as easy.
    Good luck. It is an overwhelming job. I have started sorting out the pictures not worth keeping and that will make the pile not so intimidating.
    Lynda

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    After our Mom passed my little sister took the home movies to one of the colleges that has a photography class- they put them on DVD's really cheap-all she paid for was the materials they used. But Mom and I went through all the pictures on my visits and separated them for each of us and our kids so there would be no squabbling later. We have traded and copied pictures of our parents so we all have them. My son put every ones pictures on USB's so we all have access to all of Mom's pictures now. I like knowing that he down loaded them on to my computer as well as on the USB for back-up and I still have the real pictures. I made a small shoe bag / envelope to slide them into and I carry the USB's in my purse.

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    I took the time to scan the thousands of photos of my mom's. It worked out wonderful and I distributed flash drives to my siblings of all the photos. Many pf the originals were crumbling with age. The only thing I would do is to create a backup copy of all of them. I sorted them on my computer and put into files. Afterall, I don't need a copy of my sister's 5th birthday. When my computer crashed, all my photos and I do mean ALL the photos were scrambled. Now I have photos of my parents in college next to my son's birthdays. So I have to go back thru all of them and recatagorize them. Yikes.

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    I needed to clean some drawers out because of needed space. Had couple file boxes. Put my sons' names on the boxes. Put photos that concerned them and their girls in to the appropriate boxes. If there were photos of both sons, I put into our box. Filled up pretty quickly. I got some folders I had and did put some of photos in the file folders. I use all archival to protect them. Used coupons. I go through little by little and only do like 10-15 minute purges. I've gotten them pretty organized by just a few minutes at a time. I usually do this maybe on a Saturday morning while watching the quilt/craft shows on PBS. DH hates doing this but I only involve him for very short periods of time. It has made a difference and my drawers are lighter. Point is just purge a few minutes at a time. You'd be surprised how much you get done.

  18. #18
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    I also had a few boxes of photos...just kept them allllll around me in the cold days of winter & started sorting! I have 3 children, and made a box for each...then I made an album for each. That solved a lot of it!! fuzzy ones, beheaded ones...got pitched!! others, well MOST!! got put in albums. It's hard to believe how difficult it was to remember the time frame & some of the people in those photos!! Enjoy!!!! : )

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    Senior Member kyquiltlover1942's Avatar
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    I bought one of the scanners that you just feed the pictures through and put everything on flash drives. Each kid has their own stick and grandparents and greats are all on the same flash drive. Now I just have to make myself toss the original pics.

  20. #20
    Super Member AngeliaNR's Avatar
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    Scanning is a great idea for photos. I'd want to keep the original, though. I'd sort them, then scan and put them in albums--all as one process. This way you don't have to handle them too much--just do a handful at a time rather than tackling the whole mountain. Once they are in an album, you know they are DONE.

    I agree about the film. Though it may be costly, a professional would be my choice.
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    I would suggest anyone with photos on hard drives/ pc's to copy the files onto an external drive. Paying someone upwards of $200 to try and recover those photos if the pc crashes is simply misdirected funds. Downloading pics from phones and cameras is fairly easy, and old photos scanned using my HP printer is also very easy-I can edit, put them in seperate files for family and then transfer the file to a flash drive and my external hard drive for later use. Once all the work of scanning etc is done, Using the external drive saves a lot of unnecessary worry that the pictures may be lost for good.

  22. #22
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    I love your scrapbooking idea but I have an alternative. #1, mark your pictures of who is who (do this while there is someone who may remember) (I made my Mom sit down and go thru all hers and I wrote on the back, I am so glad I did, she had dementia before she passed). Don't save a lot of landscape pictures. That tree in Utah looks a lot like that tree in Maine, unless there is a human in it. #2, Get a small scanner if you don't have one. They have portable ones that weigh nothing, I take it everytime I go to family reunions!!! Once youhave photos scanned in, upload to your computer and then it is easy to organize, you ca make as many categories as you want. From there, you can make copies for family and friends on CD/DVD, depending on your equipment.

    My Uncle did this of old family pictures, even went up into the mountains to get as many as he could. Sent all the remaining kids a CD. I up loaded my Mom's into ancestry.com (sorry, I just love that site). The future generations will be able to see who is who and my grandmothers old homestead.
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
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  23. #23
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    For those of you who have scanned photos, what kind of scanner do you use? Have to admit I never thought of doing this. I think it would be easier for me to handle this process than it would be to mount photos in an album or on cards. I have always worried about ruining the photos. How good are the scanned versions.
    I have a big HP printer/scanner/fax etc machine that scans directly to my computer when I am at home. Quality is excellent and have never had a problem with injury to the original photos. Then I have a portable one. It is several years old so I have no idea if it is still available. It is a Kodal P811. (here is a picture on Amazon but I surely did not pay that price LOL, but this one had the most pictures) http://smile.amazon.com/Kodak-P811BK...rds=kodak+p811 Well, I guess it is still available LOL

    This one uses electricity or batteries, download onto a microSD, which I then upload to my computer. I take it to all the family reunions and scan old pictures. It will scan up to 8X10. I love it!!
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
    Done is better than perfect.

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    I have been doing the same things with our photos. We have been married almost 34 years. Many times, we had duplicates made to give away except most times, none were given away. I sorted the photos by years, as best as I could, since many did not have a date printed on the back. I have created photo albums of our first 10-15 years; after that I became discouraged. My solution was to scan the photos on a high end scanner that can scan the photos through a document feeder. Then I sorted into folders by activity and year, sometimes per child or family member. Once they were scanned, I shredded the photos, unless I knew someone specifically wanted the paper copy.

    I am happy with this solution because I have two sons, and I know they will not do anything with photos that are not sorted or labeled. My in-laws left us two plastic tubs of photos, many without names or dates. I have no idea what to do with those items.

    I think the younger generations will be glad to have a thumb drive or DVD with photos to keep.

  25. #25
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    cajunowl, what brand/model of scanner did you use?

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