Save Your Family Media
Sometimes social media advertising is a life-saver… or maybe I’m just very easily convinced. Either way, the LegacyBox promo code popped up on my newsfeed at just the right time. I was trying to think ahead about my mother’s birthday gift and was drawing a giant blank.
Our family, like many families, has “that cabinet” filled with old family media we can’t really access anymore because who even has a VCR these days? And does anyone know where the thingy to make the slide carousel work went? My sister and I decided to join forces across the three states dividing us to finally tackle digitizing some of that media (or rather, have LegacyBox do it) for our mom.
It was a wild success. We FaceTimed for the big reveal and watched almost two hours worth of the old family movies together. There was laughter. There was crying. And there was a little bit of embarrassment as my sister and I remembered in real time just how awkward we were as children.
In the days since, I’ve shown my kids some clips, which they found fascinating not only because they were babies when my dad passed away, but also because they couldn’t fathom a world where their mother wasn’t allowed to touch the stove and the internet “wasn’t really that much of a thing yet.”
Sidenote: Don’t even try to explain why it was so important to rewind a Blockbuster video to children who have grown up with a “Play from Beginning” button. Their tiny brains just can’t handle it.
Why am I talking about this today?
With September being Save Your Photos Month, it’s a good time to start thinking about your own family media cabinet. It’s a weird thing in a lot of ways, because we treasure what’s in those cabinets so dearly that we’re almost afraid to open them. We don’t want to mess anything up or lose any of those precious memories.
But after my recent experience, I’m more convinced than ever that this is a very misguided way to view family history. Those VHS tapes and slides were valuable to my family, but actually experiencing the footage and images again was — and is — priceless. Digging into that old media cabinet was worthwhile for three key reasons:
- Accessibility – We can all view the media now, no matter how scattered apart we live.
- Shareability – My sister and I can show it to other people who are important to us, like our children or spouses , who never got to meet certain members of our family.
- Organize-ability – We can sort the clips and images digitally, so that we don’t have to rewind, fast-forward, or shuffle through a million things to find what we want. (Which also means we’ll come back to the media and experience it more, knowing that it’s not going to be a whole process.)
I’m certainly not saying that physical tapes, slides, and prints don’t have inherent value. Family members touched those tapes and labeled them in their own, distinctive handwriting. But it’s important to know the difference between memories and just… things.
That’s where Save Your Photos Month comes in
As you navigate your family media cabinet (or the shoebox in your closet, or that old trunk in the attic) you may discover why it took you so long to do so in the first place. It seems like a lot, right? But it’s a worthy task, and a manageable one with the right resources at your back.
Start at the official Save Your Photos Month webpage, hosted by The Photo Managers. There, you can register to access over 40 free, pre-recorded classes from media management experts across different fields. It’s a massive resource library that’s only available until November 1st, all oriented around helping you take charge of your personal media.
Mylio’s own J.C. Figueroa is among the experts, with a class on consolidating your photos. If you’ve read about his process for digitizing his own family media, you know he’s got a lot of great information to share. His class is a short investment of your time at just over ten minutes, and like the others, it will only be available until November 1st, so it’s well worth your time to go ahead and register.
If you’re itching to do something right away before you dive into all those classes, begin with some introspection.
Determine which items are meaningful to you
Digitizing, organizing, or just enjoying your family photos and other media is centered around one thing: knowing which items truly hold meaning. This is a little different for each person, and that’s okay.
The point is (and this is going to feel really wrong, so just power through it) not all of your family history is actually important. The things that aren’t can get in the way of enjoying the things that are. As cheesy as it sounds, you need to Marie Kondo this process and analyze what sparks joy for you.
I know it feels like you should treasure all 200 photos of that family reunion with all those people you don’t really recognize, but in reality you could probably get photos of every person there and cover the pertinent details from the event in a group of 20-30 photos. Because you have this massive pile instead, you’re unlikely to dig through it often enough to get real value out of it.
That’s one reason why, if you don’t have time for an existential crisis over each image, it helps to get your feet wet by sorting them into groups. Once you see the blurry or just not-that-great photos from a family event next to the ones that are really meaningful, you’ll feel more secure about letting go of a few.
Get the meaningful media organized efficiently
Just as grouping helps you see more clearly which images hold meaning for you, working in batches helps you organize them quickly. You can select multiple photos in Mylio with a simple Shift + Click to do vast amounts of organizing in a short amount of time. For example:
- Putting photos in categories
- Adding color labels
- Starting new albums
- Batch-tagging faces
- Changing or adding a location
- Altering, removing, or adding dates
A few clicks now will get these batches organized for life, so you can come back to them whenever you like.
Decide what you ultimately want out of your memories
Are you wanting to share? Print and display? Do you just want to have your family history accessible to enjoy over and over again? Setting goals as you begin this journey will keep it from eventually jumping the tracks. Like any other project, having an ultimate end goal in mind will keep you motivated and give you direction.
For example, if your goal is to get good-quality prints of some of your oldest photos, you’ll probably want to have them restored (or learn how to restore photos, yourself), so it may help to have a dedicated album for those photos after you scan them. That way you can keep track of which ones need attention.
In Mylio, you can have the same photo in multiple albums without moving or duplicating the original file. So, albums are the ideal solution for keeping track of groups of images you’re planning to make changes to (among other things). It keeps you from making things more complicated as you organize.
Here’s another illustration: if you are especially interested in photos of your immediate family, you’ll want to focus on facial recognition (in the People section of Mylio). That would allow you to search for photos by each specific family member, and it would allow Mylio to speed up the process for you by making smart suggestions based on their facial features. It will look for faces that appear to belong to the same person and group them together as suggestions for you to approve. The more suggestions you approve and tagging you do, the better Mylio gets at this. You end up with a sort of customized album of each family member you tag.
Face tagging with Mylio suggestions, courtesy of Mylio Support
What you’re working toward
The main goal of any kind of memory media organization is to revisit your images and videos with ease. No matter how important certain items seem, if you can’t access the media, share it when you want, and find it when you need it, it’s really just “stuff”. You might as well put that old VHS tape in a shadowbox and hang it on your wall.
Instead, use Save Your Photos Month to work toward a searchable, usable family photo and media library. Commit to finding a few classes that are especially relevant to you while they’re still available, and start experiencing those beautiful memories again instead of hiding them away in a dark cabinet. I can tell you from personal experience, you’ll be very glad you did.
Ready to try Mylio? Save Your Photos Month is a good time to start. Get 25% off Mylio with the promo code Maggie_King.