Monday, January 17, 2011

Photo Organization Continuum

A week ago Saturday, we spent many hours sorting through photo slides from Robbie's parents and grandparents. This past Saturday, I sorted through our digital photos from December, and I was struck by the differences and similarities between the two activities.

We had three boxes of photo slides; we estimated about 5,000 slides. Of all those slides, one set of 36 slides was marked with the place and content of the photos. Only 36 slides out of 5000!!! Luckily, when the slides were printed, they were date stamped with the month and year. The slides we processed were from 1959 through the early 1980s. Our goal was to choose the slides we would eventually like to digitize in order to enjoy the photos in slideshows, photo albums and/or scrapbooks.

In contrast, to sort my December digital photos, I simply uploaded them to my computer and was able to view the entire month in Photoshop Elements. Each photo was already stamped with the date and time from my camera.

We eventually ended up with about 1500 slides that we want to keep. I labeled sticky notes with each year and sorted the slides into piles on the dining room table.

I sort my digital photos by year as well, however there's no need for sticky notes or a table.

After sorting all the slides, we had this huge pile of slides that we either could not identify or were not planning to digitize. I boxed these all up and passed them on to another member of Robbie's family.

As for the digital files, there were also many photos I chose not to keep because they were blurry or duplicates. Those simply went away into the digital trash can.

There's still much processing to do before the photo slides make their way into a scrapbook or photo album, however I am excited that we reduced three boxes of "not-sure-exactly-what's-in-there" slides down to one box of slides that will help document Robbie's stories. For now, I have them all sorted by year and stored with my other Project-to-Do.

The digital photos for December have been tagged and rated in Photoshop Elements, the highlights uploaded to Shutterfly, and prints will be on the way here soon.

It's amazing how photography and technology and the way we view our photos has changed in a relatively short period of time (50 years). I have to admit that I enjoy my digital camera that allows me to instantly see whether or not I captured the moment, but it was fun to spend a day sorting through the old slides with Robbie reminiscing about his childhood.


  1. Even though they are clunky and old, what a fabulous resourse to be able to turn to! I love looking at old slides and photos - even if I don't know the people. Great way to compare and contrast how much easier it is today. I'm with you - love how far photography has advanced. It's definitely easier and faster today.

  2. A stunning table-full of memory goodness! And what a task ... Envy you your ability to keep your photos so organised digitally.

  3. Wow Melissa what a huge project!

  4. It is wonderful that you have these and can convert them to digital photos. I am impressed with your organization and diligence in taking on such a big project!

  5. Wow!! What a project! But so worth all the work - you are so fortunate to have all those pictures.

  6. woah!!!! That's a whole lotta photos. Kudos to you for getting it all organized and sorted. I'm seriously impressed.

  7. What an amazing accomplishment! One day? That's all it took you? My heavens, I can't imagine looking at 5000 slides in one day. (Did I read that wrong,?!) Congrats to you. You are reminding me I really need to weed out the duplicates of my digital camera, too. I'm taking well over 20 pictures a day since Christmas (taking Tracey Clarkes class) and it is going to get overwhelming very quickly!

  8. What an interesting comparison! And an interesting project, wow :-)

  9. Wow! What a project! I realized some time ago that the negatives I have from the first 25 years of our marriage are NOT labeled. I was trying to find a photo and it turned out to be nearly impossible. I do a pretty good job of keeping the digital images organized, but I don't label the photos and I think I should.

  10. Hi Melissa! I've had this post in my e-mail waiting to leave a comment... My sisters and I have a similar amount of slides to go through with our parents slides and quite honestly, I did not even think to actually go through them :) (I was actually going to just send them off). Wow, what a huge amount of work you have done! I am really looking forward to LOM's, you are already giving me ideas! Thanks!


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