It’s estimated that we take 1.2 trillion pictures a year, and 85% of them are taken on smartphones! We all know that taking a picture is really easy, but what about getting that digital image into a form where it can be seen more readily? As you know from previous #familyhistoryfriday articles, accumulating a stockpile of photos isn’t really the goal. Having gigabytes upon gigabytes of photos that remain untouched and unappreciated don’t do the heart and soul good– seeing those photos does. The whole point of taking a picture is to see it, not to store it. We’ve all mastered Step 1: how to take a digital picture. Now let’s conquer Step 2: how to print those pictures from our phones.
As we talk about photos this month on Evolve’s #familyhistoryfriday, it’s important to talk specifically about how to organize both printed and digital photos. Organizing printed (physical) photos requires a good strategy, but digital photos are a whole new animal. We just didn’t take thousands upon thousands of photos back when we used film. In fact, you’ll sometimes see me mention people I meet who have a terabyte (or more) worth of digital photos on their computers. A terabyte can hold 2,000,000 photos. Two million. So organizing digital photos really is imperative simply because we have so many of them! Let me help with some steps on HOW to organize your photos.
Pictures are the focus of this month’s #familyhistoryfriday, and today we’ll look at one of the most basic photo obstacles: getting them off your phone. In the last 10 years or so, photos taken on a phone have come a long way. Back then, the grainy image was not really worth a second glance, but today I can take better quality photos with my phone than I could on the first digital camera I owned! With increasing memory capabilities on phones and better quality, the phone is a common way to take photos these days. And because phones are in our pockets, it’s easy to take a lot of photos with them. But now what?
I should expect it by now, but I’m always a little astonished when I hear the number of digital photos people have on their phones, cameras, computers, and external hard drives. 5,000 on a phone. Two terabytes’ worth on a hard drive. No wonder people today suffer from Photo Overwhelm! This month on Evolve’s #familyhistoryfridays, we will learn some tips for decluttering photos and then organizing them. Knowing what you have and where it all is is very important, but much more important is putting those photos in a format where they can be seen with their stories. Don’t forget that digital photo storage is a backup, not the goal. Print is how photos are known and loved. (There’s a lot of flexibility in HOW you print, by the way. See several ideas here.)
Taking photos used to be more of a treat than it is today. In the 1800s, a small percentage of people had photos taken of themselves, and it was a big affair. It took a lot of time and money. If they were lucky, they had more than one photo of themselves taken during their lifetimes. Today we can have 100 pictures taken of ourselves in a single weekend. We take pictures of sunsets, animals, and food. Because photos have become so commonplace, it can be easy to forget how important they really are. Unfortunately, digital photography has led to photo overwhelm, and most often people take pictures but don’t really know what to do with them.
Love your parents. We are so busy growing up that we often forget that they are also growing old.” -anonymous
Flowers and ties are always nice gifts for parents, but what if you could give the mothers or fathers in your life something they would never forget? With a little planning, this Mother’s Day or Father’s Day can be unforgettable–with an affordable gift that keeps on giving. I have two special gift ideas to share with you today. Both will be cherished for years to come.
What good is the past? Are there benefits to looking to the past? Absolutely! Here’s why the past is infinitely important to me: My grandparents lived there. I learned lessons there. I fell in love, got married, and had babies there. My grandparents passed away before any of my children could know or remember them. If I want my children to know where they came from and know those sweet people they didn’t get a chance to know, I need to take them back to the past. The best way I know of to bridge generations is using photos and memories. Photos bring people to life and put faces to names. My memories of my grandparents make them real people to my kids and provide opportunities for connections, even though they’re gone.
Is there a place, a smell, or a song that makes you feel like you’re home? What traditions make you feel like all is right in the world? Feelings of nostalgia and belonging take us to happy places. Especially in today’s busy world of distractions, getting in touch –or staying in touch– with our roots is vital. We need to connect and to feel at home. Traditions do that for us. Places do that for us. Looking back at photos and recorded memories does that for us.
For one year now (happy blogiversary to us!), I’ve been writing every #familyhistoryfriday about photos, memories, stories, family, and connections. I’ve written about why we need them so much, and what they do for us. I’ve written about how they affect self-esteem in kids, how they help kids cope with difficulty, and even how family stories are an antidote for teenage entitlement. Last fall, I included some video tutorials, just for Evolve readers, about photo organization, plus how I stay caught up preserving my photos and memories, and why it’s so important to me. I’ve shared my own experiences about how photos, memories, and stories help heal from grief. These days, most of our “photos” are just digital files, so I’ve also given lots of tips for bringing your photos to life.
If you’re new here, welcome. If you’ve been an Evolve reader for a while, thank you!! Thank you! I have a rather bold life goal to make a difference in as many lives as I can. When you come here, read, get inspired, and then take action, you’ve helped me meet my goal. I hope to reconnect as many people as I can to their photos and help them realize the importance of embracing their stories. I want their lives to be richer because of it.
Did you know the first “scrapbook” was the family Bible? Bibles quickly became family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation. People would record births and deaths in the front cover of their Bibles as early as the mid-1400s. According to The History of Scrapbooking, by the mid-1800s, publishers started including extra pages in the fronts of Bibles for people to record family births, deaths, and marriages. It became common around this time to also add newspaper clippings and other “scraps” (like crocheted bookmarks or even locks of hair) within the pages of the family Bible. My father-in-law found a tintype photo in the family Bible he inherited!
During the 1800s, photographs came into being, and printed memorabilia increased in popularity. People would save mementos and photos in “scrap books,” a word coined in the 1800s. Family scrapbooks grew in popularity between about 1920-1970. At that time, scrapbooks were books of blank pages, usually black or cream-colored, ready for photos, journaling, stories, and mementos to be kept. ScrapbookING, though, is another story.