Thursday, September 07, 2006

What to do with Old Photographs

By Brandi M. Seals

If you are like many people, you have boxes and boxes of old photographs lying around your home. Instead of leaving these boxes of pictures alone to take up space, why not use them in a project?

First things first, set aside some time and go through all of your old photographs. Take out any shots are out of focus, are overly dark, or otherwise not in the best shape. Next, if you like you can organize the photos into different stacks. You could sort by when the photo was taken, who is in them, or where they were taken. Your system of organization is up to you. The organization may come in handy later on when you finally use the photos in something.

Finally, decide what you want to do with the pictures.

Put them in photo albums. Maybe it is time to finally buy some photo albums to store your photos in. This is the easiest solution and the least time consuming. Simply divide up the photos as you see fit and slide them in the plastic sleeves in the new albums. You could make a honeymoon album; do one devoted to your fishing expeditions, or make one for each kid showing them as babies.

If you want to do something more with your photos, try making a collage. Get a shadow box in any size you want and then begin laying out the photos you want to use. Maybe create a beach collage. Get all your best beach photos and pair them with some sea shells and sand from the beach. Glue it all down on a board the exact same size as your shadow box and insert it in. Now your memories are shown in an attractive way that everyone can see. Use your new shadow box collage to decorate any room in your home or give it away as a gift.

Record your memories in a scrapbook. Over the past few years scrapbooking has become a huge industry. So many people are doing it that there is generally a large section in every craft store devoted to the craft. There you can load up on cute paper, stamps, trinkets and more to spice up your scrapbook. Choose your scrapbook and then get started.

Start to pick out the pictures you want to use. You can do something different on each page of your scrapbook or you could do a theme book. You could do a book totally about your college years or your first pregnancy. Pick something and go with it. Choose a paper that goes with your theme and decide where you want to put your pictures. To alter the look of your scrapbook you can layer different papers, sew an edge, add memorable trinkets and more.

If you have an eye for what goes together, you will be great at scrapbooking. This is one easy way to get your photos out of the box and placed somewhere that people will actually look at them.

If scrapbooking isn't your thing, consider creating a slideshow. If you have a computer and a scanner or a digital camera you can put together a great slideshow for your friends and family to view. This is great for anyone who lives far away. Keep your family up to date by giving them a slideshow of you during the past year.

If your photos are not in the best shape because of their years of storage you could look into having them restored. Most photo shops will at least be able to direct you to someone who specializes in photo restoration.

To avoid problems with your photos next time consider having a photo CD made each time you get your film developed. For a little extra money you can have a digital image of your photo for ever. If you have a scanner and don't want to spend the money, you can create your own photo CD with your computer.

If your photos come from a digital camera you will still want to keep a digital copy of your photo. It can be easy to leave them on your computer or camera but that takes up a lot of space. Burn a photo CD instead and free up that extra room for the next time you take a bunch of pictures.

Photos on CD can be organized into folder based on when they were taken, where they were taken, or any other system that you wish to use.

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