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Tag: family photo archive

How to Quickly Convert Old Slides to Digital

A little film to digital converter can easily bring new life to old slides like this 1978 photo of my parents in Greece.

People ask me how I’ve been doing since my father passed away last month. Well, truthfully, I haven’t had much time to really process it. I’m not sure exactly how I’m doing. These weeks have really been more about what I’ve been doing.

I’ve been spending most of my free time clearing out my dad’s apartment. And while one might say that’s a tactic of psychological avoidance (and I’m sure it is), I still have to do it.

Yes, it’s been somewhat overwhelming. It’s more than simply going through his belongings and deciding what to save. I quickly realized that I needed to go through the same exercise for some of my mom’s things that my father saved (or never addressed). And so you don’t think I’m being judgmental, I’m also faced with going through my own stuff I abandoned decades ago.

I’ve quickly realized that maintaining a sense of organization is critical to this overall process. Throwing things in a box and simply moving it to my own home is a half-baked strategy. There’s only so much available space.

I know I need to break through my inner grief and the urge to save as a counter against my loss, and instead really consider the future value of these items.

The Forgotten Photo Collection
Of course, I saved all of the photos I found. Many will go through a digitizing project to integrate into my larger family photo archive.

But then I uncovered a forgotten photo collection. Deep in the back of a closet lived 12 boxes of old 35mm slide carousels. Yes, for several years, my father shot photos that turned into slides. Remember those slides that could be viewed by projecting them onto a screen with a clunky projector? Yep. That’s what my dad had.

So I popped a couple of those filled-up carousel boxes into a bag, brought them back home and placed them on a shelf.

And then I thought about housing all of these boxes. I asked myself why I would want to keep the carousels. Sure, the boxes provided pure organization and safety for those slides. But I was never going to use the carousels. I needed to extract the slides from the remaining carousels and just bring the slides home. Those slides were like negatives that simply required digital conversion. I just had to find a method to do that…

Wolverine Data F2D Titan Film to Digital Converter
So I looked online and quickly found a variety of devices on the market that will convert old slides to digital files. Some are more high-end than others. I just needed a basic conversion. Nothing too fancy.

I decided to go with the Wolverine Data F2D Titan Film to Digital Converter. It’s compact, easy to use and $150 at B&H Photo.

I also picked up some compact Print File Slide Storage Boxes to put the slides in.

First Use
I powered up the F2D Titan and got to work with the first batch of slides from my parents’ 1978 cruise vacation in Greece.

It’s a straight-forward process. You slip your slides into a mini light tray, and then you press a button to take a picture of the side. The Wolverine creates jpegs with plenty of resolution for me. (5472×3648) and between 4-5 MBs in size. It has a small amount of internal storage, but the better process is to pop in an SD card, which is what I did. You can make color/brightness adjustments if you choose, but I decided to do all of that in Adobe Lightroom. It’s faster.

The Wolverine is perfect for my project. The image conversions look good. The process is quick, and the Titan’s footprint is small.

New Views
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen many of these family slides before, and it feels pretty remarkable to view these images of my parents.

It’s almost reality-bending for me, as I integrate these moments into my larger world-view of my family.

Find the Time
This is all great, but you might be wondering how I’m going to find the time to convert hundreds of slides while I’m also going through hundreds of old photos and digitizing those? And clearing out my dad’s place. And handling the rest of my life.

That’s a good question.

What I do know is every time I digitize three or four old photos or slides and add them to my family photo archive, I feel a warmth that fuels me for what may otherwise be a cold day ahead.

It takes about 15-20 minutes.

I figure if I can regularly carve out that time during my early mornings, that could actually help in my healing process. (Plus, it breaks down a massive project into achievable little pieces.)

Maintaining Ownership
So that’s what I’m doing. Yes I know I could pay a service to do all of this digital conversion, but I want to do it myself. Plus, I know I won’t need to digitize every old slide and photo. And only I can make that decision.

If I’m going to first look at every slide to decide its fate, it doesn’t take that much more time to slide it into the Wolverine converter and create the jpeg.

