How do photographers organize their inherited family photos?

What photographers do during their less busy times? 

Well, we have our own photo projects! 

I have inherited boxes, big and small, of family photos and slides. Most of it unlabeled or labeled with just enough info to further confuse the living relatives. It is a daunting task even for me.

How to start? 

  1. Break it down: Take it one shoe box at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed.
  2. Sort the photos: Divide them into three piles: keepers (recognizable subjects or significant), duplicates (choose the best one and discard the rest), and damaged or unidentifiable (have any relatives that can, review these before discarding).
  3. Group the photos: Organize them into logically themed groups that make sense to you. My brain works like my brain. I organize in a way that makes sense to me. You need to understand how you organize, and then organize so you can find them later. Be it by dates or keywords or both.
  4. Create a list of keywords: Assign keywords to each organizational group for easy search and retrieval.
  5. Scan the photos: Use a decent scanner and scan at a high resolution. Do not throw away the photos or negatives after scanning. This is really important. Because technology continuously improves.
  6. Upload to Google Photos: Create shared albums for each organizational group and add keywords. Then create shared albums and share them with your family.
  7. Create photo books: Again, you do you. Make books for your vacations and birthdays, but don’t forget pets, the homes you raised your family in…the big and the small things.
  8. Consider outsourcing the scanning process: If you have a large number of photos, consider sending them to a professional scanning service. Scanning is really, really time consuming.
  9. Print and preserve: Print your photos. If you have inherited photos from long passed on family members…you are holding something physical that lasted 50 to 100 years. Your grandkids will not be holding your 50 to 100 year old phone…

Realize the significance: Appreciate the historical value of your photos and recognize that they are a unique and irreplaceable record of your memories.

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