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Start Thinking About Scanning Your Family Photos

old documents and photos

old documents and photos

If you’d like to have your family photos scanned and organized sometime in the future, I recommend you start thinking about it now! Family photo projects can take a long time—especially since many people are often involved. I suggest you get the conversation started soon with your family.

Start Talking To Your Family

If you’ll be gathering with family during an upcoming holiday or event, try to take that opportunity to have a group conversation. Holidays are also a wonderful time to look at and enjoy old photos and photo albums with your family. Encourage family members to bring photos and albums with them to family gatherings. It’s an opportunity to hear stories and learn. Take notes! Handle photos carefully. Hold them by the edges. Fingerprints show up on scans!

Time Is Not on Your Side!

Over time, your photos and albums will continue to discolour and become more fragile. The sooner you get started, the better the scanned images will be. People’s memories fade also! Talk to your relatives and get information about family history before that information is lost. The first photos and albums that should be scanned are the oldest. Many old photo albums have photos stuck to the pages. The pages also often have writing on them with important details. I can scan the full pages of albums. That preserves the full ‘story’ the page tells. I can also isolate individual photos from an album page.

Locate and Protect Your Photos

The first step in the project is to start locating photos and albums. Find out who has what and keep a list. Damage can happen quickly! Protect photos and albums in ‘Rubbermaid’ type containers with lids. Extra-Large Ziploc bags are great for protecting items also. Avoid storing items in attics or basements where very high or low temperatures may cause photos to deteriorate faster.

Preparation Tips

If you’re thinking of working with me or another photo organizer on the project, Do NOT start organizing the photos. I provide my clients with specific instructions for gathering photos and preparing them for scanning and organizing.

What you should do:
  • Locate photos and photo albums. Make sure they are stored safely.
  • If you have slides, film, or VHS tapes, decide what you want converted to digital.
  • Find out what photos and albums other family members have that should be included in the project.
  • Make a list of framed photos that need to be scanned. If a photo cannot be removed from the frame, a good scan can often be done through clean glass.
  • Think about any documents you’d like to haver scanned. Letters, postcards and documents help tell a family’s story.
  • Take the time to enjoy the photos while you’re gathering them!
What you should NOT do until you have specific instructions:
  • Do not remove photos from albums. Photos are usually in chronological order in albums. That order should be protected.
  • Do not remove photos from envelopes – sometimes the envelopes have date information on them that should not be lost.
  • Do not discard photos you don’t want. An unwanted photo might have a note or date on the back that could help date other photos.
  • If you’re looking at or going through loose photos, keep chronological order whenever possible. Do not group by theme or event. Date is most important.
It can be a big project! Try scheduling time to work on your project weekly or monthly. Most importantly: enjoy your photos during the process.

Got Questions? Contact me for a free consultation

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