Friday, June 16, 2023

How to Downsize Photos and Scrapbooks

Can you imagine living in the mid-1800s when you might only have 5 or 10 photos of yourself or your loved ones taken during your lifetime?

One of the perks of living in the 21st century is that we can have all the photos we want of our loved ones, of special occasions and everyday events.  The downside is that they do take up space.  They take up digital space, or they take up physical space.  (And we kind of get to choose which.)

If you're looking to downsize, say for an RV lifestyle or simply downsizing your home (or even just because you have too many photos to deal with), I'll share some top-quality ways to do it that don't take away from the connections that photos and memories are filled with.

Boy, do I have a treat for you!  It's actually pretty amazing what we can do with our photos and memories these days while still preserving them and making them shareable!  

Downsizing in General

Before we look at downsizing digitally and downsizing in print, let's talk first about downsizing in general.

That 21st century perk I mentioned earlier--having all the photos we want--is definitely a double-edged sword.  

It's so, so sweet to catch unexpected moments and keep them forever, like the best photo after a long day at Disneyland

or that same little one in a quick, perfect pose with his big sister after his high school graduation.

It's how we see faces of those who have passed on, how we pass down family stories (trust me, this is a great & hilarious one), 

This family story is called "handmade potato salad." 
I've never heard my grandmother laugh so hard.

and how we "meet" people we've never met.

These are the obvious, wonderful perks of being able to take and keep as many pictures as we want.

Sometimes, though, we take and keep more than we can even look at! 

Have you ever thought about that?  Do we--do you, do I?--have more pictures than we can look at?

One of the most important things we can do with photos today is downsize them so we don't have more than we can look at.  I admit I am still learning to get good at this, but if we have more pictures than we can look at, we have too many for our children and their children to look at, too, which would be a shame.  (See photos above!)

To downsize your photos, you simply choose your favorites.  Choose the ones you can't live without.  Choose the ones you absolutely love.  Preserve those.

Maybe you come from a "we don't throw anything away" era, or maybe it's just hard to part with photos.  It might take some practice.  And that's ok.

Just remember:  you want to pass on a gift, not a burden.

You want to share today's photos and memories in digestible amounts.

So be brave and be willing to pare down.  45 pictures from today's visit to the park are certainly fun and sweet, but just choose your favorites to keep.  It will make you less overwhelmed with your photos, will take up less physical space in your house, and will take up less digital space on your computer/phone/cloud.  And then those photos will be a gift, both now and later.

For specific tips on how to downsize your photos, read Decluttering & Organizing Photos at this link.

Downsizing Digitally

One way to downsize photos is to digitize them.  Digital photos still "take up space," but if you're looking to avoid taking up physical space (for downsizing a home, for RV life, etc.), choosing digital or cloud space instead is an excellent option. 

Photos taken on phones and digital cameras are already digital, but if you have boxes of printed photos, you can downsize them by making them digital, or "digitize" them, too.  

You can do this by scanning the photos yourself or by hiring out the scanning to a professional.  Find some DIY scanning options at this link (scroll down to the bottom), or consider the Forever Box for white-glove professional scanning services.  In addition to being done by professionals (which I can't say enough about), it's easy and convenient, too.  You can see the basic process in this 1-minute video.

You can get your Forever Box(es) here.

Once your memories are digitized, you want to store them digitally in a shareable way.  It really, really matters what company you choose to help you accomplish this.  

NOTE:  I am a Forever affiliate (a decision I made because I love it so much), so you will find affiliate links in this post, from which I earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.

These are the most important things to know when choosing a cloud digital photo/video storage service:

  • Are my photos and videos private?  (In other words:  Will you not sell my data and/or photos? Yes, that is--shockingly--a thing!)
  • Are they guaranteed to still be at your site 10 or 50 or 100 years from now so I (and my family) can still access them?
  • Are they triple-backed-up using bank-encrypted security?
  • Can I pass them on to my children and/or grandchildren?
  • Can I easily share my digital photos, videos, and digital photobooks with others?
  • Will you update my file formats (.jpeg, .jpg, .png, .tiff, .mp4, .avi, .mov, .pdf, etc.) if they ever become obsolete so that they will still be readable and accessible in the future?

The best company out there to answer all these questions with a resounding YES is Forever, and when you have the (free) Forever app, you can easily access decades'-worth and generations'-worth of family photos, videos, and even audio files.  That means you can easily share them with your friends and family!

I love that I can have easy access straight from my phone to show anyone pictures that I didn't take with my phone, like my baby pictures or photos of my grandparents' wedding.  I love that I can store all my photos digitally and securely with Forever so that they don't take up storage space on my phone.

I can access my Forever Storage from my phone and tablet, too.  

