Friday, October 12, 2018

What Do You Tell Yourself about Preserving Pictures that Isn't True?

Everyone has pictures!  Unfortunately, not everyone preserves them.  In the “olden days” as I like to call them, we would take a pictures on film and not see them for weeks or months until we printed them when we got the film developed.  We’re in a funny place now where we take pictures and see them immediately but don’t print or preserve them, so we often never see them again.  

What happened?  Why the disconnect?  What is it about digital photos that has made us forget to preserve them?  I find that there are several myths surrounding memory-keeping that are preventing the majority of us from preserving pictures.  What do you tell yourself about preserving pictures that isn’t true?

So What Do You Mean, “Preserving?”

My quick answer to this question is usually, “Preserving a photo means getting it out of digital form into a place where it can be seen and loved, complete with its story (your memories).”  While I stand by that definition, I think it’s important to look a little deeper.  

“Preserving” means “saving.”  So if you’re preserving your pictures, you’re saving them.  Saving them from what?

Now that’s something to think about!  Digital photos come with a whole set of potential problems:  computer crashes, corrupted files, phones dropped in water, etc.  Another problem with digital photos is that they don’t leave us a place to write thoughts or memories or details about the photo.  (Unfortunately, this will eventually make them worthless.  I know that’s a hard pill to swallow!  #truth)

Digital photos also come with an even bigger problem:  overwhelm.  Digital photos are so easy to take that many people just amass them instead of mindfully taking them.  With thousands upon thousands of digital photos, it’s no wonder that preserving them can be daunting.  

If you’re overwhelmed with just the amount of photos you have, help yourself out by reading {When Photo Overload Becomes Photo Overwhelm}.

Why You Should Care

Photos, memories, and family stories have been shown to increase self-esteem, lower rates of depression and anxiety, foster a sense of purpose and belonging, reduce stress, increase present happiness, and contribute to greater resiliency, healing, and coping.  

As time goes on, we are in more and more need of the things that memory-keeping provides:  connection, grounding, peace, comfort, and happiness.  We need to take time to process life, and there’s not an easier way to do that than sitting down with your pictures and writing a little something about them.  Reminiscing is powerful for the mind and the heart.

If you’re still not sure why preserving photos even matters, read {The Secret Ingredient to Self-Care and Wellness} as well as {The Importance of Memories to Personal Growth}.  There is some astounding research and information there!

Start there and then you’ll be ready to tackle the four common memory-keeping myths.  I’ve busted them all for you, in fact!  (Click to read each one.)

How to Actually Do It

We tend to make things complicated with too many pictures and visions of Ultra Creative Scrapbooking.  It doesn’t need to be that hard!  

Here are my three favorite suggestions to help you go from suffocating under your photos to enjoying them and letting them be {the best kind of retail therapy there is}!
  1. {Declutter and organize your photos} (or use this {video tutorial on organizing digital photos}).  Either way, organize then just choose your favorites to preserve so you’re not overwhelmed.
  2. Set aside time.  Here’s a suggestion for {making it a family tradition} instead of an item on Mom’s to-do list, and {here’s a HUGE collection of ideas for making time for yourself and getting together with others for memory-keeping}.  (I even have an online group you can join–it’s free, and you can find the information at that link.)
  3. Do what you love.  Whether you like printed pictures or digital ones, there’s something for everyone.  Choose a high-quality photo album (make sure it's acid-free and lignin-free) for your printed photos, or try digital books (again, quality matters) for your digital pages.  Digital scrap pages are literally the reason I’m caught up preserving my memories and photos!  No joke.  And for people who are really overwhelmed with the amount of photos they have, digital yearbooks are my go-to, hands down! 
Here are a couple of videos that can help.  

This first one is the fastest way I know of to preserve your photos and memories digitally (and you'll get a PDF version of your book for digital sharing, too), and your books are printed using the highest quality inks, papers, and bindings in the industry.

And for awesome digital photo organizing, preserving, and sharing (guaranteed for your lifetime plus 100 years with no monthly fees), this tutorial can get you started.

Whatever you do, #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs!  Don’t tell yourself anything about preserving pictures that isn’t true.  Let pictures and memories and life’s stories be the therapeutic benefit they can be for your heart and soul.

Find many more tips for catching up on your photos {here}If you need a memory-keeping buddy, {contact me here}.  I can even collaborate with you, working to make parts or all of your digital books or scrap pages {for you}!

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This post was originally published at on October 12, 2018, by Jennifer Wise.  You can read more #familyhistoryfriday posts about photos, memories, stories, connections, and family by clicking the hashtag below next to Labels.  This post was updated in 2023.

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  1. Great post. I have soooooo many photos that I need to get organized and put up. Many are digital and only in one place so if that cloud ever got shutdown or I got locked out, I would lose those precious memories.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much--I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. Yes, it's always smart to have a physical copy and a digital copy of all photos just in case! :)

  2. Jennifer, great post! I just went through a few photo albums over the weekend. I did this while I was organizing. It was so nice to come across the photos. I have both physical and digital copies. I think that it is so important to have. Thank you for sharing your post with us. Visiting from Will blog for comments #22.

    1. Thanks, Stephanie! It really is a gift to be able to go through old memories and see old faces from times past--even if it's only 5 years ago. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    2. Jennifer, you're right it is a gift to be able to go through old memories. At times it does make me sad when I am reminded that time truly does fly by. But all those memories are so special. Thank you for sharing at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #22.

    3. They definitely are, and that's why I'm a memory-keeper. Thank you for stopping by again and for hosting such a great place for me to share my posts, Stephanie. :)

  3. Even though I have so many photos that I would like to put into scrapbooks, I try not to be overwhelmed by it. I just keep working at it as I can and keeping the others safe either digitally or stored.

    1. That's a really good approach, Donna. Just keep at it and be consistent. I think that's the best way to avoid overwhelm and always be making progress!

  4. Photos, photos spanning over 7 decades taken by hubby and myself, of the kids, grandkids and vacations. So many to preserve
    Thanks so much for participating and sharing at SSPS 294. See you again next week!

    1. That's a lot, Esme! I hope some of these tips have helped. Thanks for stopping by. I'll see you next week.


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