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The Routine “back in the day.” Insert role of film. For an automatic camera it was a breeze. For manual… hit or miss. Shoot your photos, acknowledging that many will be out of focus, poorly framed, low light, etc. Next, take your rolls of film to the photo or drug store to be developed. Then, glance through your photos and perhaps arrange some of them in a photo album or frame. And finally, stick what remains in a box where they will stay for years, even decades to come.


Fast forward to today and it’s likely that you’ve got many boxes or containers filled with pictures. You want to preserve these precious memories, but how? 


It feels as if you are a casual hiker preparing to climb Mt. Everest. But.. YOU CAN DO THIS.


My name is Wil Davenport and I am the founder and chief creative designer for More than Memories. We take peoples old media, (printed photos, home movies, slides, and 8mm film) digitize them, and give you back a better treasure than they started with. Click here for more info. I’ve helped many customers create a strategy that works.


Remember, this will take you some time, but in the end you and generations to come will be so thankful you did it. Also, do not let this process go on forever. Potential customers can fail to even get started when they feel like the process will take forever. Make a plan, set a time limit, and finish the job.


Needed Supplies

  1. Post it notes. Smaller ½” by 2” ones work very well. You’ll want a lot of these.
  2. Empty shoe boxes or small plastic containers that are larger in length and width than your photographs.
  3. 2 Larger Boxes
  4. A pencil. (You’ll save yourself many headaches by using a pencil with a good eraser.)
  5. A large table to spread out on.


Step 1

The Quick Sort- It’s critical to not over analyze in this process. Just sort your photos into 2 large boxes labeled Keep and Don’t Keep. Unless your out-of-focus or poor quality photos capture a moment or a family member that cannot be preserved otherwise, put these images in the Don’t Keep box. Also, remember that when folks look at these images in the future, one or two representative images is likely to do the trick. I recommend having this goal in mind: Put MOST of your printed photos in the Don’t Keep pile. 


Now, set yourself a time limit. Sorting for more than 1 or 2 hours at a time can feel very overwhelming. Set a timer and try to stick to it. Finally, schedule these blocks of time on your calendar at a time when you have the energy to do it.


Step 2

The Initial Category Sort- At this point, begin to categorize your photos. Based on your initial quick viewing of your photos, create 5 or 6 overarching categories to help you sort through your “Keep” photos. Write these on Post-it notes. Your categories might be based on the people in the photos, by location, or by event. Make sure to include “Misc.” as a category. You can change or add categories as needed. 


Next, take those post-it notes, stick them to different shoe boxes, and spread the boxes out around the table, but within arms reach. Begin sorting.


I recommend working through this process with friends and/or family. Take your time to savor the memories and reminisce. Drink a glass of wine. Enjoy a yummy snack. Cry and Laugh.


Step 3

The Final Sort- Your goal here is to accomplish two things: 1) refine and finalize your categories and 2) put your photographs in order, if needed. Work through the following questions. Are the categories you created the ones you want to keep? Do the category names need to be changed? Do the photos need to be sorted differently? Also, how will you sort your miscellaneous photos? Do they need to be kept? 


Last but not least consider, do you want your photographs in a particular order? If so, spread the photos out on your table, one category at a time, and carefully place them in order. 


Your photos are ready to be digitized and stored on a CD, thumb drive, or online. Or, even better, put in a video slideshow that folks can enjoy for years, and even generations, to come. 


This is where More Than Memories can help. We’ll digitize your photos and create an outstanding video slide show to cap off your efforts.


Well done!