Simple Ways to Prepare Your Prints for a Professional Organizer

We all have them hidden away in our closets and basements. 

It’s those shoeboxes and plastic bins overflowing with years of unorganized photos.

Happily, you can leave the hard work of scanning and organizing those printed photos to us.

When our clients make the investment to have us organize their photos, they often wonder what they can do to speed up the process. In other words, our clients want to know “What’s my role in the organizing process?”

The thought of giving our mess to someone else can be intimidating. But with just a small amount of preparation before we receive your photos, we find that our client projects run more efficiently right out of the gate, saving you time and money.

Here’s some simple tasks to get your print photos ready for us to organize.

Start By Separating Different Media Types

The best way to save time and money on your organization project is to put each kind of printed media in a separate container.

You probably have several boxes or bins full of printed photos already. But we also suggest placing videos (DVD’s, converted home movies, or VHS tapes) in one box, and slides in another.

Place photo albums, or “brag books,” in their own box. Feel free to take photos out of sleeves or magnetic pages if you want to.

Scrapbooks with photos glued to pages can go in their own box. We can scan each page of these books to create a digital file of your scrapbooks.

Place all framed prints together in a box. If you’d like, take photos out of the frames, but if a photo is stuck to glass, leave it there. We have tools to help us safely remove them. We also have the technology to scan a photo that’s stuck behind a piece of glass.

Separate all large portraits (8 x 10 or larger) into a large envelope or box.

Our most important piece of advice? Don’t throw anything away! And don’t try to select the best photo from similar or multiple copies. We will check in with you on those later.

The only exception to this advice is school or sports portraits where you may have saved multiple copies and sizes. Save just one copy (at least 3 x 5 or 5 x7) for us. You can keep the duplicates at home or toss extras if you want to.

This previous post has some tips for handling and storing your printed photos until you can get them to us

Document Basic Information About Your Photos

Another time-saving, simple task is documenting as much about your collection as possible.

If you know the years that are represented in a box or bin full of photos, note those years on a label. You could also number each box or bin, then create a list of the general contents in each one. 

If you still have the prints in envelopes from a photo shop, taking a few moments to write the events on the envelope will save our staff a lot of research time. We would caution against writing on the backs of photos to avoid ink smears and indentation. If you do write on the back of a photo, be sure to use an archive quality, photo safe pencil or pen.

Write down school names, grade levels, and sports team names on the back of childhood portraits.

The most helpful notes to make are details only you know, including photo locations and timelines. In addition, we can collect your family information (names, birthdates, family trees, etc.) to help us recognize people in your photos as we organize them. 

If you have a selection of photos centered around sensitive relationships, but you still want them organized, make sure to give those to us in a separately labeled box. Read this post for tips on how to deal with difficult photos.

A Little Prep Work Goes a Long Way Toward Your Finished Project

As soon as we receive your collection, our photo technicians get to work following a step-by-step workflow. You can read more about our process here.

When we finish your project, we return your photo to you neatly organized in premium, archival boxes along with your collection backed up on an external hard drive.

Client's photos organized in archival box.

Close up of client photos organized in archival box.

We also offer an optional service where we build a family photo website on SmugMug featuring an organized gallery of your photos. You can read more about that here.

When you hire us to organize your prints, we become the experts on your family photos.

We’re available to take on your collection from start to finish, checking in with you along the way. 

But the small amount of simple prep work you do in advance gives our team a head start and saves you time and money in the end.

If you’re ready to pull your printed photos out of hiding and have us get started, contact us for a free consultation today.

2 thoughts on “Simple Ways to Prepare Your Prints for a Professional Organizer

  1. do you also have referrals for in home help with the organizational process (prepping all media for scanning and such)

    1. Hi Terri:
      We can inventory, organize and scan without our clients being local. If you want more information on how that works, feel free to schedule a 30 minute consultation. Go to the Contact Us page and complete the form.

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