Sunday, January 6, 2019

31 Days to Organization - Day 6: Holiday Photos

Happy New Year! January is a time to start begin again with a fresh, clean it is only appropriate that January is National Organization Month! And since many people make a New Year's resolution to become more organized, I'll be posting organization tips every day for the month of January.

Day 6 - Holiday Photos

It's that time of year! Digital photos and prints are plentiful and for the old school crowd, rolls of film are being processed!

During holidays, people pull out their cameras and take advantage of visiting family members, merry making with friends and all-round happiness. The resulting photos can bring back wonderful memories for years to come - but only if you take care to preserve them properly. You've probably even received photos over the holiday from friends and family that you want to print or at least store somewhere where it can be easily found later.

Whether you have a little or a lot, take the steps necessary to keep your photos organized and picture perfect year after year! And of course, this information isn't just about holiday photos! It applies to pictures you take all year long!

Photo Prints - Organizing Tips:

Nowadays, most people who have prints made from their holiday photos usually have one of two things in mind - framing for display or scrapbooking. Whatever your planned use for your prints, you'll want to take care of them properly.

The first step in preservation of photo prints is organized storage. The more organized your photos are, the easier they are to retrieve. The easier they are to retrieve, the lower the chance of damage due to improper handling. The storage container you choose for your photos is also extremely important. Manila envelopes, folders, film developing envelopes, plastic baggies, corrugated boxes and shoeboxes are all unsafe storage options.
  • Acid, lignin and PVC will ruin photographs! Choose storage options that are labeled as acid free, archival safe, lignin free and are not made of PVC.
  • As soon as your prints are developed, write the date and event on the envelope so it will be easier to organize later. It would be better to go ahead and organize them sooner rather than later. The envelopes your photos come in from the developer are not safe for storage and photos left "for later" are usually left to be forgotten.
  • Separate the negatives from the prints. Negatives release acidic gases over time that can be damaging to your photos.
  • The simplest storage method is to store photo prints in photo safe pouches or envelopes in an acid free/archival safe photo storage box. Keep negatives in a separate box but just as well protected. The boxes should be kept in a cool, dark place.
  • If photo pouches are unavailable, individual acid-free photo boxes can be used instead. These rigid containers can easily hold an entire envelope (or two) of 4x6 photos. They snap closed keeping your photos safe, secure and protected. The clear front and back make identifying your photos easy. The boxes can be purchased individually or in a set with a storage case.
  • For larger photo prints (or school pictures, family portraits, etc), consider these larger project cases that will hold 8x10 photos.

Digital Photo Organizing Tips:

Digital photos certainly don't take up much space as their printed counterparts. However, people tend to take more digital pictures than they ever did on film (and why not when you don't have to pay to develop everything). Unless you have some sort of organized system in place for them, you'll have just as much trouble finding the image you need on the computer as you would of finding that old print of your mom's senior prom!

Organizing your digital photos doesn't take much time and it can save you a whole lot of headache later on.
  • Organize pictures first by year, then by date. Wherever you store your photos, name folders "2007", "2008", 2009" and so on. If you have an app that will regularly back up your device photos to cloud storage and file them by date, even better. Did you know that digital photo storage is included in your Amazon Prime membership? I love using it to back up all the photos I have on my iPad!
  • As you move your photos from your phone or digital camera to your file storage space, place each "set" of photos (those from a certain date) in it's own folder under the appropriate year. Name these new folders by their date and event (i.e. "Dec 25 Christmas at Mom's" or "Mar 24 Zack's Party"). Having a short description with the date makes it easier to locate photos since events are usually remembered more than specific dates.
  • Create a back-up for each year of pictures somewhere - on a CD-R, an external drive or another online storage platform. If you choose to copy them to CDs, be sure to label and store in a safe, cool, dry place. (CD-R CDs are recommended because they cannot be accidentally written over as is possible with a CD-RW. CDs are also less dense than DVD media which is more easy damaged and would require extreme care). Note: You could choose to save your photos to a flash drive but we have had flash drives corrupt on more than one occasion. Losing family photos to a corrupt flash drive is heartbreaking and something I wouldn't want you to experience.

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