There’s just something about old photos. They’re like little captured moments of our past, carefully preserved so we can revisit that time. Links to our family history that keep us connected to those who are no longer with us. They prompt interesting family stories and bring comfort in the wake of loss.
The problem is old photos fade. They are prone to environmental factors like humidity and even insect infestations. Any of these can leave your precious photos ruined. In the past, figuring out what to do with old photos meant keeping them in voluminous old photo albums, storage bins, or shoe boxes. While all of these did offer some degree of protection, it was not enough. Even when they are sealed, such as in a photo album, the color in pictures can still fade.
Fortunately, we now have the ability to scan photos so that they are preserved in their current conditions and will never fade or degrade. While this is great, the question becomes, then what? What do you do with old photos after scanning? We came up with some creative things to do with old photos and found ways to not only preserve them but also create priceless family heirlooms.
Start by Digitizing Your Photos
Scanning or digitizing photos is the first step in preserving your old memories. Digital copies of your old pictures are saved to your computer, external hard drive, the cloud, a DVD, or a flash drive. This makes them much more manageable because it allows you to reap several tremendous benefits, the first of which is that you declutter old photographs. Because you have digital copies of your family photos, it minimizes the clutter that comes with holding on to printed photos, specifically duplicates.
Digitizing your photos also helps to keep memories safe. Your pictures of loved ones who have passed on are precious. Old family photos stay preserved and there is no danger of water damage, fire, humidity, mold, or degradation due to the passage of time. When you want to look at them, you just pull them up wherever they are stored and enjoy them to your heart’s content.
Storing your photo collection also saves space. This is a huge advantage if your storage space is limited. Photo storage boxes are bulky and can take over a closet. Even the occasional photo book can be problematic simply because most are so large they don’t fit on a standard bookcase which means they have to lay down, taking up more space. They also stack awkwardly.
When your photos are in digital format it makes it super easy to share family photos with loved ones so that everyone has access. They can be transferred via computer, iPhone, smartphone, and other digital devices which also makes it easier to create a portable photo display or share them on social media. It also makes it easy to turn the photos into wallpaper or a screensaver so you can take a stroll down memory lane whenever and wherever you like.
However, digital devices are not infallible. It is important to store the digital version of your photos on your computer as well as on the cloud. You may also choose a portable storage option as well, such as a flash drive or external hard drive. Legacybox offers step-by-step instructions for preparing your photos and getting them scanned so they will always be there whenever you want to revisit those precious memories.
6 Creative Ideas for Your Old Photos After Scanning
Once you have scanned your family photos, there’s so much you can do! You can really get creative with your physical photos and repurpose them in some stunning ways.
1. Create a Family Scrapbook
Scrapbooks make great gifts for grandparents. What makes them great though is that they usually include little mementos and commentary as well as pictures. You can easily turn a scrapbook of old photos into an enthralling family story. Each page can have a theme. For instance, if Aunt Martha went to see Elvis in concert, you might include photos of her from that day as well as the ticket stub and even a clipping from the newspaper about the concert.
You can also create a baby book for your parents or even an “our story” detailing their childhoods, meeting, courtship, and marriage. Those are keepsakes they will certainly treasure forever.
2. Make DIY Gifts
There are so many gifts you can make with photos! YouTube has tons of DIY projects that incorporate family pictures into art projects. There’s really no end to what you can do and family and friends will definitely appreciate gifts with photos of treasured memories.
- Photo clock
- Jewelry box
- Serving tray
Add a quote to the picture and create an inspirational wall hanging or a coffee table book. Use resin to create beautiful gifts like paperweights, trays, and displays or even a unique photo frame.
3. Design a Photo Wall
Many people pay top dollar for interior designers to come in and decorate with interesting photographs. However, you can create interesting wall treatments yourself using your old photos. Framed photos can create an aesthetic, decorative wall in your home with your photo collection. Or you can just forget the picture frame and stick them directly to the wall like wallpaper. Devote an entire wall to remembering your family members and create interesting groups or clusters of photos spaced a few inches apart. Not only does this create an interesting, engaging focal point for a room, but it also sparks conversation with guests and family alike.
4. Get Crafty
Reuse old photos or negatives and transform them into pieces of art. You can use them for a variety of art projects like collages, jewelry or school projects. The possibilities are truly endless. Some people even transfer their old photos onto blankets or quilts, creating a treasured keepsake that can be passed down through the family for future generations. Check out Amazon or local craft stores for inspiration.
5. Create a Family Tree
Use old photos to create a photo family tree to hang in your home. You can also make beautiful family tree gifts to give for the holidays. Make sure to leave extra room so the recipient can include their own children and then those children can add their children and spouses so that the tree grows with the family.
6. Donate them or Give them away
If you don’t have the space to store photos, DIY projects are too time consuming, or arts and crafts aren’t really your cup of tea, another family member might want hard copies of an old photo – or several. Alternatively, you might reach out to museums and historical societies in your area that might appreciate any photos of local landmarks over the years.
After digitizing your photos there’s no limit to the possibilities you have to create some fun activities with your old memories. Legacybox can help you digitize your old photos to protect them for a lifetime.