Preserving Memories in the Digital Clutter Age

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In today’s world, we are inundated with unbelievable amounts of information. All day. Every day. News is on a 24-hour cycle and so are we. Some of us wake up, go to bed and spend much of the day checking in on social media.


We can find out what almost everyone we know thinks about just about everything, and what they ate for their last 10 meals. Thanks to social media and geographically dispersed families, even many of our grandparents are enjoying aspects of our daily life thanks to Facebook, Marco Polo or other apps. With so much information available to us, how do we decide what’s important enough to save? Which memories do we preserve out of the approximately 25,000 images we may upload in our lifetimes? Smartphones and easy-to-use apps make photo taking and sharing simple. How can we decide what is important in all of that digital clutter?


Why Do We Feel We Must Document Everything?

When we were children, we had a few photos taken at important milestones like birthdays or holidays. They were printed and placed in photo albums. You know the ones with the adhesive pages that never stayed sticky and plastic sleeve that always fell off. Your parents may have shelves full of these albums somewhere in the house. Film and processing of images took time and were not as inexpensive as digital. Fast forward to 2018 where we have a smartphone practically connected to our hand. We take photos of practically everything our child does. Every playdate. Every cute thing. Every sad thing.


Every milestone is documented with not a few photos, but hundreds. A vacation might result in a 1000 images. And all of the best ones are shared real-time to family and friends though social media and text. We chose our shots more carefully and only shot a couple of frames. Now we take a dozen of everything and think we’ll just choose the best and delete the rest later. But, does later ever honestly happen?


How often do we sit down and go through 1000 images a month and pick the best ones? More likely, we load them from the phone to computer, external hard drive or web-based storage and forget about them. When we flip through those albums at our parent’s and grandparent’s houses, it’s wonderful to revisit those memories. How are our children going to know which photos are important or not? They certainly aren’t going to wade through a bunch of digital hard drives once we’re gone.


 

What Can We Do to Save What Matters?

Sometimes we need to put down the phone! Get one or two shots of whatever it is that you want to remember whether it’s an event or something adorable your child is doing and then put the phone down and actually experience it. Odds are those images are just going to be sitting on the hard drive anyway never to be seen again. Be present. This act alone will cut down on so much digital clutter.

Schedule a routine time every month to clear out the digital files, reduce digital clutter and make sure the most important memories are preserved.

  1. Load your photos to your computer.
  2. Review each photo and video taken for the month.
  3. Create a folder for favorites and save one or two favorites from each month in that folder.
  4. Keep a favorites folder for each year.
  5. Print out each photo from your folder of favorites at least annually. Alternatively, a digital album for each year can be created and printed from your folder of favorites. Many photo sharing sites create books automatically for you.
  6. Save all digital files on your chosen backup storage method (external hard drive, web-based storage, etc).

The holidays are also a great time to revisit those old albums at your parent’s and grandparent’s houses and the perfect time to take those printed images and digitize them. Using a bulk scanning service like https://www.scanmyphotos.com/ can save tons of time and make sure those memories last forever.

 

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While DNA Tests Offer a Peek into Family History, Your Genealogy Efforts are Missing This

family historyAs DNA testing kits become more affordable, the number of unbelievable family history stories surrounding these tests is increasing.

This recent piece written by The New York Times, covers a story on a Bob Hutchinson who used a DNA test to finally get some answers into the family history his mother kept a secret throughout his life. The test uncovered that he was one-eighth sub-Saharan African—a fact his mother never shared with him. From there he uncovered cousins he didn’t know he had and was able to establish a connection with this new found family.

There are countless other stories too—like Alice Collins Plebuch whose DNA test revealed a 100-year-old mystery (instead of the confirmation on her assumed Irish heritage) or Twitter user @MsClark_ who tweeted about the incredible search that led her to the discovery of her real father.

But as remarkable as these stories are, we couldn’t help but notice that something is missing in all them: a lack of background information. Yes, DNA testing is a great way to get some answers into your family history but unless there’s information that sheds light on that history, the only thing you’re left with is the results of the test. This often leaves you with more questions than answers.

The importance of photos in family history 

While there are several ways to uncover more about your roots, we cannot emphasize enough how important photos are to any genealogy project. This should be one of the first steps you take before jumping into the complicated root system that is your past. Why? Because every photo holds another piece of the puzzle. If an individual picture is worth 1,000 words, imagine how many stories you can discover through old print photos from your family’s past.

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How to Make Your 2019 New Year’s Resolution Stick

resolutionGetting organized is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions to make—and it’s a resolution we wholeheartedly endorse, especially when it comes to preserving your precious memories. But as the year wears on, the likelihood of achieving these resolutions wanes.

 

In order to help you stick to your resolution, we pulled together a list of tricks that will make it much easier in 2019.

 

Break Your Big Resolution into Smaller Goals


If your resolution feels insurmountable, then it will be! See if you can break out your big goal into smaller more manageable goals. For example, if your resolution is “Get more organized,” try breaking it out into smaller tasks like:

 

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Why You Need to Digitize Photos and Preserve Them for Future Generations

digitize photosWhy and How to Digitize Photos For Future Generations. It’s This Easy


As technology continues to advance, the way in which we preserve our history is also changing. From cave drawings to oil paintings and from print photos to Snapchat selfies, it’s important for us to now digitize photos in order to keep them safe for future generations.

But if you need a few reasons why it’s important to digitize photos before it’s too late, then consider the following:



Print photos will eventually succumb to the elements

 

Unless you have your print photos stored in acid-free, archival-quality storage containers and kept in a temperature-controlled room away from sunlight, then your photos are at risk of getting destroyed by the elements. Of course, we definitely recommend doing everything you can to keep your print photos safe, but digitizing them is the only way to truly protect them from the elements.


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6 Thanksgiving Photography Ideas You’ll Want to Try This Holiday

thanksgiving photographyTurkey day is almost here and you’ll want to make sure you’re snapping up the memories that will last a lifetime. Thanksgiving photography is an often overlooked aspect of taking pictures.


Each year we find ourselves snapping obligatory photos to mark the event but don’t often go into this special holiday with a photography strategy.

 

This year we encourage you to think outside the box and step up your Thanksgiving pictures with the tips below!

 

Thanksgiving - 6 Thanksgiving Photography Ideas You’ll Want to Try This Holiday Take the perfect turkey picture

 

The main event, the star of the show—of course, the turkey should get its own mini photo shoot on Thanksgiving! Taking an amazing picture of your turkey falls into the food photography category so you’ll want to make sure you’re following tricks for taking excellent food shots.

 

For this, you’ll want to capture sharp details so the lower the ISO, the better. You’ll also want to make sure your shutter speeds are matching your ISO—so somewhere around a 60th of a second will work (but you’ll need a tripod). From there you’ll want to manually adjust your aperture to make sure you’re getting the look you want.

 

Get candid

 

We often think of staged, Norman Rockwell type photos as our go-to photo aesthetic this time of year. But why not to add in a few action shots? Try taking some candid pictures of the host or hostess doing their thing in the kitchen, jokes and laughs shared between family members, or everyone cheering when a touchdown is scored in the big game. These photos will help you remember far more than the dinner as time wears on.

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