Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Photograph keepsakes

(33 Posts)
netgran Sat 22-Jul-17 12:05:24

Hi everyone. I am sat here looking at a mountain of photograph albums and a mountain of the ones you got in the packet when you went to collect them from the developers (Boots, Kodak etc) We have recently downsized to an apartment and have no storage space for them whatsoever and my family live many miles away. Some of these photographs are very old sepia of my ancestors, right up to very new ones taken with my camera. In addition to all this, I have lots of digital ones taken with my phone and saved in electronic form! I have very special ones of family in frames which are displayed around the apartment. I really don't want to throw photographs away but need to have a serious sort out and would welcome any ideas??!!!

Legs55 Sun 23-Jul-17 20:44:01

I have sorted a lot of my photos as I now have little storage room. When DH died I passed all relevant photos to his DD & S to do what they wanted.

I also gave DD some photos, I have kept some of DD's early photos & family ones. My DM has most of the old family photos, she has tried to label as many as possible. Ultimately it will be down to me to sort them out. I have done some family tree tracing which my DD is interested in but with 2 young children she doesn't have the time.

Before DH & I downsized we went through all photo albums & discarded lots of his holiday photos, views & people he was no longer in contact with. One photo we had was of his ex-wife's DH's DM which we gave to him. It was the last photo taken of her & he was quite emotional about itsmile

Janny62 Sun 23-Jul-17 17:56:13

I too have sorted photos, three lovely boxes for each child and
as equally as I can have distributed their childhood pics and that of their children. Old photos of grandparents, great grandparents have been put into a central box which they can sort out themselves!!

Penstemmon Sun 23-Jul-17 17:22:37

So far I have sorted our family pics into 'decade' boxes plus one box that is marked 'pre 50s' and I only kept those that I could write either the people/place/date The on the back. The plan is to scan/photograph them and store them all electronically ..but I have not got that far yet!

JanaNana Sun 23-Jul-17 17:18:45

I made some albums/scrapbooks for my children...going right back from birth to various school photo,s ...holidays" ..special occasions..etc. Right through to their present day life. I added embellishments ..wrote a few little anecdotes here and there ....even snips of baby hair included as well. I saw on a craft programme how to do them and got quite carried away. Finally I made a personalised front covers.....then wrapped them up for their various birthdays. The surprise..shock...laughing was worth all the effort involved and is something they loved and will keep. It took quite a bit of time and patience but also gave the opportunity to have a good sort through ones that are no longer relevant to keep. However ...you have to have plenty of time to do it as get quite carried away looking through all the old memories.

Heather23 Sun 23-Jul-17 17:16:47

Am going through the same process - good to know so many of us are facing the same task! I have large biscuit tins for each of the children and one general one. Am going through all the albums and throwing out all the views taken on holidays, etc and only keeping those of the family and writing on the back when and where taken. Empty albums either going in the recycling box or to charity shop. I will still be left with many albums that are mostly of the children and memorable holidays - they can choose which to keep in the future. As said before, it is sad that future generations will not have actual photos to look back on in the same way. I am also hoping to do some large collages of family photos as our new downsize home will not have the wall or surface space to display all the frames I have on show now! As for my Mum's collection - she has never attempted this task, part of my motivation to get my own done sooner rather than later. Good luck everyone!

SusieB50 Sun 23-Jul-17 15:23:57

When my father retired he spent a great deal of time putting all the photos going back generations into albums and of all our family holidays . He got rid of hundreds too and then labelled every photo with names and/or places . I'm for ever grateful he did, as after his death ten years ago at 86 we are still able to identify old relatives,and my mother now 94 with very poor short term memory loss can look through them and reminisce with delight as she clearly recognises everyone. They are very precious and I hope our children will still enjoy them in the future if one of us can find the space to store them ....

Pamish Sun 23-Jul-17 14:04:15

Copying photos on a phone will never be the best option. I'd suggest using a flatbed scanner - the sort that is A4 sized, usually very thin, easy to use (I would say that) but they just plug in via USB cable and usually find their own software. Cheap ones about £30 - £50. If you copy using a camera you have to (a) get close to fill the frame, (b) make sure it's parallel and (c) the trickiest bit, get the lighting even, with no reflections or weird colour casts (daylight is neutral, everything else will look yellow or green). A scanner has its own light so it sorts all these problems. Try to make the highest resolution scans you can eg 600ppi (pixels per inch), you can always get extra storage. You can rename the files with who is in them, and/or put them in folders with descriptions. You could add a Word doc to the folder with longer descriptions and thoughts - I'd love to have had such treasure from my mum about her and my family's youth.

