By Christina VanGinkel
If you are like the majority of parents, you snapped dozens of photos of your newborn from before birth through baby's first year. Now, you would like to do something with all the snapshots before they are lost in a drawer or tucked in a box to languish in the back of a closet. Before this happens, make a commitment to frame a few, scrapbooks some, and organize the rest. If you happen to be past this step, and baby is already racing around with their learner's permit, you can still follow this same commitment to use your treasured photos. You just might have to climb to the back of the spare room to retrieve them and dust them off before beginning!
If your film is already processed, or your digital files are printed, you have completed the first step. If not, then get those photographs ready to work with. Next, sort them into distinct categories such as those you intend to frame or otherwise display, and those you want to use in a scrapbook. When considering display options, do not always assume this means framing in the traditional sense. Think of ways to share them with family and visitors in untraditional ways, such as on a memory board, (A foam board covered with decorative ribbon, where you just slip the photo's edges behind the ribbon to hold pictures in place. Memory boards can be framed, minus the glass, so photos are easily swapped for a constantly fresh display) a room divider, or even transferred to specialty papers for use as refrigerator magnets or on a coffee mug as a gift for a doting grandparent or aunt or uncle.
Scrap booking has become such a favored way to store treasured photographs that there is an unending choice of products to use. You can often use photos that you would not normally frame, such as your little one covered head to toe in his or her first bowl of oatmeal they tried to feed themselves. Look for the photographs that have a story behind them, and add a bit of journaling along with each photo for a treasured keepsake book that future generations will reap enjoyment from paging through and discovering how you raised you child. That future generation may even be that same child, so you will also be able to capture some of their own memories for them, before they were able to remember them themselves!
Those photographs still without a use will need to be organized. This could be as simple as sliding them into the pages of an acid free photo album or into acid free storage boxes. Refrain from dumping them back into a box to languish unprotected in a closet or spare room. This is a good time to label and sort them for possible future use, especially if you have quite a few that you did not get around to placing into scrapbooks, but that you feel will be perfect for future page layouts, as themes to build around or as accent pictures to other main themes. If you have a scanner, or many of the photographs are already digital files, try a free software organizer such as Picasa2, or one that is already installed as part of your photo editing software.