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Your cheat sheet for 10 crucial steps people miss when organizing digital photos

Most people want to just organize their digital pictures and ignore these crucial steps right at the beginning...when they are shooting and transferring their digital pictures. Then they wonder why they can't organize their digital photos! Avoid most people's mistakes and start on the right track!

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How to organize your old scanned pictures

Old pictures are fun because they bring back lots of memories. It’s funny how we mostly remember the good things about most memories. Memories are the primary driver for me when I go back into my childhood pictures and decide to scan some and make them digital. I have hundreds of pictures from when I was a child. Even though I would like to scan all of them, I usually pick a few to scan and then forget about it for a while. Organizing old scanned pictures is the same as organizing current picture, at least for me. I get many questions however about organizing scanned pictures, and so i’ll describe here how I organize them.

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Scan pictures in groups related to the same time period

My wife and I have quite a few old pictures of our families: parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins…you get the picture…I have a large family with lots of pictures. The best way to approach the organization of these scanned pictures is to group them by approximate time…I mean large approximation.

I usually pick a group of pictures that have to do with similar time period. And I mean roughly similar…more like: “these are pictures from the 70s and these are pictures from 80s”. Unless you have more clues written on the back of your pictures (or somewhere else), it’s really hard to determine the date and place of an old picture. Unless of course you have a grandmother that remembers every detail about every old picture.

Sometimes the content of the pictures triggers memories that help me remember more details about the date and place, but those pictures are not too many. When I run into pictures from a particular event, I put them all together in a folder and create a precise folder name (Read How should you name your folders?)

My folder structure for old scanned pictures

I create folders just like I would create folders for current pictures (Download my book to learn how to create efficient folders and keywords). The only difference is that I place them in the higher level folder called VLAD. All the current pictures I place in FAMILY. My wife’s old pictures when she was a child I place in her own folder where I create similar folders for the years.

VLAD
  1970
    1970s-childhood (pictures scattered all over the 1970s)
    1979-12-first-day-of-school (a few pictures from this event I remember)
  1980
    1980s-childhood
FAMILY
  2008
  2009
  2010

So, what’s different about scanned images?

There is not much difference between scanned images and regular images with two notable differences

Scanned images are just like regular pictures with two minor differences. One difference is the way you import them in your computer and the second difference is that it’s very hard to remember the time and place of old pictures.

The fact that you don’t know the time and circumstances of these pictures will force you to group them generically by long time spans. This is the most important difference between scanned images and current regular pictures. That’s it !

What do you think? Have you find another way to group scanned pictures? How do you do it?

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