How to organise old photos? Capture Teaches You 3 Key Preservation Methods, Prohibition, and Minimalism Tips!

8 January 2024 by
Anna Lam

Organising old photos allows us to better preserve and pass on these precious memories. However, when faced with a large collection of old photos, we often need help figuring out where to start. In this article, Capture will share methods for organising and storing old photos, along with some practical tips for handling photos and embracing minimalism. These methods will help you effectively categorise and preserve these precious memories.

Why Organise Old Photos?

old photos

Old photos are evidence of our cherished memories, carrying important moments and emotional value from the past. Organising old photos is not only a fun and challenging process, but it also allows us to revisit the past and relive those beautiful moments.

Old photos are part of our family history and stories. By organising old photos, we can preserve these important memories and pass them on to future generations. This helps them gain a deeper understanding of their family background and roots, which has a significant impact on their identity and awareness.

Additionally, organising old photos allows for easy sharing of these memories. You can review and share them with family and friends, sparking shared memories and deepening emotional connections. With the prevalence of social media, it's easier than ever to share these precious moments with a wider audience and engage in conversations about those special times.

Organising old photos is not just about preserving memories, but also about protecting these precious photos. Long-term storage can lead to damage or loss of old photos. By organising them, we can effectively protect these photos and ensure their long-term preservation.

Steps for Organising Old Photos:

Now, let's take a look at how to organise old photos. Here are three main steps: 

1. Collect and categorise

Start by gathering all your old photos, including those scattered around the house, in albums, and photo boxes. This can be an exciting adventure as you may discover some forgotten treasures.

Once you have collected all your old photos, it's time to categorise them. Create broad categories based on themes or periods, such as family vacations, birthdays, weddings, or specific years. This will help you easily locate and browse through specific sets of photos.

2. Remove duplicate and blurry photos

blurry photos

When sorting through old photos, you may find that there are a lot of duplicates, or some that were poorly shot, blurry, or of poor quality.  This is a good opportunity to weed out the unnecessary photos and keep only the most exciting and meaningful ones.

You can use the culling method to go through each photo one at a time, picking out the best versions and setting aside others that are duplicates, blurry, or of poor quality. This not only saves storage space, but also makes your photo collection more refined and valuable.

3. Store properly

Finally, It’s all about preserving these precious photos appropriately. You can choose to rearrange them into photo albums, arranged by category or chronologically, so you can flip through them at any time and reminisce about the good times.  You may also consider storing your photos in an electronic moisture-proof box to ensure their long-term preservation.

Another method is to digitise the photos. You can scan them yourself or send them to a professional photo digitisation company (such as Capture) to convert them into digital files for easy viewing and sharing on electronic devices.

Learn more about Capture's photo album scanning without touching a thing

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Methods for Preserving Old Photos

1. Creating photo albums

Organising old photos and creating photo albums is the most direct method of preservation. Photo albums effectively organise and showcase photos while also protecting them, allowing for easy viewing of cherished memories. Common types of photo albums include insert albums, self-adhesive albums, and scrapbook albums.

photo albums

Insert albums:

Simple and practical, these albums involve inserting photos into transparent pockets, ideal for those who want to quickly organise their photos.

Self-adhesive albums:

A more flexible option, these albums allow for free layout and showcasing of photo textures. Photos can be freely adhered using transparent film, and the layout can be adjusted according to personal preferences. Photos can also be repeatedly removed and reattached.

Scrapbook albums:

These albums provide blank pages where you can freely crop and arrange photos, as well as add decorations, text, or other creative elements to create a unique album.

Regardless of the type of album chosen, it is important to consider the album's material and storage environment. Albums can still age and discolour over time, and they can take up space, so proper storage should be considered. 

Photographs  Digitisation

2.  Photographs  Digitisation

Old photos are prone to aging, yellowing, and damage from the environment, so the best method is to digitise them for permanent preservation. Digitising photos ensures their integrity and allows for easy browsing and sharing. 

Capture HK's photo album digitisation service  uses exclusive digitisation technology to efficiently digitise each photo and videotape for you. The photo album digitisation process adopts a non-contact digitisation workflow, ensuring that photos are never taken out of or touched within your album. Photo files can be directly accessed and stored in Google Photos, making it easy to preserve and share cherished memories.

👉 Learn more about our Album Digitisation Service

 3. Storing photos in a dehumidifying cabinet

Another option is to store photos in a dehumidifying cabinet. These boxes provide proper temperature and humidity control to protect photos from moisture, UV rays, and other harmful substances.

However, dehumidifying cabinet requires regular maintenance and inspection to ensure proper functioning. You should follow the manufacturer's instructions and regularly replace desiccants or maintain the equipment to ensure they are always in optimal condition. Additionally, these boxes also take up space, so if there is limited indoor space, it is recommended to digitise and back up the photo albums to the cloud.

How to Organise Digitised Photos?​

You can store digitised photos on an external hard drive or upload them to cloud storage. Google Photos is a convenient tool that can help you organise and manage digital photos. Within Google Photos, you can create different albums and utilise an AI system to automatically classify media. Additionally, you can add tags, descriptions, and dates as additional information to easily search and review photos. Google Photos also offers cross-platform sharing features, making it easy to share photos with family and friends.

If you use Capture's photo digitisation service, we store photo files in Google Photos, allowing you to easily preserve and share precious memories. 

How to Store Physical ​Photos?

The most important aspect of storing physical photos is temperature controlling and moisture management. Old photos are highly sensitive to temperature, and high temperatures can lead to damage and curling. The optimal storage temperature is indoors, not exceeding 23°C, and avoiding exposure to extreme temperature changes.

Humidity is the enemy of old photos, as it can cause photos to stick together or develop mold. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the storage location for photos is dry. However, while insect and moisture prevention are important, do not place photos together with mothballs or desiccants, as they are acidic substances that may cause fading and yellowing of the photos.

How to dispose of old photos? Prohibition of cutting photos?

Finally, how should unwanted old photos be handled? Firstly, if the photos contain personal appearances, it is recommended to shred them to protect personal privacy and prevent misuse by others.

However, in traditional Chinese culture, cutting photos is considered inauspicious as it is believed to weaken the luck and longevity of the people in the photos. If you respect these customs and beliefs, it is best to avoid cutting photos and find alternative ways of handling them.

For a small number of old photos, you can manually tear them into small pieces. If you have a large number of old photos to dispose of, you may consider using a shredder. Shredders can cut photos into strips, ensuring that they cannot be recovered or utilised.


*This article is brought to you by Capture HK.

Capture HK is the premier analogue media digitisation company in Hong Kong.

Capture HK's business covers photographs, photo album, slide digitisation, videotapes digitisation, including VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, S-VHS-C Hi-8, Video8, Digital8, DV, DVCAM, MiniDV, DVC and digital media digitisation, including Secure Digital (SD), Smart Media (SM), MultiMediaCard (MMC) Compact Flash (CF), xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick, USB Drive, CDROM, DVD.

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