I keep everything, multiple copies, including my negs and contact sheets on ring binders filed on some twelve feet of shelving. But it's my job, and my archives are the most valuable part of my work as no-one wants to pay for photography any more but they do have to pay me for old stuff. I have four copies of everything on hard drives - two in the PC, one on an external drive, and one in the shed in case the burglars get the rest or the house burns down. Storage is now cheap, fat memory sticks cost a few pounds but they can break down (or get stepped on) so use more than one.

Archives are precious. Some just to immediate family, some more than that. Like many of my peers we're trying to sort stuff out and declutter, and finding museums that will look after our work is an ongoing task. They want not just scans, but original prints, somehow they will find room. Right now I'm being loomed at by sixteen of those removal boxes holding all my b/w prints, returned to me when my agency had digitised them all. Most of them are no longer valuable as they are obscure meetings etc but I still have the negs anyway. Some are precious. Unfortunately they are totally jumbled so soon I will begin the job of sorting and chucking and relabelling and scanning, once I can make horizontal space to do so.

Then we come to the books....

schnackie Sun 23-Jul-17 13:44:18

I have this exact 'project ' going on in my flat - for over 5 years now! There are some great ideas in these posts which have inspired me to get back at it - tomorrow grin

mags1234 Sun 23-Jul-17 13:36:05

Threw out loads photos when we moved to smaller place, and I regret it every day!

TriciaF Sun 23-Jul-17 11:44:33

My Dad was always interested in family history, and left his photos etc for me . My sister isn't really interested in the past.
And now my children - only eldest son is really interested, so I hope he takes them. There's also a folder of very early written correspondence - very interesting.
I had a lot of 18C photos, like you, Trisher, and sent some of them to a Canada cousin when they were having their Golden Wedding celebrations. Her two daughters were compiling a family album.

trisher Sun 23-Jul-17 11:09:34

I've sorted mine into boxes for the 3 children each has 'their' photos and a 4th has family ones. They occasionally go through the boxes and a photo of them at some age appears on Facebook, which is quite nice, as I get to think "Oh I remember that".
Now my mother who is keeper of the family photos from time immemorial is another question. They are in boxes and albums, some labelled some not. I attempted at one time to get her to sort and label them and sat trying to help. After a few minutes she always announced "That's enough" So there they sit our family from the late 1800s many of whom I can't identify. My mum was the only person who could and she finds it too difficult or painful. So a good indication that you should get things sorted whilst you feel able to.

midgey Sun 23-Jul-17 10:54:06

We have three adult children, I bought three boxes and sorted out all the photos as fairly as I could and handed them over to them. I know our son has put them in his loft but one day he might like them, his sisters have already had a lot of pleasure from them. Sometimes I wish I had them but on the whole I am pleased they are in the right places!

strawberrinan Sun 23-Jul-17 10:52:14

Please don't use your phone to take photos of photos. They never look right.

Mamar2 Sun 23-Jul-17 10:50:02

It's taken me two days to get all my fotos from my mobile onto the external drive & sorted into folders. I was saying to my OH, afterwards, should I get another external drive & keep it in another place .... just in case. He couldn't stop laughing & said the way I was going I'd end up with half a dozen... each backing up the other. As you can tell, I love my fotos.

Devorgilla Sun 23-Jul-17 10:48:26

I am currently going through all family photos and scanning them into computer. I also put them into albums so that I will have them when older and less inclined to scan through the computer. As for the negatives, I just shove them in a shoe box and will let the next generation or two plough through them and match them up. It is initially expensive buying in albums etc but worth it in the long run. I do the same with all family paperwork from the past as I research family history. Smiths have some display folders which are perfect for stuff like that and often do a 2 for 1 offer on albums. My next task is sorting the albums into families. A bit sad, that because of digital cameras, my albums for the last three grandchildren have considerably fewer photos than for first four grandchildren. Another task will be rectifying that by running off from the computers hard copies. I don't want them to get a complex when I am gone.

grandtanteJE65 Sun 23-Jul-17 10:31:42

I have just gone through photos from my paternal grandparents, and as I know that no-one in my part of the family will want them after I die, I asked my cousins who are grandchildren of my father's parents, whether they wanted them. Two of them did, so I took digital photos of the whole lot, wrote done what I knew about the people and places in the photos, and sent the lot to my cousins.

