reader question – what to do with photographs?


photo by marcie lovett

This actually is a question from a recent presentation I gave to a seniors group, women and men in their 70s and 80s. What distinguishes these folks is that they have lots of printed photos, which present a set of challenges beyond digital photos.

A simple solution is to keep photographs in labeled envelopes and put them in chronological order in a photo box. You’ll be able to sort through them, look at them and share them with other people.

You can put them in photo albums or scrapbooks, but that takes more time. Alternatively, you could create an online album, after scanning your photos. You can use a simple photo-sharing website, some of which offer the ability to print a book, if you’d like to create one.

When you got your film developed, you also received negatives in your envelope of pictures. Photo conservators recommend preserving your negatives separately from your photos, so you can use them for reproductions. I don’t recommend keeping negatives; if you’ve gone 40 or 50 years without looking at them, chances are you never will.

Of course, you can digitize photos yourself or send them to a company who specializes in scanning. Scancafe and yesvideo are two options. You send them your photos, slides and negatives, and they scan and restore them. You get back the media you sent, along with a disc that you can view and share. They can retouch photos, too.

I recently had an old home movie converted to DVD by yesvideo. One movie cost more than $50, but it was worth the price to me to be able to see family members who were long gone.

Sony’s DVDirect doesn’t scan photos, but it will allow you to transfer to DVD from a VCR or video camera. It’s an investment at several hundred dollars, but if you have a lot of home movies you’d like to save, it could pay off.

What do you do with your photos? Do you still have photo negatives?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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