How do I give my parents a lifetime of photos?
December 15, 2010 6:54 PM   Subscribe

My Christmas gift to my parents this year is that I have been scanning my baby pictures using a Pandigital Photolink One-touch scanner, which scans individual pictures. I have been saving them to a memory card, and then to my computer. I am trying to figure out the best way to present this to my parents.

Here are my considerations:

*My parents are not together, though they were when these pictures were taken. Also, some of the pictures only apply to one of them, and I am not sure if I should include all those pictures given that they are not together anymore. They get along as best they can, but I don’t know if they want all those couply shots. Should I stick to pictures of them with their kids, or include them all and let them ignore whatever they want?

*What is the best way to hand them over? Memory stick? CDs? DVD? Memory cards?

*I don’t want them to get overwhelmed. I think there will be at least 1600 pictures when I am done. I have been scanning them by opening those awful picture envelopes, writing the date and the relevant information on a card, scanning the card, and then the pictures. Therefore, right now what I have is a bunch of [(card) pic pic pic pic (card) pic pic pic pic] in an entirely random order, so we are talking about almost twenty years of pictures mixed up. Is there a way to automate putting them in order? Should I just stick them in folders by year? Should I have some sort of “Best of” folder? What the best way to group these pictures, while not having a million folders?

*Anything else I am not considering?
posted by jenlovesponies to Technology (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I did this with my folks last year. Since they are technologically disadvantaged, I also dumped them onto a digital photo frame for them, set to change photos every minute.
posted by mikeand1 at 7:04 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

I highly recommend the digital photo frame - nicer ones have a feature where you can just put the photos on a USB memory stick and plug it in directly, so it's really easy for technophobes to put different pictures on.

Quality ones are a bit pricey, though, especially if you have to get two.
posted by muddgirl at 7:08 PM on December 15, 2010

If you could add meta-data to them, that would be really useful when it comes to sorting. Granted this will be even more time-consuming and you've already undertaken quite a lot, but something attached to each that contains info on subject(s), place, date, that sort of thing, will allow filtering after-the-fact. That way maybe you wouldn't have to worry quite so much about what is wanted by whom.

Presentation-wise, a web site could be cool. Something like Zenphoto or Gallery would allow easy viewing. Of course you'll have to buy a domain and hosting and set it up, but that's not too hard, really. Some hosts will even install stuff like that for you.
posted by fartknocker at 7:10 PM on December 15, 2010

You could put them all on PicasaWeb for free, then give each parent a USB drive for archive, sharing purposes.
posted by COD at 7:13 PM on December 15, 2010

Dude (I can use that when talking to girls too, no?), I am doing the same thing! Same scanner and all! I don't have the complication of the split up, but I have some suggestions for the other problems.

* Best way to hand them out: I guess it all depends on what they have access to. The safest thing is a DVD, I think, as one would be able to open it in any computer. If you have the time, you can print an album of a selection of pictures tailored to each parent. But posting things on the Web as well is something else you should consider ...

* Something else you can do is use Picasa to organize the pictures. It is free, cross platform, and does face recognition!!! This would greatly simplify organizing the pictures -- you can search for pictures of this and that person together, and so on. You can also make face movies, which is a great way to make your parents cry.

* If you create a special account on Picasa Web, you can upload all the pictures and give the link to your parents along with the DVD (or whatever media you use to package it). This way they can browse it on the interwebs, and search the people whose faces have been recognized, and so on.

* If you place it on the web, and you add metadata to the files (faces recognized in the picture, year, etc), you won't have to worry about how to organize them into folders, and it would be still possible to search images according to these criteria.

* If you are on OSX, you can use ShootShifter to more easily sort the images chronologically, as well as change the date of the scanned images.

It is a lot of work, but in the long run it has many advantages over hardcopies.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 7:17 PM on December 15, 2010

Response by poster: I gave my dad a digital frame last year. The one issue with a digital frame is that I am digitizing photos they may want access to, at some point, that they wouldn't necessarily want on display/ on the internet. (People they haven't seen in a decade, baby in the bath photos, photos they might want that aren't flattering, crowd shots, whatev). Even if I give my mom a frame, I think she would only want a small portion of the photos flashing. I still want to give her access to those non-display pictures too.
posted by jenlovesponies at 7:21 PM on December 15, 2010

Just because you post the pictures on the web, it does not mean everyone can access it. I am not sure about Picasa, but with flickr you can make everything private and then give links to family members (I would assume Picasa also lets you do that). If might be able to do this on a picture by picture basis as well.

The web thing is not essential, but it does avoid a lot of the issues you were talking about -- how to organize the pictures (in my case, for most pictures the date is not obvious, so that also makes it harder to organize my something as straightforward as the year).
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 7:33 PM on December 15, 2010

You can keep you gallery "unlisted" in Picasa and share a special link with different people (scroll down to "Share your Unlisted Gallery")

You can even revoke this link, if you want.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 7:48 PM on December 15, 2010

Or you could do both: make 2 "best of" collections (consider a book ) and put all 1600 on two USB drives. If they don't like certain ones, let _them_ sort them out - the gift from you is the time you've spent putting this together. It's like a book I just bought "The Complete Photographer" - I don't like all of the photos, but then, of any collection out there, who does? In any case, it's not common. Don't worry about it. They'll appreciate your gift either way, and won't blame you for giving them photos of them as a couple; after all, isn't that how you mostly remember them?
posted by DisreputableDog at 3:34 AM on December 16, 2010

I bet they would each love a book! You could customize the book to each parent. You could even do a couple different "volumes" (separated by event, theme, etc).

Then also give them on disc and online for backup.
posted by radioamy at 8:53 AM on December 16, 2010

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