Is it time to create your photo estate?

Is it time to create your photo estate?

Many of us have received photos, photo albums, boxes and/or scrapbooks from our parents and grandparents.  Back in first half of the 20th century not many pictures were taken and the ones that passed on were treasured, that is if you knew who was in the picture.  Fast forward to the present where we are taking pictures at breakneck speed.  The problem isn’t too few pictures, but too many. 

Look at your shelves of the dozens of albums or boxes of photos and think about what really is important to pass on to your loved ones that tells the story of your life.  Trust me, no one looks forward to inheriting 30 photo albums from their parents, however, they will cherish a smaller, curated collection.

Start thinking of our photo (and media) legacy now.  If you plan on passing on any of your photos, videos and film to our children or other relatives, I can guarantee they don’t want everything.  However, they do want something. 

My colleague, Mollie Bartelt defined a photo estate nicely in her book “A Simple Guide to Creating Your Photo Estate.

“A photo estate is a collection of photos, film, video, documents, and memorabilia organized in a manner that allows another person or person to view the photos, learn about the lives documented, and be impacted by the legacy of those people.”


 Don’t be overwhelmed by the term.  The concept of a photo estate or a legacy collection is simple, find the important stuff that tells your story, digitize or preserve it, and share it with your loved ones.

Gather everything together

Here are 8 steps to help you create your Photo Estate

  1. Gather together all of your media – including, photos, slides, videos, film, and memorabilia together.
  2. Organize your media.  This is a good time to eliminate duplicates and bad or unimportant photos and slides.
  3. Scan your important photos, slides and documents and convert video and film.  After conversion, you can also sort out bad video and films from the collection.
  4. Combine your scanned items with your existing digital collection (assuming that is organized).
  5. Add the stories to your photos and other media.  What is important about this photo or video?  This can be added to digitally to photos through the metadata saved to each picture.
  6. Back up your digital collection using  the 3-2-1- method
  7. Preserve your original media in archival storage containers. Yes, don’t throw photos and film away.
  8. Share your digital collection via a cloud service and/or create photos books of the most important photos to share with loved ones.

I will not tell you this will be easy or quick.  No doubt about it, this is a long-term project.  It also may be the most rewarding one you take on.

Help Your Loved Ones Tell Their Stories with BiographyNow

Have your loved ones tell their stories with a BiographyNow Book

 You’ve heard stories all your life, but no one has recorded them.  I have found a great service that will help our loved ones tell their stories in a simple budget-friendly way.

BiographyNow creatives beautiful 10×10 inch hardcover “Life and Times” book that include a blend of personal stories, photos, and history about you or a loved one.

It is pretty easy to get started.  You sign-up online and answer questions including birthdates, information about friends and family and more. They will follow up with a phone interview of the subject.  You can also ask friends and family to share stories. The hard part is that you need to choose around 50 of your favorite pictures to include in the book. 

The editors at BiographyNow will weave your story with the photos you provide and include interesting historical events and details that make the biography experience even richer.

If you click on this link for my discount, the price is only $699 for one book and the family package is $849 for three books.  For anyone that has looked into getting help writing your story for a book,  you know it can cost thousands of dollars. 

If this is a gift make sure to select the FREE gift announcement.  This is a great gift for Mom or Dad, Grandma or Grandpa or any other special person in your life!  Contact me for details about how to get started.  This truly is a rewarding experience for everyone involved.

Use this Holiday Season to Share and Record Family Stories

Mother and daughters enjoying photo album together.  Sharing Stories.

This summer I was helping my mother-in-law go through some family photos.  As is often the case, some pictures were of people we knew and there was a selection of pictures of people we couldn’t identify.  It seems like a tragic loss when we find pictures like this.  The pictures are very old, very interesting – but alas, we know nothing about them.   

Our job was to organize the photos and identify the people in them.  However, we can’t stop there.  The story behind our photographs are what truly make them interesting.  She pulled up a picture of her mother with others at an airport.  For someone flipping through pictures, they would think it slightly interesting that they would be heading to Hawaii in the 1940s.  The story she told about it was amazing.  I scribbled all I could on a large post-it and attached it to the picture to transfer the information to the metadata of the file when I scanned it.  Sorry, I won’t tell you her personal story, but now it is shared with the rest of the family.

However, you don’t need pictures to tell stories, you just need to make the time.  When you are at family gatherings over the holidays start asking questions or offer to tell some favorite stories of your life.  Click here for some good advice about how you can go about collecting family stories from Liz McDougal from BiographyNow.  Here is another nice article put together by fellow photo organizer about the tools you might need to collect those stories.  Fret not, even if you just have a notebook to write things down you have a start.  Don’t forget, most smartphones also have a recording feature – maybe now is the time to figure it out!

Have a great holiday and give yourself the gift of saving treasured memories!