6.20.2011

Minding the Unruly: Photo Keeping


I don't know if you are like me, but I have about a billion pictures in my iphoto library, and have not printed out pictures in about four years. (!) Periodically I think about this and can feel my heart rate go up and the panic begin to circulate through my system. What if the computer crashes? What if my iphoto starts eating itself? What if our house burns down? What if we lose the computer in the airport? Any number of scenarios could be insanely devastating.

S0 I've been trying to think through some systems that could potentially work for our family, and here are some of the ideas that I've come up with. I would so very much love to hear what other families are doing now that there are so many options (and so many pictures and videos being taken!)

My current (and future) systems:

-The blog book. One thing (actually the only thing) that I have done with success is to maintain our private family blog, where I try with regularity to upload photos and note down funny/meaningful stories. I've been making an annual book from this each Christmas through blurb, and the books are a big hit with the kids. But - the obvious drawback with a blurb book as your main photo album is that you can't readily pull out pictures to tape to school projects, bring to "guess who the baby is" contests (you know love that game :) ), etc. Also they are expensive, because ideally I would like a copy for each child, for every year, for them to take with them when they are all grown up and in their own homes. And so far I pretty much just buy one copy for us (and one for the grandparents) because I'm always trying to be frugal around Christmas and then forget to go back and get more copies at other points in the year. All that being said, I guess it is something. And as I was on the blurb site today, I came across this example, which I think is one of the prettiest family books I've ever seen. (I have no idea who this family is but I totally wanted to buy a copy of it. Is that creepy of me?)

-Old Fashioned Photo Albums. I should just bite the bullet and do this for our favorite pictures, right? Maybe try to print out pictures every few months and slide them in? Is it worth it to do that in this day and age?

-Plastic File Box. I thought about this about 4 months ago and bought the file box but have yet to put anything in it. But when I get around to it, I will take a manilla envelope and put a child's name, their grade, and then important school papers and some pictures from the year. That might be a simple enough back-up system that I could regularly do, right? One manilla envelope per child per school year.


-External Hard Drive. I will admit I haven't really taken the time to figure out what this is because it just sounds like a boring thing but my husband bought one last year and I think he backed up our pictures onto it (good job, Steve. You are awesome).

-putting all of those camera video clips onto cd's. Why haven't I done this yet? It would probably not take too long. And they are so fun to watch. This week I promise I'll do it!

Now, your systems - I'd love to hear! There must be other people who are literally kept up at night worrying about this!!

21 comments:

Mary said...

I create a photo book each year using Shutterfly (I know the other online photo sites have similar options, although I haven't compared them). It does take some effort, but I do like having albums in the house that we can pull out and look through. The service has gotten better too - they really make it easy now. Choosing the pics is the hardest. My son loves seeing them, and it's very different looking at pictures on the computer vs. a physical book you can hold in your lap. It also makes me feel better knowing that my best pictures are on s-fly just in case that disaster did strike, although I also have a back-up hard drive in a fireproof box in our office. I've thought about doing a blog book as well but haven't been able to make the time for it. Interested to hear how others handle this!

Amy said...

I had a bad external hard drive around the same time I lost pictures on a thumb drive. I settled on Carbonite online backup. Also, I print favorites for frames or for the children. It really can be overwhelming!

mrs boo radley said...

Last year when my computer crossed the rainbow bridge before I could get my pictures off of it, I made a vow to at least back up my pics more often. It was a sad day! But I learned from it.

Jen said...

I feel your panic. We have Mozy, so everything is backed up automatically at night. We also have an external hard drive, which would help in the event of a computer crash, but not so much in the event of a fire.

Ana Degenaar said...

GREAT Ideas I need to do all that too.

Carissa said...

Twice a year I force myself to upload and print a ton of pictures. I get a box in the mail with 500-700 pictures. Then I put them in albums. We also back-up our computer every week and keep the external drive in a fire-proof safe. Not tons of fun, but provides great peace of mind. I also print a yearly book from Blurb.

Sarah G said...

How funny. I find myself with an evening alone and promised myself that I'd sort through and print out some of our family pics! But instead I'm reading blogs. Le Sigh.

But! We use a hard drive and actually back up the computer sometimes. Plus, I upload to Flickr every once in awhile and have a pro account so that it will keep my pictures for ever and ever unless the internets all crash.

melissa said...