Let me show you how incredibly awesome this is!

And I love that I actually BUY Forever Storage so that I own it forever.  I don't pay a monthly fee, so I don't "rent" digital storage.  It's actually MINE.

Forever Storage is, hands down, the way to go for downsizing all your memories digitally.  

"Storing" photos isn't all there is to it, though.  It's the SHARING that matters!

Photos by themselves aren't meaningful to anyone unless we know the stories behind the photos.  Something I think is perfect about Forever Storage is that you can tag and add descriptions to your photos, like this:

The tags are down there in the bottom right in blue.  I tagged this particular photo with both of our names along with "anniversary," "Europe," and "Germany."  In Forever Storage, you can search tags, too, so if I want to search "anniversary" (or any of those tags I used), this photo will come up.

You can also see (at the right) a description of this photo.  This is the story behind the photo--our memories!  I was able to share photos with my family (using a link to this album in my Forever Storage) right after this magical trip, and they got the whole story because I added descriptions to the pictures!

I think this is the perfect way to have a sort of "digital scrapbook" without actually having a digital scrapbook.  (BONUS:  With Forever, you can have amazing digital scrapbooks, too, both digitally and in print!  Stay tuned...)

Learn more about Forever Storage here.

Before we move on to how to downsize your photos in print, I'll share with you this video where I give you all the fantastic details of Forever Storage.  

And you're always welcome to contact me if you have any questions.  I want every family and every individual with photos and memories to be able to have Forever Storage!

Downsizing in Print

Yes, there is an increasing emphasis on storing and preserving and sharing photos and memories digitally these days--and it's an excellent way to downsize when physical space is an issue--but experts say we should preserve our photos and memories both digitally and in print.

So how can we downsize our printed memory-books, photos, and scrapbooks?  Let me show you!

I was a paper scrapbooker for about 10 years before digital scrapbooking came along.  Both types of memory-keeping allow for creativity and plenty of all-important journaling (writing down the memories that go with the photos), but as it turns out:  digital scrapbooks are smaller than the old-fashioned kind.  They don't take up as much room.

Going digital is definitely a space-saver!  Those two scrapbooks shown above contain roughly the same amount of photos covering the same amount of time.  The binder on the left is a 3-inch binder, which actually measures closer to 3  1/2 inches.  The book on the right has a spine that measures a tad shy of 1/2 inch.  

And there's more.

#1 When you create your digital scrapbooks with Forever, there's both an easy option that you can do in minutes, and there's also a flexible software option that you can get very creative with, if you prefer.  (Both are printed on papers and with ink that are the highest quality in the industry.)  Choose your favorite method here:

#2 Forever automatically gives you the PDF version of your scrapbook.  (Not all companies do that, by the way.)  And the PDF has a shareable link *once you've ordered it, so if I want to show you one of my scrapbooks, I can just give you a link, and you can look all the way through the "pages" right from your phone, tablet, or computer.  (Like this: see my beach book here.) 

*This is true for books you create with Forever's free Design & Print software (the easy option).  If you created it using Artisan, Forever's digital scrapbooking software, it will have a share link as soon as you put it in your Forever account, whether you've printed it or not.  See the "3 platforms" video above to learn more.  Another option is to "share" your Forever account with close family by giving them the username and password so they, too, can see your digital books and the photos in your account.

When my sister-in-law asked me about Artisan software, it was so easy to just send her my whole 2022 Yearbook in a couple of clicks.  She looked through my entire year in scrapbook form just on her phone.

This is how you share a PDF with someone.  It's so easy:

Preserving your photos and memories digitally in printed books using one of the 3 methods mentioned earlier (in the "walk through" video) is great for already-digital photos you haven't preserved yet, but what if you have gigantic scrapbooks like my big binder (below) that you want to downsize?

Scanning old scrapbook pages and putting those scans into a digital scrapbook is one popular option.  Similar to the printed photos I mentioned in the "Downsizing Digitally" section, you can scan scrapbook pages yourself or let the professionals do it at the Forever Digitizing Center.  If you've got 12x12 scrapbook pages, finding a big enough scanner on your own can be challenging, but the folks at Forever Digitizing have that capability (with white-glove care).  

You'd need a Forever Specialty Box for your large scans instead of the regular Box, but the same process you saw in the video a few minutes ago still applies.  You can get your Forever Box(es) here.

This is a great tutorial from the Forever home office showing you how to put scanned photos in a simple book with a quick auto-fill!

If you're in need of some photo and/or scrapbook downsizing, downsizing your photos in general is a great place to start--just because we can take 500 pictures a day doesn't mean we should.  Plus, there are some excellent ways to downsize both digitally and in print.

What downsizing tip is the best one for you today?  Let me know in the comments.

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