School Pictures: Archived and Shared for History

So Many School Pictures, What should I do with all of them?

There are so many school pictures in our boxes of “stuff”.  I love all the pictures of my children.  I love the ones of my siblings too, though I can’t say as much for mine.  We all changed so much back then.  And in some cases, isn’t change a good thing?  None of us want a framed picture from every year of our children’s life hanging on the wall or even if we do there would be a lot of wall space and frames involved.  Especially if you have 4 or 5 kids.  If I framed all the school pictures I have found so far there would be more than 150 of them.  That includes my kids, myself, my siblings, and my mother.  I still have more school pictures of my husband, his brother, and all my nieces and nephews.  Framing all that and hanging it on the wall just isn’t feasible, nor do I really want to look at them everyday.  I could always buy some of those photo mats that have room for the little exchange size photo for every year, but you can’t really see a school picture that size unless you can actually walk right up to it and look at it on eye level.  I usually just keep the most recent photos in my 8×10 frames and a few other special photos in frames. (weddings and such.)  I have decided to do a 2 page scrapbook layout for each of us that includes all of the school pictures, then do a layout with a senior picture and any other graduation pictures, announcements, or other graduation memorabilia.   Whether that layout is 1 or 2 pages will be determined by how much “stuff” there is pertaining to one’s graduation.

How to organize for School Picture Layouts

    1. Go back to those files we put together back when we first started rescuing our heirlooms Find the files you have on an individual that would include the age of their school pictures.  In my files that would be each school year for my children while for my parents it is one file of the school years together.

    2. Pull out all the school pictures and try to organize them by age (youngest to oldest or vice-versa). Some clues to look for are in the teeth.  Usually, but not always, a child will lose the bottom front teeth first and then the top.  This starts around 6 years of age.  Look at the teeth and decide if the top front are new teeth.  Is there a little jagged edge on the bottom of the tooth (kind of serrated looking).  Is a front tooth larger than in another picture or is there a picture where the tooth is missing.  A baby tooth is usually a little more square and small while an adult tooth is longer and sometimes has the little jags on the edge that came through the gum.  Eventually the jagged edges wear down.  Another way to help date your child’s photos is if you can remember the outfit they are wearing.  Some of my children wore each others hand me downs and I am able to remember the size or the age of the children when they wore it.  If you have more that one child in the same school, as I did it is helpful to compare the backgrounds in the photos.  Like back grounds are usually from the same year.  Notice how baby faced the child is, a cute little rounded nose and cheeks is usually characteristic of a younger child.  More angular features would be an older child.  Early teens look somewhat gawky and sometimes a nose will appear too large for the face.  (Thank goodness we grow out of that phase or at least we improve!)  If you are really lucky someone, or maybe even you, will have actually put dates on the photos!

      School picturesThis layout was made using LumaPix Fotofusion.  I now have access to a lot more papers and embellishments, and I use Photo Shop.  I’m just too lazy to redo all my old layouts.  Now that I have learned more I think I will go back and do some color correction, though.  Like I said, if we are fortunate we grew out of our awkward phase. Yes, these pictures are me.  My dear sweet daughter took one look at them and said “Wow, Mom, it sure is a good thing you got better looking, or I have a feeling I wouldn’t be here!”. I said “Thank you, sweet heart.”  The photographer actually holds the copyright for their photos.  I have no idea who the photographer was back then and there is nothing on the photos to indicate.  I guess if some photographer from that long ago wants to prove he took these photos I will take them down.  If your photos are more recent you might should  pay attention to the copyright.  The photographer who did my children’s school pictures actually sold the pictures digitally on a disk to do with as I pleased.  These aren’t the most creative layouts I have ever made.  I decided to go with 1 page for the school years for all us more recent generations.  It would just be too many pages otherwise.  As I have gone with an 8.5×11 family history album, the pictures are pretty tight on there, but it can be done.

    3. Scan the largest pictures that you have at 300 dpi or ppi.  (Dots per inch or pixels per inch.)  Printers usually print a series of dots to form images.  The dots are also referred to as pixels.  The human eye cannot distinguish the individual dots if they are close enough together.  You will need to have 300 dots or pixels per inch if you wish to print a photo.  If you are only going to share the photos online or on a monitor you only need 72 pixels or dots per inch, but we will want to have the option of printing these layouts if we want to.  You can always cut the pixels back in a photo editing program, but if you try to add pixels to a photo for printing the program will be guessing as to what the missing pixels should be by the pixel next to it and you will lose clarity. If you don’t have large pictures and scan small ones they will look fine printed in the small size and they can be enlarged some, but once again you will lose more clarity the larger you go as the computer guesses what the pixels should be.  So It is best to start large and go smaller later if you wish.  Always save your good high pixel image as a separate file if you cut back on pixels.  Do Not Lose Your Good High Quality Image.
    4. After you have scan each photo save it to your hard drive or cd or whatever you are using to store your digital images.

After I have scanned all the pictures and made sure I have them all saved and backed up I will give the originals to the person in the picture, if they are still living.  That will help cut down on clutter in my own files.  As long as I have them archived for my family history album I don’t particularly care what becomes of the originals.  I will continue to store the originals of my parents and others who are no longer here to take care of them themselves.

If you are unsure how to make a digital scrapbook layout with the photos you have scanned there are excellent tutorials on this subject at Hummies World.

Some of the basic tutorials are free and there are many more informative and useful tutorials available on the site for a small monthly fee.  I think it is around $5.00 a month. I find it worth the small investment.  If I had found the site years ago I would have accomplished so much more.  Trial and error is a slow process!   They are great tutorials and I have learned a lot!

Sharon's school pictures Sharon's school pictures 2

School Pictures of Sharon Mary Delano Keigley 1942-2008

This 2 page layout of my mother was made with LumaPix Fotofusion, also.  I put them together in honor of her birthday, May 6, 1942.

Happy Birthday Mom!

I sometimes use special days to help motivate me in my family history endeavors.  I’m shooting to get baby layouts done for my family so that I can post them on our family website for their birthdays.

In the above layout you can see the loss of clarity in some of the photos such as 1947.  It is actually cropped out of a group photo and was very tiny.  It’s really not bad considering what I started with.

 Happy Scrappin’!

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