I've had the same worries, but at this point I have not taken the time to resolve them. I like all your ideas though. And your blurb books are always so fun to read.

Jen said...

I do the Shutterfly book each year. I work on it all year and order it in Jan. I love this because if my home burns down all of the best pics of the year are saved on an external server.
we have an external hardrive. Our computer automatically saves all of our documents and pictures/videos to it. If there is an emergency we only need to grab that (the size of hard cover novel) instead of my twenty(ish) scrapbooks. It is not fun, but what is fun for me is organizing the pictures on my computer (geek or what?). I have them in files by year and in that file are season files. In the season files are specific files (ie trip to SF, school memories, etc).
I think you need to ask yourself what your goal is...to print out your favorite pics and store them or preserve your pics for the future...just my two cents. Good luck, perfect summer project!

The Hammonds said...

Shutterfly book, plus I copy our pictures onto a CD or thumb drive which we store locked in a fire box. In the past I've also kept a copy of the photo CDs at work. But, as CDs are being replaced by thumb drives, or whatever else, it seems like a never ending process. I keep hearing a lot about cloud storage. Maybe that's worth looking into.

lynne said...

These are such great ideas! Thank you so much!! I am happy to report that I have obtained a flickr pro account and am in the process of uploading my billion pictures. Tedious but I am feeling more relieved by the second.

Also, my friend Rachelle shared another great idea with me which is to make each child a yearly photo book as part of their birthday celebration. This way the costs are more staggered and once I get caught up (!) it is not too overwhelming to compile pictures from one year into a book.

tarynkay said...

I don't have any suggestions- but this is such an interesting modern dilemma, isn't it? I mean, I was born in 1979. All of the photos that my parents have of me, from age 3 months (they have none from before that, but they swear I wasn't adopted, just the second child) to age 18 fit in a single photo album. My mother was born in 1951. All of the photos her parents have of her from babyhood to adulthood fit on a single page in a family photo album. My grandmother was born in 1929. We have three photographs of her from her early adulthood and that's it. For relatives born prior to that, there are wedding photos ony. In contrast, several of my friends with small babies make a point of photographing said babies every single day. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great to be taking lots of photos and making photo books for your children, it's just such an interesting change is all.

lynne said...

tarynkay - i totally agree! when i think about what you wrote (and your observations hold true for my family too - me, mother, grandmother, etc.) it's funny in a way that i am so stressed about this, since i already do have so many images to pass on to my kids when they are grown up. your comment made me feel better about the whole thing - it's a good perspective to keep in mind.

Chair said...

I use Flickr and love it. I sort of think of it like on-line scrap-booking (mostly because I don't want to go down that rabbit hole in real life) but also because it's easily shareable, easily kept private (or just visible to friends/family) Since I leave my photos on my computer with their digital names (IMG389 or whatever) in folders by date, when I'm looking for a specific photo, I can search my Flickr stream for key words, find it, see the date and go to the right folder in a snap -it's never failed me yet.

We back up photos on DVD regularly. I LOVE the idea of the Blurb book, I think they'd make fantastic Yule gifts for the kids, us & grandparents who sometimes have a hard time getting the internet figured out :)

Amy said...

I am so lucky to have an IT support guy for a husband! We have two (redundant) external hard drive backups as well as some kind of google cloud thing.
But specifically for being able to LOOK AT the photos, I am doing Becky Higgins' Project Life this year and I feel pretty good about that. My two little kids adore it. Good luck with whatever you start doing!

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hillary said...

I've done an annual iphoto book the last few years. I hope to go back and make them for all years with kids as well.

And I just started this - sending myself emails of fun things the kids say through futureme.org
So when they're teenagers and yelling at me I'll get these email reminders of when they were so sweet and cute.

Carla said...

I was just thinking of this. I finally got myself a pro-SmugMug account and have been uploading like mad. We have everything on an external hard drive but it's just sitting in the other room, on the shelf which is not fireproof. My goal is to upload photos within 24 hours of taking them. I've set up folders by year and then by month and also have special folders just for holidays and special occasions. I also have a Best of 2011 so that each month I'll pick the best pics for some kind of project of sorts. I imagine it's easier choosing them a little at a time instead of all at once. The best part about SmugMug is I can send all my mobile pics from my phone to my account and also any pics which are emailed to me I can forward without having to download. A lot less complicated than it sounds =) Oh and I still have all memory cards completely full. Silly, right? Good luck!

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