Sunday, April 3, 2011

Photo Dilemma 101 Reflections by Terri

"I have so many photos I'm overwhelmed! I don't have any idea how to get started organizing our family photos!"  I have heard statements like these hundreds of times. I thought today's post would give you some ideas on how to get started...let's call it Photo dilemma 101. 

Some consultants would tell you to go through your home and gather all the photos you have taken through the years.  I personally don't use that approach because I think you could easily be overwhelmed when faced with tackling hundreds of photos at one time.

Instead I suggest you start by purchasing one or two Creative Memories Power Sort Boxes. Just go to my website  order yours and they will be shipped to your home usually within the week.  These wonderful boxes meet ISO 18902 the International Standard for photo preservation. Best of all they hold 1200 4x6 or 5x7 photos. At  $28.50 these boxes are a great investment.
I suggest you start with sorting and organizing your most recent photos. Events that have happened so far in 2011 would be the best place to start. For me that would have to include photos of the Hwy 183 expansion tree destruction.
Photo Tip: Ideally you should take time to print your photos once a month.  You choose when - but I suggest pick a date that's easy to remember like the 1st, 15th or the last day of the month and try to get in the habit of printing a few photos from each event that you photographed. Many people make the mistake of storing all their photos on their hard drives or external hard drives, which unfortunately have a tendency to crash periodically. If you've not yet tried Creative Memories Digital don't hesitate to go to, create an account using your e-mail address and a password you choose, enter my CM ID # 46487817, then upload your pictures, order your first 20 prints FREE (my gift to you)  and they will be shipped right to your door.  All you have to do is pay for the shipping.
With digital cameras - families are taking so many more photos, so it's OK to be picky and print only your favorite photos. Also, don't hesitate to delete fuzzy or bad photos like this over exposed photo I took through my glass front door. 
When your photos and Power Sort Boxes arrive you will be all set to get started.  Take a few minutes to put the boxes together. CM's Power Sort Box comes with 6 compartments, six compartment dividers and 2 compartment covers. Also, you can purchase additional compartment dividers if you choose. 12-pack dividers are available for $4.00. 
As soon as the photos arrive take them out of the unsafe store photo envelopes and place them, several pieces of acid free/lignin free paper and a photo pen in one of the Power Sort compartments with a cover on it. Stick the compartment in your bag and carry it around with you so that when you're waiting at the airport, Dr's office or waiting on the kids at practice pull it out and spend a few minutes journaling the details that you might want to remember for the photos.  I've learned the hard way that I won't remember all the details I will later want when sharing the photos with my friends and family. Be sure to include "why" you took the photo if it had a special significance to you.

Photo Tip: Creative Memories Storyboxes make the perfect journaling boxes for telling your stories.  These pre-cut papers available in a variety of colors and designs come in packs of 96 pieces for $11.00. Storyboxes are a great time saver for busy moms.

After you have had a chance to journal your thoughts about the photos in your "travel" Power Sort compartment you will need to decide how you want to sort your photos.  There are a variety of ways to sort.  You may choose to sort: by date, by event or perhaps by person.  There is no right or wrong way to sort your photos! I personally sort chronologically by event.  Just use a pencil to label your Power Sort dividers. I always purchase an extra set of dividers for each Power Sort box I buy because I tend to go through quite a few dividers.

That's all there is to it.  After you have your chosen 2011 photos labeled and sorted and stored in your Power Sort Compartment you can begin working on your 2010 photos and then the 2009 going back.  As you become more and more comfortable with journaling and labeling your photos you will find that your remaining photos will become easier and easier to sort and label.  Before you know it you will have a major portion of your photos organized.
Photo Tip:  I try to take a Power Sort compartment of my older un-sorted photos with me to family gatherings. I especially try to include any "mystery" photos. At Jerry's Surprise 50th Birthday Party I was amazed at how many forgotten details his older siblings remembered. Many of my mystery photos are no longer mysteries thanks to taking them with us his party.

I hope these suggestions help you tackle one of the most common photo dilemmas. Terri

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