Do you have photo albums stored in boxes, closets and all over the garage? You're not alone.
Organizing decades of photos seems like a monumental task for most people. That's why Seattle resident Jerry Kemp and his daughter Jane Decker hired an expert to help them.
"My dad just turned 65, my sister had a baby, sort of all these big milestones in life and it just got me thinking about the importance of record keeping," said Decker.
Decker and Kemp brought in Molly Bullard to help give their old photos a new home in the digital world. Bullard owns Seattle Photo Organizing, and over the past seven years, she has become a photo organizing expert.
The first thing Kemp and his daughter do is take all the photos out of the albums and frames. Some photos are tossed during the consolidation process, such as duplicates, pictures that are out of focus, pictures with people who are hard to identify and travel pictures of scenery.
Next, file folders are labeled with a Post-it note based on the year or event.
"The nice thing about using file folders is it helps to visualize what's going to happen to this set once those items are scanned," said Bullard.
This is a process that can take two or three meetings and up to eight hours to complete. Once all the photos are in the appropriate folder, Bullard takes them home uses Photoshop to fix any blemishes and scans each picture with a high-resolution scanner. The photos are archived into the various categories so they are easy to find and saved onto an external hard drive.
"They're getting all their originals preserved in acid-free materials, and they're going to get at least two external hard drives full of their data," said Bullard.
Some of Bullard's clients will hire her to use the photos to design a hardcover album or slideshow for a special event. She also teaches people how to use certain photo programs so once they have their photos in digital form, they can share them with their friends and family.
Bullard said this process is something anyone can do on their own if they have the time and the effort.
For Bullard, each project is a labor of love.
"As we're going through the photos and I'm learning about the different family members and the different experiences and the sadness or loss, I feel an amazing connection," said Bullard.
"It's like a dream to think of having everything organized and everything protected," said Kemp.
When it comes to a family's memories, Kemp said there is nothing more important.
For more information on Seattle Photo Organizing, visit www.seattlephotoorganizing.com.