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.

September is Save Your Photos Month!

September is Save Your Photos Month!

Save Your Photos Month 2020 is a public service outreach campaign developed by The Photo Managers to teach consumers how to preserve life’s irreplaceable photos, videos, and documents, in case of an unforeseen accident or disaster. Throughout the month, The Photo Managers will present a robust agenda of classes created and presented by independent professionals and fellow members of their educational community.

Save Your Photos Month is an annual campaign open to anyone interested in help managing their photos, in any format. Modern technology has turned our phones into cameras, ready to snap a photo or video at any moment, but this quick and prolific content creation can also be a burden, creating more than we can adequately manage with the risk of losing precious memories in the process. This year we Save Your Photos Month will present more than 40 short classes developed by photo Pros, covering topics such as “iPhone Photography Tips and Tricks”, “Cherishing Your Child’s Memories”, and “Tackle Your Family History”.

These fun and engaging classes are a great way to focus on simpler times and happier memories during this challenging season. Even as a Photo Manager, I’m always amazed at the catharsis my clients experience in working with family photos, especially now in having to distance from family and friends, it’s a great time to revisit wonderful memories while gathering, organizing, safely storing, and showcasing them in new and interesting ways. It’s a form of therapy we can all engage in right now.

Burnham Creative Group Business and The Photo Managers invite anyone interested in saving your photos to join us online at  In addition, check out my daily photo organizing tips on Facebook as well as our website for additional blog posts that can help you on your photo organizing journey.

Carolyn’s Picks for
Save Your Photos Month Classes

 Wow!  Over 40 FREE classes will be offered by my colleagues and fellow Photo Managers.  I have taken a look at the schedule and picked some of my favorites.  Each week they will release a different set of classes based on category.  They are listed as mini-classes, so I am guessing they will have varying lengths, but shouldn’t be too long.

Week 1:  Set Goal
Cherishing Your Child’s Memories
Moving Your Memories

Week 2:  Collect
Digital Photo Gathering Basics
Tackle Your Family History
Preserving Home Movies

Week 3:  Sort
ABCs of Photo Organizing
Mac and Apple people, take these classes from Paul Einarson.  He knows his stuff
   *Organizing with Folders and Albums in Apple Photos
   *Navigating Apple Photos
Photos You’ll Never Miss on Your iPhone
Facial Recognition in Apple Photos
Become a better Photo Editor

Stuff vs Memories, What’s the Difference?

Week 4:  Save
Tips for Preserving Family Heirlooms
Learning About Cloud Storage
iCloud Photo Library
Backup Photos on your Phone
Seven Secrets to Scanning Your Photos

Week 5:  Share
Photo Books:  Getting Your Pictures on Pages
Weaving Stories and Photos
DIY Legacy Film:  Yes, You can do it!

Classes are viewable any time from their time of release until November 1, 2020.  Just go to The Photo Managers Website and click on Save Your Photos Month.  Inputting your email addresses gives you access to all the classes.  From there you can pick the ones you want to take.  Enjoy!

9 Steps to Organize Your Printed Photos

Organize your Printed photos

Often the thought of the work it might take to organize your photos seems overwhelming and the hardest part is getting started.  Here are some simple steps to get you on the road to organizing your printed photos.

  1.  Find a workspace and get some basic supplies together.  Do you have a space where you can set up a table and leave it up for a while?  Here are some items you might want to gather.
    • Get some extra photo boxes for sorting
    • Paper for writing down your timeline of important events to help sort photos
    • Soft leaded pencil for writing on the back of pictures
    • Index cards and a photo safe pen for writing information about your photos
    • White gloves for handling pictures
    • Spatula/Dental floss for removing photos from sticky albums
  2. Figure out what you have.  Now is the time to look in all your nooks and crannies and move all the (disorganized) photos you have to your workspace to see how much you have.  Take an inventory.
  3. Set your priorities.  What photos will make you the happiest to organize first?  Is it a special event or maybe your child’s first year?  If your photos aren’t too disorganized, you can set this type of priority.  Maybe it is to manage the photos handed down by your parents or create an anniversary or graduation album.
  4. Do a rough sort of your pictures.  You can try to sort chronologically maybe just starting with decades, you can also choose to sort thematically in categories such as birthdays, weddings, school, travel or vacations etc.  You can divide these into photo boxes to tackle in increments later.
  5. Do a fine sort of your photos.  If you are sorting chronologically here is where you can break them down to year, month and event, when possible.  This is when you will start getting an idea of how many pictures you have of specific events. 
  6. Now you can start identifying the photos to keep and which to toss.  Association of Personal Photo Organizers recommends the ABC method
    • “A” is for “album”: These are the photos that belong in an album, and you would be most upset if they were lost. These are the photos to digitize, back up, share and display.  You don’t have to put all these pictures into albums; it just means they are album-worthy.
    • “B” is for “box”:  These photos are the ones you aren’t ready to part with but want to have access to at some point in the future. These photos will be archived for safekeeping but not necessarily digitized.
    • “C” is for “can”: Yes, you can throw them in the trash. This is for duplicates, poorly framed photos and generally bad photos.
    • “S” is for “story”: Does the photo tell a story? Sometimes we keep a photo that otherwise doesn’t look great but has a special story attached to it.  Maybe it is the only photo you have of a relative that has passed away. 
  7. Use your index cards and include information about your favorite photos.  Dates, identifying people in the picture, writing about the event that took place are all good things to include.  Sort these cards in front of the picture you are captioning.  These will be scanned with the photos.
  8. Digitize your photos and back them up.  Here is the backup step for printed photos.  Scan the “A” photos and integrate them with your digital photos organizational structure.  You can scan on a flatbed scanner have a service do them like Burnham Creative Group.
  9. Share!  Now you are ready to put them in photo albums or books, create slide shows with the digital files, frame, print extras for friends and family and post to social media!

Snowed In? Show Your Photos Some Love!

Mother and daughter enjoying photo book.

 I always thought one of the advantages of living in the Midwest was the ability to take advantage of our inside time in the winter to work on inside projects without feeling guilty.  One of my favorite activities is to finish up my yearly albums in January, although, I admit I am also behind!

Our photos don’t get in our way or remind us that they need to be taken care of.  We don’t trip over them, or there isn’t a “maintenance light” to tell us it is time to spend some time organizing and sharing them.  Unfortunately,  it becomes important when there is an all too frequent technology problem that could put them all in jeopardy like the woman who posted her photos on Facebook featured in my Jan 10 Blog Post.  Sometimes a water leak, flood or fire destroys our precious photos. 

We need to make careful choices about where we store and backup our photos to help prevent these photo catastrophes.  For digital photos, you need to start by saving them in one location and then making a backup.  For your physical pictures, consider scanning your pictures into digital files as a backup. 

Printed Photo Organizing Workshop

Sat, Jan13, 2018 from  9:30am-12pm
or Wed, February 28, 2018 from 6:30-9pm
Lodge at Laurelwood
at 800 N. River Street,  Batavia, IL  60510

Are you overwhelmed by your disorganized photos?  Do you have them stored in various spots around your house?  Carolyn will help you bring order to the chaos in this hands-on workshop.  Please bring up to four boxes of photos that you want to organize, plus any empty photo boxes if you have to sort them.

Click here to register online
or call the Batavia Park District and Register for class or call (630) 879-5235 and register:
Sat, January 13 is class #101022-1A
Wed, February 28 is class # 101022-1B.
Class fee $30 for Batavia residents. Slightly higher for non-residents.