The Archiving Process

The Archiving Process

Our stories begin the day we are born. Then each day forward, no matter the photographic technology of our time, we take pictures and begin documenting our life; creating our biography; sharing our stories. Now it’s time to save and preserve those stories for future generations to keep and enjoy forever.



Box of printed photographs

Printed Photos & Physical Memorabilia

1. Start with one bag and one box.

2. Separate pictures into piles by THEME (not year). Enjoy reminiscing during this process!
• i.e. Holidays, Birthdays, Heritage, Weddings, Graduations, Sports, Vacations
• any theme, subject or event that makes sense to you
• Seasons, decades, people

3. Divide themed piles into chronological order at this time if you choose.

4. Transfer printed photos by theme into labeled compartments of a photo-safe storage box.

5. Move digital photos by theme into labeled computer folders.

6. Sort memorabilia and physical media into same theme piles/folders.

7. Transfer memorabilia & physical media into appropriate archival storage systems.


Digital Photos & Videos

1. Create Native File System on external hard drive.
• Set up folders in chronological order
• Set up one folder for images and one folder for videos if you wish

2. Move digital photos by year into labeled folders.

3. Move digital videos by year into labeled folders if applicable.

4. Label duds, duplicates and unwanted photos with an “E” for Elimination.
• One-of-a-kind shots that are of poor quality or damaged can be labeled “R” for Restoration.


Step 2: TAG


Tagging Photographs

Printed Photos & Physical Memorabilia

1. Start with one compartment at a time.
2. Go through each photo and label it with more detail.
• Persons name, Christmas, Kindergarten, High School, Hockey, Baseball, Hawaii, Europe, etc.

3. Create Labeled sections within compartments and transfer photos. 

4. Continue to tag unwanted photos with "E" for elimination.


Digital Photos

1. Start with one year at a time.

2. Go through each photo and tag it with more detail using:
• Key-wording - Christmas, Kindergarten, High School, etc.
• Facial recognition - Person's Name
• Star rating

3. Continue to tag unwanted photos with "E" for elimination.



Printed Photos, Physical Memorabilia, and Digital Files

1. Re-evaluate all the pictures you tagged with an “E,” as you feel necessary.

2. Re-tag any photos you decide to keep.

3. Transfer those photos into appropriate compartment section/sub-folder.

4. Throw out/delete all photos tagged with an “E”.

5. Place those tagged with “R” for "restoration" in a separate pile for consultation with one of our team members.




Photo Decor

At this point, the most time-consuming part is over and it's time to choose your preservation methods.

1. Scan + digitize.

2. Print + create.
• Create photo albums/digital photo books.
• Showcase printed photos in an archival quality album or book.
• Design Photo Décor Solutions
• Choose favorite photos to be displayed throughout your home or place of business.
• Create photo gifts for family, friends + colleagues.
• Custom photo books, boxes or albums filled with prints, home décor, photo gifts, etc.
• Slide shows
• Turn still images & video clips into an Oscar-winning production.
• View on computer, TV, mobile device, social media.

3. Back-Up
• On a digital device, in the cloud and printed –The Rule of Three!
• Consider a duplicate printed copy at an alternate location.


More Archiving Tips:

  • Do NOT use Ziploc baggies, Rubbermaid totes or cardboard boxes to store photos long term!
  • Carefully remove all photos from older photo albums, especially “magnetic” or “sticky” page ones as the glue & acid will discolor/eat your photos & adhere them to the pages.
  • Do NOT let newspaper or other “unsafe” paper touch your photos. Keep these items separate.

Storage Tip: Avoid light, extreme temperatures, moisture, dust, pests and pets!


Information provided by Independent Photo Imagers.

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