A Journey Measured Through Family Photos

I started a journey that can be measured as beginning several months ago or several decades ago before I was born, before my mother was born, even before my grandparents were born. I took this journey through two cigar boxes packed full of photos and documents kept together through many years.

The Old Cigar Boxes Were Full of Treasure

I sorted through this collection of family photos, documents and ephemera with my mother this past spring. The cigar boxes had been catch-all boxes of mementos that my grandparents had maintained for decades. Seems that snapshots were just tossed in to keep them all together. The collection then fell to my mother to maintain for many years until we took the time to sit and identify just what she was holding on to.

We spent a cozy afternoon together revisiting family history while my very young son napped. My mother was a valuable resource and was quick to identify people, pinpointing dates with ease, and she kept us both entertained with family stories during the sometimes tedious sorting process. I dutifully documented this flow of valuable historical data as we worked and laughed and enjoyed the time together.

I was pleased that these precious family photos were now being “dusted off” and brought into the light of day again, but just knew that they deserved to be showcased in a unique and special way. After all, we couldn’t remember the last time anyone had even looked at the photos while in those cigar boxes. Once the photos and memorabilia were scanned and organized, I would design a family heritage photo book that would tell the story these cigar boxes had been holding for so many years.

The book would be a journey through time and through my mother’s family, beginning with a handwritten postcard from 1893 announcing my great-grandfather Joseph Francis Brady’s birth and continuing through my grandfather George Brady’s 80th birthday party.    

The journey of this collection of family photos, kept for years in cigar boxes, has resulted in a truly wonderful family heritage book created with my mother. We look forward to sharing the book with my own son who carries the family name Brady as his middle name. 

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Save Your Photos Day Guest Blog - Saving Slides from Purgatory

I have recently become a member of the Save Your Photos Day Alliance, a great group of professionals with the significant goal of saving precious photos and memories BEFORE and AFTER disasters occur.

I contributed a guest blog post about saving a collection of slides my parents had been keeping in the garage and bringing those images back into our lives. Please read more here. 

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Weeding Down 1000s of Baby Photos

If you are anything like me you have a kid, a smartphone, a digital camera and WAY too many baby pictures. It is completely understandable. The little darlings are just so cute! Their first year is filled with wonderful moments that have to be documented. And, omigosh, they change so very quickly! Just when you think those doughy faces couldn’t possibly get any more adorable they start smiling and laughing. Sigh.

So you have been snapping away and taking all of these baby photos with your phone, your camera, your partner’s phone, and, of course, the grandparents’ all have phones. Before you know it you have hundreds, if not thousands of photos of your baby. It is understandable. It is just so easy to capture any precious moment as it happens and we don’t want to miss a thing. Personally, I probably took around 1,200 photos of my son during his first year. I have friends who ended up with upwards of 5,000 photos from their baby’s first year!

But then what?

What are you going to do with thousands of baby pictures? How many baby pictures are you really going to want to look at? How long will your friends tolerate sitting with you and looking at all those baby pictures? The best thing you can do to get a handle on your enormous collection of baby photos is to weed out the not-so-great photos so the very best photos can shine through the clutter. Just like a garden, you want to weed out the junk to show off your gorgeous flowers.

Start by gathering all of your baby’s photos into one place, just one folder, on your computer and title it something like “2015 Baby’s First Year Photos.” Place all the photos that you have into this one folder. Get all the photos off of your phones, cameras, and social media sites. Double check with your friends and the grandparents to make sure that they have shared all the photos they took of your baby with you.

Now you get to delete and do the actually weeding. My favorite part! But if this makes you nervous, simply create a subfolder titled “To Delete” and place the weeded out photos in there. You can decide later if you want to keep any. Delete duplicates and make it easy on yourself by using software like PhotoSweeper (for Mac) or Awesome Duplicate Photo Finder (for PC). Weed out any photos that are blurry, out of focus, grainy, show blurry movement (like hands), or if anyone has their eyes closed. Weed out any photos that look similar to each other but are not as good as the best shot in the group. Make sure you flag or make note of your very favorite photos as you work through the larger group since these will be the one you want to put in the baby book or print out and frame.

I was able to organize my son’s first year photos and weed them down to a more manageable 450 photos. I tried to work on weeding baby photos in small chunks of time, five minutes here, ten minutes there. It won’t take long and you will soon have an adorable (and smaller) collection of the very best photos of your little bundle that you will be happy to show off. 

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