Remembering Christmas’ past

The holidays are a great time for remembering family’s, past and present. And so many of those memories are in old photos of Christmas’s past, stored in old boxes in the attic. Probably not far from the Christmas ornaments you will be digging out. So why not grab the old photos and go through them, picking out Christmas photos? Wouldn’t this be a good time to start and organizing project of your photo collections? Organizing in small bites makes the project easier and less overwhelming.

First step is to try and figure out names, places and years. You won’t be able to answer all the questions but it’s a start! Then digitize the photos. Start a file relating to Christmas or holidays and store the digitized images in that file. Don’t forget to add the information to the files meta data so that the info will travel with the files and in the future others will know the who, where and when. Some articles I have read suggest once the photos are digitized you no longer need the originals and can eliminate the clutter. I totally disagree! A better solution is to organize and safely store your originals. Archival boxes are available to store you photo treasures. And I still love photo albums. But NOT those old ‘magnetic’ ones! Archival albums are also available.

With your digitized Christmas photos, how about making them into a slide show? Many slide making programs are available. Some free, some at a nominal cost and some pretty expensive. With the cost comes extra features. However, even the free programs offer many features to make a great slide show and most include ways to format it for YouTube or Facebook. Going to relatives for the holidays? Format it to a Flash Drive and show it on a flat screen tv. Google “Free slideshow programs”. Lots of choices. This photo is 70 years old. Filled with wonderful memories, waiting to be shared.

I use Photodex ProShow Producer in combination with Photoshop. However similar results can be done with other slideshow programs and other graphic programs. Whatever programs you use there are lots of tutorials online for almost all these programs. In ProShow Producer many options are included such as key frames which allow you to add movement to your photos. Also text can be added and the process is simplified using templates.

Click for larger view

A good program to make holiday slideshows is Windows Movie Maker Live. Movie Maker also gives you the option to include those old 8mm and super 8 movie clips. The clips have to be digitized first but this should be part of your photo memories organization projects. And Windows Movie Maker Live is free! Needs to be downloaded and Microsoft will no longer support it after the first of the year. It’s simple to use and has some very useful of options. It’s much more effective if you have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. With these programs you can edit your photos to fit a widescreen format and customize your fonts. Eliminating the ugly black lines. Also do more interesting titles. Then simply drag and drop into Movie Maker Live. You can also add music to the slideshow. What’s a Christmas slideshow without Jingle Bells playing in the background. It can be output to HD WMV or YouTube.

This is a quick example I made in less then ten minutes. Very easy! Don’t forget to save the information to the digitized files using meta data and save your originals in a safe environment. With the holidays upon us, what better time then now to save and show these memories while getting a good start at saving and organizing your photos. And as a grandparent I know this is a present or Christmas card that I would treasure.

-Bob Walden

Photo Albums – Post style

Holds 4 x 6″ photos. Initial album capacity 204 photos.Optically Clear pockets with black mesh background. Post binding accepts unlimited refills.