How do you document your history? Families are increasingly working together with each other and various photo and video transfer services to digitize old prints and videotapes in order to preserve them for the future. They pull from multiple households to contribute to a major photo digitization project. Along with photos and videos, families are pooling scrapbooks, invitations, birth announcements, cards, and other key mementos that contribute to their histories.
You can launch a major photo digitization project, too. Follow this guide if you want to save your memories, along with those of your siblings, parents, cousins, and grandparents. Get organized and store your photos and videos in the best possible environment.
1. Assemble a Team of Family Historians
The first step when launching a major family legacy photo digitization project is to gather a team of people who are eager to help you. These are family members from different branches of your tree who all have photo prints and memories of their own. While a parent might be able to contribute memories of your childhood, they might not have many photos of your cousins, aunts, and other extended relatives.
As you start this family legacy project, consider which parts of the family tree you want to include. Families are diverse, messy, and constantly changing. Do you want to invite in-laws to contribute memories of people who married into the family? How will you work with divorced family members and step-relatives?
Once you have a team of willing contributors and helpers, you can establish your project guidelines.
Your family legacy project might grind to a halt during the December holiday season. 2. Create a Timeline for Your Digitization Project
It’s not uncommon for family legacy projects to get out of hand. It can be overwhelming when you have to digitize thousands of photos and videos at once. The more family members and photos you bring in, the faster this project can grow too big to handle.
Create a timeline for your relatives to stick to so this project doesn’t take years to complete. Break down each stage of the project (collecting, sorting, submitting, and digitizing) and provide a few weeks for your relatives to finish each part.
There are a few things to consider as you set your timeline:
- Watch out for major holidays. Your family legacy project might grind to a halt during the December holiday season.
- Build enough time to accommodate busy schedules. Your family volunteers will need a few weeks to handle each stage.
- Set up regular check-ins with relatives. If your family has two weeks to pull out their photos, check in after the first week to make sure the timeline is reasonable.
In some cases, you might need to move on if one of your relatives can’t keep up with deadlines. They can contribute their memories at a later date.
3. Gather All of Your Photos and Videos
Ask your volunteer historians to go through their homes and pull together all of their family memories. Encourage them to sort through closets, drawers, TV stands, and other places where old prints and rolls of film would be stored.
At Memory Fortress, we work with customers who send us two or three projects because they didn’t find all of their prints the first time. We are happy to help you, but understand how frustrating it is to find a lost box of videotapes after you thought you found everything. Look carefully to make sure this major family legacy photo digitization project isn’t followed immediately by a mini one.
4. Sort and Organize Everything
Once you gather your memories, take steps to organize them. You will need to talk with your family to discuss how to organize family photos. Some people take their roles as family historians seriously and want photos, videos, and other mementos to be organized by date. This is also the easiest way to store family photos moving forward. However, you can also sort your media by the people involved and the events where the memories were collected.
One of the biggest challenges of sorting memories by the people involved is that names change over time. Your cousin might carry your last name until she gets married. A sibling might get called different nicknames by various relatives (Robert, Rob, Robbie, Bob, etc.) It is also hard to sort memories that have multiple relatives involved.
Once you reach a consensus on how to organize your media, ask your relatives to all follow the same process so your memories are sorted the same way.
5. Send Your Prints and Tapes to Memory Fortress
Once you have collected and sorted all of the media for your major photo digitization project, send everything to Memory Fortress. We are qualified to handle extremely large scanning projects. We invest in the latest technology that allows us to scan photos quickly while maintaining their quality.
The larger your photo scanning project, the more money you can save. We have a sliding-scale pricing model where we charge you less the more you send us. The price-per-photo cost for a project of 10,000 prints is less than an order with only 1,000 or 5,000 print memories.
You can choose whether you send us your entire family legacy project at once or ask your relatives to send their memories separately. If you all live in different parts of the country, it might not be feasible to bring your photo prints and video tapes together before shipping them to us.
Customers in Atlanta and surrounding areas can also hand-deliver the prints from their major photo digitization project. Just call ahead so we know to expect you at our office.
6. Combine Digitized Files With Existing Media
Most families experienced a digital transformation over the past few decades. One person switched from using film cameras to taking digital photos and then another relative updated their own technology a few years later. As a result, you might start to have some gaps in your family history during these transitions.
While your photos are being scanned and returned by our team, sort through your digital files. Gather the photos and videos you have saved on your computer and on your phone so you can continue the documentation process and combine digitized photos with modern memories.
7. Find Relatives to be Continuous Family Historians
Once you combine your new and old photos, your major photo digitization project is complete. However, history is a living thing. Every year there are new milestones, birthdays, weddings, and events. If you stop sorting and documenting memories now, you will create a large family legacy project for yourself again in the future.
Of the people who helped with this project, select a few family historians to continue the work. These experts will keep saving family photos and sorting through old memories they find. Try to nominate at least three historians for ongoing maintenance, so there is always someone who can step in or train a new family volunteer. Moving forward, your entire family history can stay organized and preserved.
Send Your Major Photo Digitization Project to Memory Fortress
If you have multiple family photos, your family legacy digitization project is too big to handle alone. We often work with customers who try photo scanning apps but give up because the work is too tedious. Let the professionals protect and preserve your memories – all within 10 business days.
Michael B. – “Our large digital photo scanning job was handled with great care from start to finish. Keith and his team stayed in constant communication throughout the process. I will be using Memory Fortress for our future projects.”
We digitize everything right here at our facility in metro Atlanta, processed by US citizens.
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