Have you seen Peter Jackson’s masterful documentary “The Beatles: Get Back”? The most remarkable aspect of the film was that Jackson used footage hidden for some 50 years! Critics and fans alike have reacted with wonder and awe. For me, seeing John, Paul, George and Ringo interact in ways not seen before gave me a deeper appreciation for their music and their lasting cultural impact.

While we may not have the star power and influence of the Fab Four, our stories are still important. And sadly, many of us have our family photo legacy hiding in boxes in the basement or attic (perhaps for the past 50 years or longer!) It’s time to get back to your photos so your family histories and stories can also be preserved, and shared.

This holiday season, as you gather with family and friends, why not take some time to go through old photos and videos and make sure you have a plan to manage, organize and preserve your images and stories?

With that in mind, here are some of my favorite photo organizing tools. Whether you plan to create a family website, make photo books or a gallery wall, the following will help you tell your story. And listening to “Let It Be” while trying them out is totally optional (but highly recommended!)

Photo Organzing Software:

Adobe offers two types of digital photo organizing tools: Bridge and Lightroom.

Bridge is free, easy to use and, while somewhat limited, you can efficiently locate, organize, browse, preview, and batch process your photos.

Photographers and professional photo organizers like myself rely on Lightroom. While it’s not free ($10/month), it provides more flexibility. Facial recognition, de-duplicating, embedding metadata and batch renaming of files are some advantages. But Lightroom has a bigger learning curve, so if you don’t have the time or interest, try Bridge. Both tools use the same technology and will get you where you want to go. You can learn more here.

Print Photo Preservation:

Do you have old print photo albums and loose print photos, slides and negatives? If so, are they in boxes and bins in your attic, garage or basement? Those are less than ideal places for storage. Photos are best kept in cool, dry places like closets. Learn more tips for print storage, right this way.

Sharing:

The end goal of preserving your photos is to share them. Current technology makes it easy for friends, family and future generations to enjoy photos on any device. Private online photo galleries are a great way to share photos you don’t want on social media. We highly recommend SmugMug which is used by many professional photographers and photo organizers for their clients and personal archives. Ponga is another private online gallery site that focuses on family photos and their stories.

Have a safe and healthy holiday season. And If you need help with your photo collection, let’s talk!