At last I have started my great photo management project. Aim: to get control of 5,000+ photos. A friend tells me she has 25,000. Maybe you do too. Before now I didn’t have the sheer cheek to share my idea because it was… just an idea. Now I’ve begun, and I think it’s a useful way to tackle the management of this mass of photos.
Step 1 of photo management: create folders
For my project I first made one folder for each decade of my life. Nothing in them at this stage, but how orderly they look!
Step 2: Don’t cull photos—select photos!
This was my breakthrough. A voice in my head whispered, “Stop trying to cull your photos! You’ll never finish this Herculean labour. The key is not culling but curating.”
For each decade I needed to select 20 photos. The 20 that mean the most to me. Then I’ll curate them: arrange the selected photos into a meaningful whole.
Why 20? Because that’s the norm for a photo book from Diamond Photo (and presumably from other comparable providers).
So for the 1940s I selected… around 36. A good starting point.
I began by scanning favourite photos. Or rather, photographing them. (The phone app Scannable treats black and white and sepia photos like documents, with spooky results.)
Step 3: Create a photo book with a provider such as Diamond Photo
I’m familiar with DiamondPhoto.co.nz so I go back to them. The interface is far from intuitive but when I mess up, the customer service team fixes the problem pretty quickly. The photobooks I’ve had so far are excellent quality, prices very reasonable, but watch for special offers. No doubt there are alternatives that you like.
Of course this step is a big one and it’s fiddly too. I decided to go fast and go hard, so it was all done in a couple of days. Not perfect! But done!
Step 4: Add text and place your order
Soon after I get back from holiday there’ll be one copy of this dear little photo book in my letter box. One decade down and 6 to go.
Obviously the early decades are the easiest: pre-smartphone, we took very few family photos at all. So selection was simple. Most of my 5,000+ photos were taken this century, when smartphones entered my life. But that’s OK. I’m happy that I’ve struck a good solution for my own needs.
Why I want a few small portable compact photo books: old age
Looking way way ahead, I think about myself in extreme old age, the last few weeks of life. Maybe I’m in hospital or a nursing home. I might be alone for some hours of the day, unable to indulge in my usual activities.
These small, easy-to-handle photo books can help me to recall the people who are dear to me, in my past or in another city or country. I’m hoping they will be comforting and also prod my memory. That’s my goal. That’s surely one of the reasons for personal photos, isn’t it?
As for all those musty fusty old albums and those floppy disks and websites and folders of photos in the cloud—good riddance to bad clutter. If my children want them, they’re welcome. But it’s quite likely they will prefer to have copies of my selected photos, edited and curated for their benefit by me.
Meantime I will take more photos this Christmas, and so will you.