In a month when hustle and bustle often elbows out peace and family, why would anyone tackle a pile of old photos?
A multitude of reasons exist to digitize photos right now and preserve your family memories.
7 Reasons to Digitize Photos
1. Gift Albums
A photo gift will be treasured by the recipient (and win you praise, guaranteed).
I’m making a cute little photo book for my 98-year-old grandmother by collecting stories from all her grandchildren (my cousins) about the characteristics, traits and belongings they’ve inherited from her. The book of scanned photos will be filled with images of perky noses, practical jokes and quilts my grandmother has bestowed on her progeny.
What will she appreciate more on Dec. 26? The photo book or another tchotchke for which she needs to find room on the shelf?
2. Photo Gifts
Does organizing an album sound like too big a project? With digitized photos, your images can be used on all kinds of photo gifts in almost any price range for recipients of any age: phone covers, coffee cups, mouse pads, stationery, coasters, puzzles...the list goes on.
The best part of shopping for gifts like these? No fighting crowds at the mall. Digitized photos can be uploaded to participating retailers right from your computer.
Why gaze upon images of food, football teams or fuzzy felines when you could track 2014 with a calendar of images from your own photo collection? You’re keeping those photos, negatives or slides for a reason, right? You can use a photo scanning service to convert slides to digital and convert negatives to digital, as well as converting your print photos. It's time to get them out of the box and into your life.
The mailbox is overflowing at Christmas with photo cards of cute kids. Be different and send your warm wishes with a card decorated with a nostalgic holiday image of you and your siblings or the old farm house in winter or a grandfather dressed as Santa.
5. Holiday Decorations
Speaking of all those photo cards of cute kids, I love receiving them, but I used to struggle with what to do with them after the initial rush of finding them in the mailbox. I hated throwing them away.
Now I store them in a photo-box custom-made with family Christmas photos. It’s a beautiful, and functional, seasonal Christmas decoration for a coffee table. It gets stored, with all the photo cards inside, with all my other Christmas decorations when the holidays are over.
Some printing companies also offer to print photos on tree ornaments; imagine honoring your ancestors by decorating your tree with their images.
6. Home Décor
Hosting the big family gathering this year? A thorough housecleaning often precipitates such gatherings, and they’re often excuses to repaint or remodel a spare bedroom or entertaining space. I use family photos as the finishing touch for a room remodel.
Recently, I digitized photos of my parents and siblings from the 1990s, had them printed on wood and used them to fill a nook in my remodeled office. I love them, and I know my family will notice when I show off the room during their visit.
Does your family automatically flick on the TV at Christmas? Distract them with a slideshow of old family photos or videos (bonus points if you show it on your flat-screen television screen instead of your laptop – search “how to connect my laptop to my TV” for instructions).
Those videos or photos on a continuous loop will mesmerize your audience and spark conversations about something other than politics and sports.
Get Ready to Enjoy Your Collection of Digitized Photos
With so many great opportunities to enjoy your photo collection, don’t let the holidays fill you with excuses to put off digitizing your images.
About the Author
Monica Lee is a writer and photo organizer in northern Illinois. She writes about new perspectives on telling stories and enjoying family photos on her blog, Clickago Storywerks.