A Different Kind of Resolution?

Let’s be honest for a minute. How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? It’s been a couple of weeks, maybe the typical type of goals have slipped a little?

I’ll be honest here, too: The luster of attainable self-improvement has certainly faded for me these past few weeks of the New Year. I always start out so energized and enthusiastic at the beginning of the year and then quickly realize that the New Year isn’t some magical point in time where all my changes will be made.

What do you want to change? What were those resolutions you were so excited about not so long ago? Maybe a different kind of resolution is in order? Do you want to figure out how to sort, organize and delete your digital photos? Do you want to make that special and unique baby book for your special and unique baby-that-maybe-is-really-a-toddler/kiddo-now? Do want to digitize that dusty and neglected box of photos you’ve been ignoring for years?

Do you want to make a slideshow to show off to your far-flung loved ones of all the fun you had on that awesome Mexican vacation? Would you like to make a photo collage of your pregnancy photos and watch your belly grow again? Do you want to print (Gasp! Remember those?!) your Instagram photos?

Changes can be made, but it takes small and incremental steps. The key to realizing any goal you set, any time of year, is making small changes, taking small bites. Maybe just start with the photos taken over the holidays this past year. 

These are the simple (and attainable!) steps I recommend to anyone with the goals of organizing their digital photos or starting a special photo project:

Step 1 – Gather your photos into one hub, be it a pictures folder on your computer or a table in your house for prints.

Step 2 – Sort your photos so you can identify which are duplicates, which are bad photos to toss and which are the very best photos to share with loved ones.

Step 3 – Back up your photos so they are secure and preserved in case of a disaster, digital or natural. Scan your prints, and make a backup copy of all digital images to the Cloud or to an external hard drive that you keep at work.

This could be your year to succeed with your resolution to get your photo chaos under control! 

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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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House-fire Photo Call

The other day a woman told me she had to evacuate her house because there was a fire raging in the woods behind her neighborhood. The first things she grabbed to throw in the car were the framed photos from her walls. The photos of her family, her wedding, her friends and pets were the most precious things to her, the items she reflexively moved to save from a fire that could destroy her entire home. 

I have always been quite nervous about a house fire happening to my home. There have been way too may close encounters with fires in my life. Twice, fires have started at neighbors’ houses right outside my bedroom window. A huge wildfire burned over 30,000 acres and dozens of homes four years ago, and came within a flame lick of the dream house my parents built in the Arizona mountain foothills.

This woman's experience got me thinking again about how could I be prepared to save family photos in case of a fire.

The American Red Cross says you may only have two minutes to escape a fire in your home. Stopping to grab any possessions, especially the family photo collection, would be unwise and dangerous. But there are many precautions you can take with your photos and important documents to ensure they are backed up and safe.

Redundancy in backup copies is the best solution to recovering any photos or memories if lost in a fire or other disaster. Digitally convert any media and scan your most important photos and documents.

Store backup copies on a hard drive in a location other than your house, like a safe deposit box or at work. A second backup should be stored on an Internet cloud-based service. Store original documents and extra hard drives in a certified fire- and waterproof safe.

Real accidents and disasters occur every day. The woman I know was extremely fortunate and the fire was extinguished. She was able to return to her home and rehang her photos on the wall.

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