Your Photographic Footprint
Jan 2016

Your Photographic Footprint

What does your Photographic Footprint look like? When people talk to me about the kind of work I do and what is involved in curating a photo collection, I begin by asking important questions that help determine what their Photographic Footprint might look like. “Do you have more printed photos than digital?  Do you have slides? Do you know where your photos are?  How many devices do you have that you take photos with AND on how many devices do you store your photos?” Most people truly don’t realize the magnitude of their own photo collections because they don’t have their photos all together.
So when you begin to think about creating a “living legacy” with your photos, you need to know what photos you have and where you have them stored. Gathering your photos together is the first step in organizing your photos. It helps if you break this down into your printed photos and your digital photos. The end goal will be to merge all your photos together so that you can begin the sort and organization process.
Ok now that you have gathered everything together let’s take a look at what you have.
Remember that “living legacy” that I was talking about last week? Well his collection is mostly printed photos. I would say 80%.  Then he has slides. Not nearly as many of those, maybe 12%. Finally he has a digital camera that he has used very little but still he has some digital photos from recent years.  I will say 3% to make our numbers add up.
I have another client that is a young professional family.  Their photographic footprint looks very different from this.  Their print collection would be of photos taken until about 2003 when they started taking photos with a DSLR.  Given that a 1″ stack of photos equals about 100 photos, and given that number of boxes located, we estimated that there are approximately 13,500 print photos. The digital piece was much more extensive for this client.  In addition to a camera (which they diligently uploaded to their computer), combined they had 2 Ipads, a work and home PC, a Mac Book and several phones (with camera capability). Additionally they had several external hard drives with about 12,000 photos on each. All combined the number of digital photos for this client was significantly more than Client X.
Regardless of what your photographic footprint looks like, ideally, we would like to have all our photos in one location– preferably digitally. Once digitized, your photo collection can be backed up and secured. We recommend a triple back up method.  (More discussion on that another day.) The path that we take to reach this end goal will look quite different for Client X and Client Y. For Client X we will be doing a lot of scanning and photo restoration. Client Y’s collection will require a good deal of merging of files and duplicate file sweeps. Both will require a core file structure that will in the end allow us to be able to organize and sort through these large collections. In the end the reality is most of us have WAY more photos then we can truly appreciate. So from here we will be able to sort through the photos to pick out our best of the best photos that will be used in a “Living Legacy.”
Next week I would like to tell you about the ABC’s of photo organizing.


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