Do you remember the last time you made a physical photo album? Probably not. In 2017, digital memories are king, but this often means we get a bit lazy when it comes to preserving these memories. They are on Facebook, on Google Drive, on your phone, scattered in folders on your computer. Preserving your memories means having your prime photo moments (not hundreds of the same shot) all in one, safe place you can access quickly and easily. So how can we do that?
Where is everything?
Identify where your photos lie: Facebook, Instagram, your phone, your computer, etc. Make a list of everything – you will be going through all of these photo-sharing sites and digital folders in the next steps. The aim is to simplify all of this.
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Make a folder
Bearing in mind you probably have hundreds or even thousands of photos, create a folder on your computer or a separate hard drive. Now you’re going to go through all of the photos in the first step and put them in this folder. Don’t worry about organizing or tidying up just yet – get them in the folder first.
This is the arduous step, but it needs to be done! Start going through your photos and grouping into smaller folders within. If you have a lot, it’s best not to group by events but by seasons or periods or even years. You can organize your folders by date within the folder, which will make it a lot easier. In this step, you may also find you have 20 shots of the same thing, blurry shots, or photos that don’t offer many memories. Be ruthless and don’t be afraid to delete! You’re keeping only the good ones.
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Back up, back up, back up
Now that you have your definitive folder of memories, it’s time to make sure it’s safe. Choose two separate places to back up your photos. One can be a photo sharing website, but the other must be a hard drive. If the website goes under, so do all of your precious memories.
Start creating photo albums for yourself and others. These can be digital albums to share online, or hard copies as presents for family members who prefer holding photos in their hands. Create album memories of events, Christmases, children growing up over the years, or a yearly album. For hard copies, why not add drawings your kids have done as well as awards or short poems?
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Photos may be the best and easiest way to capture everything, but don’t forget about videos. Keep them short, edit them for all the best bits, and back them up just like your photos. If you still have some old home movies on VHS, it’s a good idea to transfer them to DVD. You can do this yourself if you have the equipment, or take it to a professional.
Photo family tree
Gather your family for a big get together and work out your family tree as far back as you can. Ask members to bring along any family photos they have, extending as far back as possible. This is not only a great way to preserve your family memories, but a great activity for everybody. It’s very easy to forget people from two or three generations back, and very hard to figure out in the future. Make copies of all the photos and start creating a family photo tree, making notes of who everybody was. Keep adding to it to be passed on for generations.
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When the end of the year rolls around, start compiling a family photo calendar. Pick memories of your family from throughout the year to hang on your wall for the next year. These also make great Christmas gifts!
Keep on top
Now you’ve gone through all this hard work, don’t let it go to waste! Keep on top of your photo and videos and make sure you back up the important ones, grouping them as you go. This makes it much easier in the future. If someone asks about a certain event or memory, you will know exactly where to find it!