How to Save Your Print Family Photos

Old print photos and photo albums

Here’s a quick look at how a print-to-digital family photos organizing job is handled.

(our client, Marie, has permitted us to share her family photos and story).
Marie’s family history is fascinating. In the mid 19th century, her ancestors left Northern Europe and settled in Central America. Much of her family photo collection is of historical and cultural significance.
A chosen university will receive many of the photos as a donation. Marie’s mother wisely saved many family photos, some of which date back to the late 1800s. The collection also contains cabinet cards, carte de visites, old newspaper articles, and ephemera.
With all photo organizing jobs, we first determine what the client’s end goals are.

In this case, Marie wanted everything scanned, organized, backed up, and archived. She was comfortable sending the photos via UPS, and the box arrived quickly and safely. Remote photo organizing services are part of what we offer to clients, and Marie was happy to take advantage of it. The photos spent decades in shoeboxes, magnetic (sticky) albums, and old envelopes. This is not our recommended way to archive precious family memories. And non-archival storage will contribute to the deterioration of prints over time.

Here’s our process:

Using a variety of methods, from dental floss and heat to UnDu (a favorite product for this sort of job), we removed the photos from the sticky albums without damaging them. As a result, the images were free and gently cleaned. From there we scanned each in high resolution. 

The digital files were named and organized in chronological order. Then we added them to Marie’s photo library on her hard drive and uploaded them to her iCloud account. And we also recommend copying the organized structure on an external hard drive, because it is important to have a physical backup. 
The prints were placed in clear sleeves from Archival Methods and housed in a beautiful storage box from Native Archival. With proper care, both products will help preserve the photos for generations.

Once completed, we discussed the next phase of the job. Marie wanted to make photo books to share with family members and these high res scans will reproduce beautifully, even at larger sizes.

It’s both an honor and a privilege to be entrusted with the care and preservation of family archives like Marie’s.  And your family photos are also a rich and important legacy. They are worth organizing and preserving for your children and future generations. Don’t wait any longer!