Don’t Wait
Family history is important. I don’t want to just save these photos and slides. I want them to be a part of my story. No, I shouldn’t have waited this long, but I’m glad I still have the opportunity to bring them forward into the future…

How to Build a Cloud Family Photo Archive for your Smartphone

It’s time to release the power of your best family photos! Here are four steps to help you create a family photo archive that you can carry around in your pocket.

Remember how your parents and grandparents liked to carry around wallet-sized photos of you when you were a kid? I think some folks still do that. How quaint… how silly…how unnecessary!

With smartphone tech that can house thousands of photos, why would anyone want to carry around a tattered physical family photo in a wallet?

Well, for one reason… you know exactly where that photo is. And when someone asks you about your family, you can pull it out on demand and show it off.

Can you boast that same super power?
…Right now?

Stop Looking for a Needle in your Visual Haystack
Yes, this topic may fall under the category of ‘super obvious,’ but you can’t simply hope to swipe through a mess of photos in your smartphone representing years of moments and successfully pull the desired image out of a hat whenever you need to.

You’ve got to tuck away a few of the really important ones in a place where you can easily access them (beyond your wallet).

And I’d say the best way to do that is to create a family archive photo album in the cloud that you can access from anywhere, including your smartphone.

Here are four easy steps to help get you going…

Step 1:  Create a Shared Cloud Photo Album
In the Apple ecosystem, of course that’s really simple to do…

You can create a ‘Shared Album’ either on your iPhone or in ‘Photos’ on your Mac and then simply pop in your top 50-100 pics that represent the entirety of your family and your life to date.
(Keeping the number down is much easier said than done, because you’ll find so many choices that you’ll want to include!)

The trick here is to only choose a small number of pics among the thousands you’ve got. Remember, you’re trying to essentially simulate the tattered wallet photo experience… with some obvious improvements. Simplicity and easy access are paramount.

Then after the heavy lifting of curating your little photo collection, simply share the album with your partner and whoever else you’d like…
How considerate of you!

Step 2:  Choose only a Few Photos
So which photos are you going to include?
Well, think about which pics best represent your family’s ‘story.’

Yes, that may take you some time to figure out…
(Our ancestors had it easy with only having to manage through a shoebox of disorganized photos.)

But once you go through your digital collection and pull together this new group of archive-worthy gems, you’ll realize the awesomeness of your accomplishment.

Step 3:  Include the Major Moments
I don’t think there’s one particular recipe to follow… you just need to take a little time to decide what those exact photos are…

For me, I wanted to include some of the obvious milestone family moments…

  • Our wedding
  • Our son’s birth and first days


Then show off a little of the ‘where…’

And then I realized, beyond the several landmark moments in life and fun places that anyone might want to display a picture from, there’s a blur of countless other experiences over the years that you really don’t need to consider.
(That’s sobering, right?)

So, what’s left…?

Step 4:  Focus Mostly on the ‘Who’
Well, it’s the people in your life… your family and friends.

The “who.”

Yes, we’re back to essence of the wallet photo phenomenon.

You’re going to want to carry around the pictures of the people in your life who have mattered most.

Those images are what I immediately felt the need to collect into my own cloud family photo archive…

And so I put those photos in a cloud folder titled ‘Family Portraits.’

Some were candid pics, but most were posed group shots taken at family events. The organic organization of the people in these photos nicely framed much of my family’s history.

Carry Your Family History in Your Pocket
Remember when I said that your photos have expiration dates and that your family and friends only care to see the most recent pics from your life?

While that’s certainly true at one level, some of your pics will defy that phenomenon and retain their long-term value as foundational explainers for your family’s history.

Just make sure you don’t lose them in the endless mass of digital freeze frames from your life.

Sure, they might be properly archived in a portable hard drive somewhere, but if you can’t immediately access them when you want to on your smartphone, you’re going to miss most of the opportunities to share them throughout your life!

A cloud family photo archive that lives on your smartphone is a strategy lightyears ahead of using those tiny wallet photos.

You’ve just got to build it!

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