Updated: Mar 17
So, what’s up with Ancestry.com? According to Time and USA Today, family history research is now the second-most popular hobby in the United States. I’m not surprised. More and more people are calling me to preserve their family heritages’ essential asset: photos.
Photos: Organizing, Preserving and Cherishing Family History
In my early BGL & Associates days, I created unique photo albums, scrapbooks, wall hangings and more, for clients. Now, with digital photography, I also use digital systems to preserve your precious memories to easily share with family and friends. No more calling relatives pleading, “Do you remember that photo of mom and dad with grandpa and grandma at Yellowstone Park? The one with the menacing bison in the background? Do you have it, or do you know who does???” (“Huh” says the relative who has no intentions of going through multiple boxes searching for the photo you want.)
Photos Scattered Everywhere are Nowhere
People are realizing that photos scattered everywhere are really nowhere. From old print photos in basement boxes (deteriorating by the minute), to digital photos filed somewhere on phones, treasured family memories await permanent loss.
Somewhere in the Cloud...Uh-Oh...
Many think photos are safe on a cloud storage system—until they read the fine print. That print often states the company is not responsible for photos lost on the cloud. WHAT? TRUE.
Why People Don’t Organize Photos Themselves
What prevents people from saving their photos? TIME. Everybody says they’re going to get around to it, but they don’t.
The other deterrent? VOLUME. When people gather photos from everywhere, they are intimidated. It’s too much. That’s where I—and my trusted associates and vendors—come in. In fact, I’ve organized up to 25,000 photos for a family. Currently I’m working on Murray Williamson’s photos. Murray’s the hockey legend whose book, The Road to Respectability I helped produce. Right now, we’re at 5,000 photos, with many, many to go. Once organized, people celebrate and share their legacies. Imagine the fun—and the relief.
Photo Management Step #1
First, I conduct a Photo Assets Analysis to review your photo assets and needs. Then I create a plan and an estimate. Because family treasures involve multiple people, family members often join together to invest in the project. They’re happy to, because with the digital photo preservation hub I recommend, FOREVER Storage®, anyone they choose can access the photos they wish to share.
And it’s GUARANTEED
FOREVER Storage® is an online digital photo preservation and organization system you buy, rather than rent. All photos are guaranteed safe and available for at least two generations, online, on storage you own. Your purchase Includes a service that automatically updates digital photo data. That means it’s compatible with future generation operating systems. So, you always have access to your photos—regardless the operating system or updates.
To begin, we eliminate duplicates, separate damaged and poor-quality photos. Often clients tell me a particular photo can be tossed, but I point out, for example, that the photo is the only one they have showing their grandparent’s barn. Do you want to lose that?
These are things clients don’t think of, but as a Certified Professional Photo Manager, I immediately catch. I also set aside damaged photos to restore or toss. With estimates, they decide what to do. As the collection is culled, I hone in on categories, asking clients questions about preferences, really important memories and photo goals. Then I begin categorizing and tagging. There are hundreds of ways to tag photos so clients can quickly access them.
For example, with just one photo, I tag it for its location, such as Itasca State Park, along with the people, activity, (camping, sightseeing, or fishing), the season, weather (rain or shine?). The list goes on. The more tags I assign, the easier it is to find the photo. This takes time and patience, but the end result is so worthwhile.
You now have a readily accessible, preserved family history in photos and memorabilia guaranteed for two generations, at least. Now, compare that to shuffling through boxes, drawers, or tubs to try to find a long-lost photo. Or, trying to find a photo from your mom’s old phone...(sigh).
When I’m done, I meet with the client and show them the results. People often shed tears. They are stunned at all these photos so well organized and easily found. The memories pour forth. The smiles glow. Hugs abound. They now have their family history at the ready, and even I can’t be happier for them. Now years and generations of joy await them—all because they decided the work of a professional is ideal for them.
How About You?
Where are your family’s photos? Are you enjoying them? Or are they lost in the chaos and clutter? Are you wanting to remember your first day-of-school kindergarten dress, but can’t? How about that photo of you and your parents after the game where you scored the winning touchdown? And how many bunny-ear photos are there between you and your brothers? Remember those? If you want to preserve and share these photos, call us. It’s time you savor them—not dread them. Ancestry.com? Sure, but start with the photos and memorabilia you have before you—while you still have them.