Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Floundering in a Sea of Photographs

I read a very interesting post at the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog this morning in which Lorine discussed her plans to organise her family photographs. A number of readers had posted thoughtful comments to the post.

I made some comments that I think are worthy of post on this blog so I am repeating what I said  here.

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My four grown children all enjoy flipping through our family albums and reminiscing.I am preparing a digital album for each of them.

I have combined my parents and inlaws collections with mine - the photos are all in albums arranged chronogically.

Over the Christmas break I borrowed a scanner with a feeder that would scan 20 photos at a time - a great timesaver. Over a couple of weeks I scanned around 5,000 images into folders by year with subfolders of specific dates for occasions like weddings, 21sts with lots of images. I scanned the images as .tif images at a high resolution. These are saved on an external drive and backed up to another.

I already use Picasa to organise my digital photos so I imported all my newly scanned images into that program. So far I have tagged 35 years of photos with names,location and various other labels eg Christmas, Swimming, Family Cars. Initially I applied a year tag to each image (easy to do in big batches). I have 19 more years to tag so I can see that an end is in sight.

Once the tagging is completed I will easily be able to retrieve collections to burn onto CDs not just for my children but for aunts, cousins and family friends.

My advice is get your images scanned and then organise them with software like Photoshop Elements, the Windows Live product or Picasa. Don't try to scan with a flatbed scanner - it is too time consuming. Get hold of a scanner with a feeder for a more painless process. Scan at a high resolution and edit your images with software. I particularly like the straighten photo facility in Picasa.

Thanks for raising this issue. We all need to think about preserving current family history for future generations.

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