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Picture this

March 31, 2008

Last month, my grandmother reached her 100th birthday.  I haven’t talked about it much, mainly because I’m in the process of writing one big whopper of a post about her, in honor of the event.  And sometimes good things take time.  Last thing she deserves is a half-assed post about her, because she ain’t a half-assed kinda lady.

We’re having a birthday party for her in mid-April, when the weather is hopefully better than early March, and at the time that her 90+year old sister is visiting from Florida.  Here we stand about 2 weeks away from the party, and in typical IT Girl fashion, I’ve now gotten the bright idea to create a book for her made from her family photographs over the years.  Mother of IT Girl dug them out for me this weekend and I have begun scanning them.  This is a project of some magnitude.  So what if Little IT doesn’t get picked up from a playdate, or IT Boy starves?  I’ve gotta scan. 

I tell you, it’s not a chore at all.  It’s quite a joy.  There’s something about these old photos that you just can’t replicate.  Even if the people in the photo below weren’t my grandparents, I’d still think it was an amazing picture.  Knowing them, and knowing they were on their honeymoon makes it even more special.  Walking the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, circa 1932…


The best part is there are tons of photos like this, although this is my current favorite from the batch I have been working on.  Scanning them allows you to blow them up, to identify people that you might not have been able to from the digital print.  It also serves to hopefully preserve these family moments for my kids to view. 

I’m interested in hearing from others who have taken on projects like this.  Like I said, I’m kinda in a half-assed last minute effort, but I’d love to take the time and do them right.  How did you name/tag the pictures?  What did you learn about organizing them?  What services did you use for output, whether prints or a photo book?  Right now, I’m looking at Blurb (although I think you really have to take the time and do it right on Blurb, and that’s not going to happen for me in two weeks) with Snapfish (old reliable) as a standby.  Vote early and often, all comments appreciated!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2008 8:21 am

    Hi Ellen,
    I’ve done two different types of projects like this – one for my grandfather’s 80th and many for weddings (my sister, my sister-in-law’s, close friends). For each I probably could have done a better job actually organizing and tagging, but the output for all were slideshows. Photodex has a great, easy to use package (although not free). It’s been worth every penny. It allows you to merge different media files from photos to videos to music and time everything accordingly. The editing is really intuitive, and you can create standalone files to play the show (in a lot of different quality and formats) or upload them to the photodex site for sharing. The latest version has integration to upload to Youtube and other video sharing sites.
    The most time consuming part is the scanning and tweaking for color, cropping, contrast, etc since many of the old photos weren’t taken well, didn’t preserve well or in some cases were damaged.
    Enjoy, I’m sure your family will appreciate it…

  2. March 31, 2008 9:05 am

    Ellen, I recommend Shutterfly. I created a book like this for my wife after we took a trip last year. Shutterfly makes it super easy to upload your photos, arrange them, choose layouts, choose book covers, and type in all the text you’d want. I thought the price was fair for what I put together too. Now, the book has a prominent place on a table in our front room.

  3. March 31, 2008 9:50 am

    After mom died, it became priority #1 for me to salvage anything that I could from my past. I have since spent many many hours (probably close to 30) scanning photos going back to my grandparents on both sides in the early 1940s through the early 1980s! It took a long time, alot of effort on my part, but now I have them all in digital format. I also did this so that me and my siblings could share the originals, but then each of us have ALL photos on a CD that I burned for each. I have yet to do a book from the photos, but that is definitely down the road at some point. I still have to put the originals that I scanned into albums. Another great thing about this is just dating all of the photos and figuring out who is in the photo. And I have to admit, that some made me happy, some made me sad, and some made me cry a bit. But I kept on scanning!

  4. Kathy Nebenhaus permalink
    April 1, 2008 6:53 am

    Hi Ellen,
    I just went through a last minute scanning process myself. I wanted to make an e-card for my daughter’s birthday. I scanned my photos and then used Hallmark Smilebox. I loaded the photos into a birthday memory book e-card and it came out great.

    I also use Shutterfly and find it really easy to organize albums. I set up a Shutterfly site last year for the parents of the university crew team. During the year, everyone posted
    their photos on the site and it was a great way to get everyone involed. People had fun loading the pictures and for parents who lived too far to go to the races, it was a great way for them to see their kids.


  5. katie permalink
    April 1, 2008 9:46 am

    That’s an amazing photo Ellen! I have photos like it of my mom’s parents and I have also been scanning and framing. I second the Shutterfly recommendation. And not that you would change the photos, but Adobe released Photoshop Express recently – a free, we-based photo editing application. I’m in the early stages of using it but like what I see so far.

  6. April 2, 2008 1:41 pm

    I’m going to try the Photodex software. Seeing your note, Adam, I realized that the book can wait, and I can do a slide show at the party. I can have one run on my laptop and one off of a digital photo frame. Then, I can take party pictures and mix them into a shutterfly or Blurb book. Thanks to all for your suggestions!

  7. June 11, 2012 7:27 am

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