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Old 07-01-2012, 10:39 AM   #1
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Question Archiving Family Photographs

First of all, I don't know where this query even fits. Organization? Scrapbooking? Photography? Out of desperation, I'll go with this forum.

The family photos (ca. 30 years old) are in those old 'magnetic' page albums and are deteriorating (albums and photos). I want to get them out of there, scan them..... and then what?

I've printed a few articles on the scanning process, but any personal experience from you might help. For example, do you have a recommendation on what the tag label for each picture should be? Some photos are labelled on the back and I can pin them down to a specific month and year (and would like the file label to identify that), but others are up in the air even to the year.

Do you find that Photoshop Elements (which I own and have never fully mastered!) works well for restoring damaged photos? Have you added descriptive words or annotations, and how? Are the annotations visible as part of the photo?

Once they're digitized, does having them on picture CD's work well for you? It would be nice to give all family members copies of the CD's.

What do you do with the original prints then? Put them into new, more archivally safe photo albums? File them into photo boxes for archival storage purposes only (no casual viewing)?

I don't plan to make scrapbook pages for them; the project sounds too overwhelming. Sometimes I have incorporated old photos with stamping cards; so I suppose it would help to have a way to located specific events, people, places. Does the organizing part of Photoshop Elements work okay for you?

Got any links to web sites that helped you along the way?
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:14 PM   #2
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My sister did this for our family (took her the better part of a year, bless her!) She added tags to each picture of anything that applied (names, dates, etc), but put them in "family" folders (my grandmother and her siblings in one, then separate ones for each sibling and their offspring, for example). We each brought a flash drive to our reunion, and she downloaded the entire "album" onto the flash drive for us (CDs or DVDs weren't big enough for how many files there were). I'm not sure what software or whatever that she used, but I can ask if you'd like. She put the originals into archivally safe photo albums, I believe. Pictures that were specific to a family member went to that person or their children, while the rest remain in her "library". She's sort of our family historian (more by default than anything).
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Old 07-01-2012, 01:21 PM   #3
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Being a genealogist-type person, here's what I would do...

Scan every picture individually. Assign a file name with the name of the person or people in the picture. If you have a date, include that in the file name. Maybe you can narrow your date down to a time frame.

Create file folders on your computer for the families in your family history. Save each of your pictures into the appropriate folder...or folders. They may fit in more than one.

Get archival pocket page type albums to store the original photos in. I use an archival pencil on the back of the picture to label names...but write on the very edge of the back, as small as you can and still have it readable. You say some are labeled...you are fortunate! I don't recommend using a box for storage. Pictures are too easily damaged that way, unless you choose to invest (an appropriate term, let me tell you) in individual archival photo sleeves for each picture.

As for photoshopping pics...I use a different program than PSE. But sometimes I try to do some photo color correction, like when the pic has turned yellow. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Any corrected pics should be saved as a separate filename. Maybe use the filename of the original and add "edited" to the end.

And always, always, always use printed copies for your projects...NEVER the original photo. ALWAYS archive the original, even if you have it saved electronically.

You can share the folders of pictures with family members by saving to a disc, using a flash drive, uploading to online photo storage sites, etc.

Hope that helps you a bit.
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