Regular readers of this column know that I'm not fond of making resolutions for the New Year, but I might
make an exception this year. Last January 1st, I set out to find family photographs to expand my personal archive. Now I'm faced with picture overload. Sound familiar? It doesn't matter if you have one small album or a closet full of pictures, the time to start organizing is now.
1. Retain the original order of the pictures. If you've received a box from Great Uncle Harry and one from Aunt Minnie, don't mix them together. You could unknowingly blend two different branches of the family and ruin your chances for identifying some unidentified images.
2. Instead scan all the pictures. It's inexpensive and quick. If you don't already own a scanner, purchase a dedicated scanner that can also scan negatives and slides. You can buy an Epson flatbed scanner for around a hundred dollars.
3. Download photo organizing software such as Google's Picasa
. I've been using it for years and love it's features. Keyword your photos to make searching easier. Picasa actually searches your hard drive for images. Organizing your pictures with digital images enables you to sort pictures by donor, person's name or occasion.
4. Label each picture! Use a soft lead pencil to add names, dates and details to the back of paper based photos. For modern resin coated images, use a scrapbook pen such as a black Zig marker. These are available at art supply stores and scrapbook outlets. You can use your Picasa program to add labels to digital images.
5. Don't forget the digital images. Sure, Picasa will help you organize all your digital images, but remember to print out significant images. Backup your files on a regular basis using a portable hard drive so that your digital archive is safe if your hard drive malfunctions.
This short article is just an overview of organizational tips. It'll get you started. Throughout this year, I'll feature other techniques for organizing and preserving your photos. Happy New Year!