I store my digital photos both on my laptop and on a external hard drive in the hope that this will prevent them from being lost, if or when my present lap top gives up the ghost.

It's probably worthwhile checking at regular intervals that newer programs can open the format the electronic photos are in, but I haven't got round to that yet.

Sheilasue Sun 23-Jul-17 10:17:56

I have a lot too but my d has taken some and regularly puts them on FB if it's someone's birthday. We live in an apartment so we have less space. I do have some of me late son and my d does too which I often look at.

netgran Sun 23-Jul-17 10:16:19

What a lovely site this is. Had been nervous about posting ( don't know why) This morning I feel like a huge weight has been lifted! I now have a clear mission, albeit a long long, on exactly what to do with this mountain of photographs. Thank you all again Netgranners😄

Maidmarion Sun 23-Jul-17 10:15:39

This is a nightmare subject for me..... I have soooooo many photo's!!! I started sorting a year or two ago and have slung 'views' or pics of people I no longer remember! I, too, have taken pics of old photo's in order to keep them on my computer. Every winter I resolve to sort out the many square plastic boxes full of photo's but every year I seem overwhelmed by the enormity of the project .... so, basically, I empathise hugely with the OP's post!!! ~sigh~

Humbertbear Sun 23-Jul-17 09:37:13

I have thrown out all the photos of 'views'. No one will want photos of Crete taken in 1994 or Wales in 1968 (it looked as gloomy in the rain then as it does now). Even I didn't want them. I have kept all the photos of family and so far have sorted them into envelopes by year. I also digitised some of the older ones and circulated them to relevant members of the family so they have copies too.
Looking to the future, unless I go somewhere spectacular and worthy of printing in a photobook , I don't print photos at all. I don't even keep them all electronically either. Which means I have paid for two photo books in four years and, honestly, 6 months after printing the second one I'm not sure it was worth it!

HellsBells Sun 23-Jul-17 09:32:42

I have bought six boxes for each of my children and sorted a collection for each. They each had an album of their lives so far on their 18th birthdays .

Willow500 Sun 23-Jul-17 07:14:34

I have hundreds of photos in albums both of ours and also the ones I have from my parents and even more digital ones. I've scanned a lot and have posted some in albums on Face Book for family. I really need to sort through the hard copy ones at some point - a future retirement plan! There are a couple of my mum's albums where she's put comments under the pictures which is lovely to read - some have information on the back of who they are which is useful for future generations and not something you can do with digital ones. There are a few my aunt left too with pictures of my grandmother I never met where she has written on the back too. Losing them is a constant worry so I seem to have backup copies of backup copies everywhere smile

hildajenniJ Sat 22-Jul-17 20:05:52

When we cleared out my Dad's house I took photos of the photographs I wanted to keep. My sister took the album and loose photos, so I know where they are if I want any more.

bikergran Sat 22-Jul-17 17:16:02

I am slowly sifting through all my "proper photos lol" I have started to scan them, my printer/scanner has something on where you can put 2/3/4 photos to be scanned and it leaves a margin round them..then I transfer to disc then onto usb stick..bit of a long process and something I tend to do during the winter months when dark nights are here.

Also I have a large 10 inch digitil photo frame and just change the photos on the usb stick...( still cant beat the old fashioned photo album though)!

PoshGran Sat 22-Jul-17 17:12:21

Good advice here netgran.
Having been involved in sorting out a similar "archive" of (Victorian to modern) photos, I'd like to endorse family involvement in identification of faces & places at the earliest opportunity.
I made an assumption that my late Mil would have much better recall, prompted by her photo collection, than in fact she did at the time. Consequently, I now have her family's collection of studio portraits, etc. etc. with absolutely no way of matching faces to the names on the family tree, which is so frustrating!