Summer Project 2010: Week #2

My summer project continues with step #2 …

Week #2: Tackling the digital memorabilia.

Last week I sorted the paper memorabilia for my oldest son’s kindergarten year. This week it’s on to the digital stuff. But since he’s 15 years old and I didn’t have any digital items to deal with that long ago, I decided this week to instead tackle the current year’s files as an example of what I will be doing when I hit the grade levels where this is an issue. After all, my plan is that after I finish up this first year’s worth of memories, I’ll go back and repeat the steps for each of the grades my son has completed until the album is either caught up or finished, depending on whether he graduates before I get to that point!

I download all of our photo files via iPhoto, so that’s my starting point. This includes both my Canon DSLR and my hubby’s digital point-and-shoot, both of which also take videos. I don’t take the time to tag or even edit when I download, so it doesn’t take long before I have a ton of files to sort through.

I do sort photos by month as I download by using the “smart album” feature of iPhoto which allows me to specify a date range for each album, which is then automatically sorted.  I also have just one year’s worth of photos in each iPhoto library, so my current files look like the example on the left.

My first step in this week’s process was to create a temporary folder, or album, to sort my son’s 9th grade photos and videos into.

Sorting is just a matter of dragging the preview of each item into that folder. The actual file doesn’t go there, so it isn’t duplicating anything. It’s just an easy way to sort for later. When I’m done with the project, I can delete the folder without causing any harm or change to my original set of photo files.

Next I went through all of the photos from this past school year … dragging those that I thought I might want to include in Karstin’s album into the folder set up for this purpose. I don’t limit myself to school-related photos, rather I grab any photos that are representative of Karstin’s year and that feature primarily him, as opposed to the rest of the family. So for his freshman year of high school, this included some school & studying shots at home plus lots of extracurricular stuff, such as x-country, speech & drama, and lots of photos related to his various band concerts and performances. It also included stuff he did with his buddies, playing with our new puppy, hanging out with his little sisters, and similar pics.

My first run through the photo files was pretty quick … I just grabbed everything Karstin-related and tossed it in the folder without really looking at it or spending much time on the process. After going through the entire year, I then went back to my new “Karstin-Grade 9” folder, which you see above, and weeded out the stuff I know I won’t use … blurry photos, duplicates, random stuff I doubt I’ll miss … that kind of thing.

The video files are included right in amongst the photos, which is actually pretty  handy for this process. Even though I’m working on a book, I think I’ll probably burn DVDs with the year’s videos and include that in the album in some sort of pocket.

After all of this sorting and weeding, my next step was to print out a contact sheet. It’s really easy in iPhoto … you can choose how big to make the images, how many on a page, etc.

My purpose in printing this is not for actual preservation, rather it’s a way for me to go back later on and see what I have all at once without having to be on my computer. This will come in handy in a couple weeks when I start making actual decisions about what is going to be used and how, particularly because I can write right on the sheet, crossing out what I decide I don’t want, making notes about layout possibilities, etc. For now, I just printed out my sheets using the “faster printing” option to save on ink, stapled it and tossed it in my pile with the other items from this school year.

Having gone through the process once and worked out exactly what I want to do, the next time I do this I will set up folders for all four of my kids and sort everyone at the same time. It really doesn’t take any longer that way and is so much more efficient in the long run, which is one of my goals.

Next week: Identifying what we’ve got & devising a plan.

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