Day 30: 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Day 30: 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge

Monday, October 30, 2017

Day 30: 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge

Got a lot of photos? Do you want to be able to enjoy your pictures instead of having to search and search to find your favourites? Does the thought of tackling your photo collection seem so overwhelming that you keep putting it off? Me too!

That's why this month I'm hosting the 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge! Each day I'll share tips to help you declutter your photo collection so you can really treasure and enjoy all the best ones. And I'll share my progress as I declutter my photos along with you :)

Today I'm answering a question about viewing slides and negatives and then discussing the pros and cons of scanning slides or negatives vs. scanning printed photos.

Today's Photo Decluttering Tip - Viewing and Scanning Negatives and Slides

When you gathered all your photos at the beginning of this challenge, you may have wondered what to do with old slides. I haven't really talked about them yet in this series. And as you were decluttering your printed photos, you likely came across packages of negatives. I definitely did.

A reader, Suzzy, asked me about negatives in a comment earlier this month, and while I replied to her comment, I wanted to discuss this for the rest of you as well. Here's her question: 
"How do you sort through negatives? Mine are stored in one photo box and I KNOW there are some I want to reprint! How do I view them?"
Here's my response to her:
"Good question Suzzy! You can buy a viewer so you can see what's on each negative. Here's a fairly cheap option {affiliate links} or there are other kinds like this one where you slide the whole strip through. Another option would be to scan and then print the photos if you have the originals and a decent scanner. It depends on the condition of the negatives and the photos and how much time you want to spend searching through your negatives :) "
With a viewer you can sort through your negatives (or in many cases slides too) so you can make the decisions about what to keep and what to declutter. If you think you will want to scan from your negatives or slides, you may want to invest in a slide / negative scanner instead (in many of them you can view as well as scan).

If you have slides that you've never made printed photos from, you will likely want to view first so you can declutter the ones you don't want. Then you can scan the ones you want to digitize.

Scanning Slides or Negatives vs. Scanning Printed Photos

I've talked a lot this series about scanning printed photos, but if you have slides and negatives you may also want to consider scanning them instead. Scanning slides or negatives often actually produces a higher quality image than scanning from a printed photo.  Here's an article showing how much of a difference it can make scanning negatives vs. prints (the comments have some helpful but technical info as well). This post also gives several advantages and disadvantages of scanning negatives / slides or scanning prints.

The key is weighing out the time and money you want to spend scanning vs. the quality of the digital pictures you want to have. You may also want to factor in how much editing you want to do of the digital pictures after they are scanned. There is a wide variation in prices of slide and negative scanners {affiliate link}. The more expensive scanners give a higher quality scan or they scan more at a time.

If you're planning to print larger photos from your scans, then scanning from negatives or slides will likely be better. If you're just planning to share them online, scans from a printed photo may be fine.

Of course all this depends on the condition of the slides or negatives (how they've been stored, if they're dusty, if they have scratches, etc.). It also depends on the quality of your scanning devices. And it depends on the quality of your printed photos. If they deterioriated at all from being in a sticky photo album, that will affect the quality of your scan.

If you have the option to try a few different ways, do that and see which makes the most sense for your photo collection and your time.

Of course, just as with scanning printed photos, you can also send your slides or negatives out to a scanning service. The cost for scanning slides and negatives is generally higher than scanning printed photos, but that may be worth it for you if you want higher quality images.

For me, I've decluttered most of my negatives. I'm planning to scan my printed photos and then create photobooks with them. I'm not intending to print any of them in a large size so I'm not super concerned about the quality of the scans. For me, the time and cost of scanning negatives instead of printed photos isn't worth what I'd gain by doing that.

The one exception is my wedding album. I got married before the age of digital pictures so my wedding album is a big giant album of 4x6 photos, along with tons of strips of negatives. I've never had a digital copy of my wedding pictures and if anything ever happened to that album I'd be scrambling to get copies of pics from friends and family. But I'd never fully recover all of them. So a friend of mine has been scanning my negatives for me.  I'm so excited that I will finally have a digital copy of all my photos that I can do a 3-2-1 backup of and know they are safe. And I will have high quality scans to create a wedding photobook. Can't wait :)

My Photo Decluttering Progress

Plugging along with my digital photos. I've been focusing on 2017 photos and then will work backwards over time. I'm up to this summer. Today I decluttered 123 pictures, which was 62% of the photos I went through. I'm finding overall that it's easier to declutter digital pictures than printed photos. Mostly because I think I just have SO many more of them, and so many similar shots. 

Your Turn!

Today your task is to weigh out the advantages and disadvantages of scanning your slides and/or negatives instead of scanning your printed pictures. Research different viewers and scanners as well as scanning services. Consider what you want to do with these photos once they are digitized. Then decide which option is best for you and your collection. 

If you'd like more decluttering ideas, you can check out my Decluttering/Purging Tips & Ideas board on Pinterest.

How are you doing in the 31 Day Photo Decluttering Challenge so far? How do you think today's tip will help you? What photos are you decluttering today? Are you planning to scan any slides or negatives? What's the craziest slide you came across?

Happy decluttering and organizing!

Here are the rest of the posts in this challenge: