Photo Organizing Webinar

Digital SnapShot

Do your digital photos look like this? Are they filed on your computer in a variety of folders? Is it a challenge to quickly find your favorite photos?

How about making 2015 the year to getting your photos organized! And, how about some photo organizing tips from Cathi Nelson, the founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers?

Cathi Nelson is teaming up with award winning professional photographer, Nick Kelsh and Forever, a permanent cloud storage solution, to share the key steps to take to get your photos organized. Once your photos are organized on your computer, however, you need to take it to the next level to ensure they are safe from computer crashes, fires, flood, and natural disasters that can destroy irreplaceable family memories. This is where Forever comes in.

Forever is a unique solution where your content is permanent if you are a paying member, you own your own personal subdomain – for example, and as technology changes they are setup to make sure you can always access your photos, regardless of format.

If this has intrigued you be sure to sign up for the FREE webinar. It is offered this evening, January 26th and during the day on January 28th. Choose the session that is convenient for you and register now.

I will be attending on the 28th. As a service to all of my photo organizing clients, I am dedicated to always learning and discovering the best solutions to manage your photo collections. If you listen to the webinar please come back and share your feedback in the comments below.

5 steps to Preserve Photos Stored in Magnetic Photo Albums

Magnetic Photo AlbumsDo you  have any albums that look like this? I sure did. I remember putting together photo albums of me and my siblings in the late 70’s. We thought that sticky adhesive was great – it kept the photo nicely in place. UGH – little did we know that would come back to haunt us! If you have any magnetic albums where the photos have PVC plastic overlays and are on self stick  magnetic pages then you will want to follow these steps to start to preserve your family memories.

Step 1:  Gather all your magnetic photos albums in one place and organize them chronologically. Use clues from the photos to help if there are no dates on the albums or pages. Some of these albums will be deteriorating so handle with care to ensure that the loose photos do not fall out of the albums.

Step 2: Gather your supplies.

  • Cotton gloves because the oils on your fingers can negatively affect the photographs
  • Dental floss  – Teflon (because it won’t shred) and unwaxed. Feed under a lifted edge of a photo on a self stick page. Pull side to side – but do not lift up on the image otherwise it can rip or curl.
  • Archival safe storage envelopes or boxes for storing the photos
  • Soft lead pencil for capturing captions. If pencil does not work because of the resin coated paper capture the text on a sticky note and adhere to the edge of the back of the photo.

Step 3: Culling the photos. It is unlikely that every photo in the albums are keepsakes. Therefore, only remove the photos that you want to preserve one page at a time especially if there are captions tied to the photos. Take care to keep them in the same order. Even though it might not always look like it there is most likely an order or theme to the photos in the albums.

Step 4: Scanning & File Naming: Depending on how you want to preserve your photos you can either caption the text on each individual photo and then scan and name the digital file accordingly or you can just scan and name the digital file with the caption. Regardless of which you choose be sure to include the year, month and day (if available) as part of the name of the photo file. For example: 1975-10-25 Carolyn’s First Birthday.

Step 5: Storing the photos. The removed photos need to be stored in an archival safe box. The scanned photos need to be saved not only on your computer but in two additional places: cloud storage and an external hard drive are good options. I also like to include a USB flash drive (of the scanned photos) in the archival box where the printed photos are stored especially if the captioning did not get attached to the printed photo.

A client dropped off these photo albums to have me scan and make some digital photo books for her and her siblings. She brought me the magnetic photo albums with the photos marked with X’s indicating the photos she did not want. I scanned the rest, renamed, organized, and uploaded to Flickr so she could easily show her siblings their childhood photos. She wanted me to throw away her photo albums. Instead, I took the above photo and gave it to her. She said that was a keepsake that she did not know she would treasure. I also gave her back the albums.

Converting Scrapbooks into Digital Photo Books

Creative Memories to Digital Photo BookHave you ever made a photo scrapbook? If so, you are probably intimately familiar with common scrapbook terms like: stickers, die-cuts, embellishments, double-mount, etc… You may have even had a dedicated scrapbook room. Your scrapbook creations required a faithful devotion to put together and the results were a beautiful keepsake documenting your precious family photos and stories. What happens, then, when your children want to take your ‘labor of love’ with them when they grow up and move out. All that hard work, the laughter and tears, it was for them, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want a copy of it for yourself.  So, what do you do – where do you start?

Recently I had the opportunity to convert some scrapbooks into digital photo books and the five key things I learned I would like to share with you to help you get started:

  1. Scanning the pages. You will need a scanner that has a bed that is at least 1/8th of an inch larger than the size of the page to ensure that nothing gets cut-off. I considered two other ides: photographing the pages and stitching the pages, however the source of light provided by a scanner is consistent and scanning the page as a whole versus individual scans and stitching was going to be a better use of my time.
  2. Software. You will need good editing software to clean up the pages and remove any area of the scan that you do not want – like the hinge staples – on the books I was scanning. In addition there was a border around the outside of each page that was meant to protect the page but was not something I wanted in the digital reproduction. I used Photoshop because I could automate some of the clean-up and re-sizing that was needed via the ‘actions’ function. I believe Photoshop Elements also has this capability.
  3. Digital Photo Book vendor. You will want to pick out a photo book company that offers the following
    • a book size that matches your original album/page dimensions
    • a lay-flat option because if you use the magazine style option anything on the inside edge of your pages risks getting stuck in the valley of the book.
    • flexibility in the number of pages – count the pages first. Depending on the page restrictions of the vendor (how many pages you can add and in what number for example a minimum of 4 or 8) you might need to eliminate a page or two of the original book or be “ok” with a blank page.
  1. Time. To perfect the process you need to allow for a learning curve. Give yourself time to establish a process that works for you.  I like to scan one scrapbook at a time (page protectors removed), and then import the images into Photoshop.  Experiment with the best way to clean up the pages, re-size the DPI (dots per inch) to meet the printer’s guidelines for the book vendor, allow for the printer’s bleed (this is the part of the book that gets cut off in the print process) and then export to your upload folder.  A trick here – be sure to build two sets of actions in Photoshop – one for the even numbered page and one for the odd number page – the clean-up is different for the different page sides.  Once the pages are perfect save and upload to the digital photo book software. I like this process because it breaks up the monotony of any one step.
  2. Preserve. Once you have received your books back from the printer you will be IN LOVE with the outcome.  You will be happy to send off the original scrapbooks with your kids and display your new versions.  Be sure however, to preserve your original edited scans on a thumb drive or a DVD.  Why?  If anything happens to the hard-copy books you can easily access the images and recreate. In addition, if you want to access any one individual photo on one of the pages you can do that too.  Make sure to scan the original pages at a minimum of 600 DPI so that the individual images offer a good reproduction quality.

Let me know if you have any questions about this process or if you would like some help converting your scrapbooks into space saving digital photo books.



Create or Buy One-of-a-Kind Books with Blurb

People love getting really creative, one-of-a-kind books for Christmas. Books that elicit a “where did you find this?” response. As the leading indie- and self-publishing platform, Blurb has an entire online bookstore full of unique books by an incredible array of undiscovered, self-published authors, artists, and photographers. And while these books probably aren’t in your loved one’s bookshelf, many of them should be. So, if you’re thinking of giving unique gifts this year, consider these affordable titles or make a book of your own. And a happy reading holiday gift to my readers – Save 30% with this code: SAVE30

Cookie Cravings by Maria Lichty and Heidi Larsen
We all have cookie cravings. Popular food blogger Maria Lichter decided to put them into something deliciously original: A baking book featuring 30 recipes you won’t find anywhere else.


Dog by My Side by Adam Schnitzer
This charming collection of original, vintage photos shows us that as long as there have been cameras, we’ve wanted to photograph our canine best friends. As a special bonus, there’s a glossary of the early photographic methods used in the original images.  I wish there was a ‘Cat by My Side’ version – anyone want to attempt that book?


Around the World with a Toy Camera by Giorgio Giussani

Perfect for the photography or graffiti-art fan on your list. This book is an explosion of gritty color that explores the wonders of street art and analog photography.


Food Stories by Elena Scott
A short, wonderfully illustrated collection of recipes (and food stories) that will inspire you to pick up the knife and spatula—or just pen and paper.


Things I Love by Carol Nehls and Jessica Rose
Illustrated and written many years apart by a mother and daughter, this sweet rhyming story told by a fox is pure joy for all ages. This is my favorite!


Patent Pending by Jordan Natyshen
Chicken goggles, air-conditioned rocking chairs, monkey jockeys for greyhounds… humankind has invented and sought to patent some amazing and crazy things. Illustrator Jordan Natyshen illustrates some of the strangest in this history of odd inventions.


Tiny Horses are Everywhere by Thea Lux
The perfect stocking-stuffer for fans of off-beat humor, this undeniably nutty book is based on a Tumblr blog and combines simple photo collages of small horses in human environments with incredibly funny captions.


Rouleaux by Anastassia Elias
What can you do with an empty roll of toilet paper? If you’re French artist Anastassia Elias, you create tiny dioramas inside of the discarded tubes. Inspired by art and movies, these pieces are beautifully crafted, fun, and unbelievably detailed.


Low Fidelity by Bobby Grossman
If you, or someone you love, listened to New York punk and new wave in the 70s, chances are your favorite artist can be found in this book. Bobby Grossman photographed Iggy Pop, David Byrne, The Ramones, Debbie Harry, Andy Warhol and many more. This book is a time capsule of—and a love letter to—a legendary time, place, and sound.


Take a second and head over to Blurb to see if you can end your search for that perfect gift this season! 

Photo Wallpaper – Keeping Your Memories Alive


Custop Photo Wallpaper by WeMontage

This is not the first post I have wrote about the celebration of my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary – but I promise it is the last.  As a family we gathered together and spent a week in beautiful Bend, Oregon and then on my parent’s actual anniversary my sister and I hosted an open house so the extended families could help celebrate.  The festivities were wonderful, however, I wanted to make sure that my parents had a permanent keepsake of the events.

Fifty years of marriage is worth celebrating more than once (OK we did celebrate for seven days and then a second occasion) but I wanted them to feel like they were always surrounded by family.  My parents live quite a distance from their children and grandchildren.  They are currently renting their home so I knew that I wanted a decorative keepsake they could display on one of their many white walls. OK – let’s face it – I did not really feel the need to have my picture on permanent display – but this is not about me.

What solution did I come up with?  Removable custom photo wallpaper by WeMontage!  This concept is genius for bare walls especially in rental and leasing situations. I also love that it is removable…I know what you are thinking they might get tired of looking at me….but really I was thinking how perfect for when they move or if they decide it displays better on a different wall after hanging. I was concerned about the actual application of the wallpaper, but after reviewing their FAQ I realized that application was all about having a clean surface, a tape measure, and a second person to help make sure your 24″ x 36″ wallpaper is level.

If you have celebrated a milestone birthday, a family reunion, went on an amazing vacation and your photo memories are hiding on your computer – now is the time to display them with your own custom photo wallpaper.  I can’t wait to give this to my parents for Christmas. Who are you going to surprise this holiday season? When placing your WeMontage order be sure to use coupon code PHOTOVATION  and you will save 20%. The PHOTOVATION coupon code expires on November 17th,2013.  Prices start at $69.99.

Disclosure: My relationship with WeMontage is personal, but I was not specifically compensated for this post. I did receive a discount on the WeMontage I made for my parent’s anniversary. This post does include affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

"People are taking pictures at a record pace, but many are discovering they lack the time to sort, organize and print these images. The need for the services of a personal photo organizer has evolved as consumers seek out effective solutions for preserving and enjoying their precious memories." - The Association of Personal Photo Orangizers