Sunday 7 November 2021

Photos, photos and more photos

A brief, limited post about many photos!

A lively Twitter chat #ANZAncestryTime about photo digitization and storage provided some ideas and prompted me to find a couple of previous posts I had written on this topic, this one back in 2014 on Organising photos and another on sharing photos via Flickr and Trove.

Time and software move on but some simple methods for preserving photos and the information about them are worth revisiting.

Adding data to scanned photos

I regularly use a simple Paint program on my Windows computer to add extra white canvas to a photo and then type in as much detail as known about the photo. This is in addition to adding the metadata in the details fields of the photos.

1. Copy the photo, open Paint and paste
2. Drag the bottom corner either sideways or down to create extra canvas. You may need to zoom out in order to see the bottom of your photo. Here I have zoomed out to 12.5%.
3. Select the Text button to type in the details
Adding white space in Paint
Most photo editing software packages have this function to add extra canvas for typing but as Paint is part of Windows and extremely simple to use this is a very quick method for adding text.

In the free Irfanview the option is under Image > Change canvas size.
Two free online options that do not need a login are Lunapic and Pixlr.

File naming

Early in my photo digitization process, I realized the need for a consistent file naming pattern. A simple spreadsheet helps me name files consistently. The clip below shows the details to be added, then the final column, in this case, column H puts the data together generating the file name to copy. The simple formula used here is CONCATENATE to join all the columns that have data in them. 
This works for a wide variety of photos as one need only fill in the details available such as the street scene photo listed in row 5. Empty cells are ignored with this formula. Column D has an underscore which separates the name of the photo or the Who from the rest of the more descriptive elements of the file name.

My photos are then stored in surname folders where applicable with the rest filed either by year or place. All photos and data are backed up to external hard drives and cloud storage.


Physical photos once scanned are added to Albox archival albums which I purchased from Gould Genealogy The photo pages have convenient slip-in labels for adding detail about the photos.


I initially used a Dropbox folder for sharing with immediate family but now I have paid storage elsewhere I add photos and documents to Google Drive and share folders from there. Stories using photos in blog posts over on Earlier Years are designed to reach a wider audience.

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