I'm in the middle of working on the goal I set for myself that after Christmas I would get our family pictures sorted out. I don't know about you, but the thought that I have all of these pictures of my children in various places and in various states of security is always a little anxious tug in my brain. If there was a house fire, I would have to run to too many places to save the photos (after the children, of course). And then there's the whole 'what if the computer crashes' scenario. We just don't want to go there.
In some ways, the days of film pictures was just much more easier to manage. And I was pretty good at managing them. I would fairly regularly take my film in to get it developed and then was good about labeling the photos right away. Then the photos and negatives got stored in those nice photo boxes to wait for me to put them in albums. Every six months or so, I would sit down and update our photo albums so that we could enjoy them. I never did any fancy scrapbooking; I just stuck the pictures on the scrapbook page with photo corners and labeled and dated them with the goal of getting as many pictures on a page as possible.
And then we got a digital camera and everything fell apart. I just wasn't sure how to store these pictures that I couldn't touch and sort and label. There was also the question of how to best get prints so that I could continue with keeping up our photo albums as I had been. Eventually it all become too confusing and I kind of threw up my hands and sort of gave up.
I did so some organizing. I bought albums which CD's could go in which fulfilled my need to sort and label. At least I knew what to grab in case of a fire, but even organized, it is difficult to just enjoy the photos on the disks. I mean, who really just sits down and puts in a disk to look at old pictures? A while back, I bit the bullet and had a bunch of prints made and put those in a photo album, but the process still seemed tedious, so I stopped. I suppose I could also blame it on being pregnant with twins, since the albums were caught up to the middle of 2008.
But now I'm ready to really do something about these pictures and I have a plan. Step one was to figure out exactly where I was in the photo albums. I've decided to finish up the summer of 2008 and then the only actual prints I will put in are those that people give us. It will be a way to organize those photos and take away the need to figure out how to make them digital. There's enough room at the end of the album that this should be a fairly long term solution.
The other big decision I made which has made it feel like a manageable project is that I've decided that I'm going to skip getting prints and go straight to making photo books online and then have them printed. My plan is to make one a year and as I take pictures upload them to the photo site so that at the end of each year it is just a matter of creating the book. Cost-wise, I don't think it will be that much more expensive by the time you figure in cost of the blank album, photo corners, and the cost of prints. Plus, the photo books are sturdier in that the pictures cannot come out and if something were to happen to the book, I can have another printed.
But to do this, I first need to catch up. My computer has been working overtime this week as I slowly upload photos from the past four years. I've finished with 2009 and am now in the middle of 2010. I also need to make a photo book of our trip to China to match the photo books I made of our two previous trips to Vietnam. (And boy, will I feel better getting all of those China photos somewhere a little more secure.)
I will probably not have all four books printed right away, but wait for good sales and stretch it out over time so as not to shock the checkbook. I know that I'm not the only one who struggles with this. I'm curious what other people do... and how do you back up all those digital photos