The following post is from Cathi Nelson of Personal Photo Organizer:
Today I drove home from my job as a photo organizer with a smile on my face, a surprising emotion since this particular client often leaves me feeling sad and heavy. I have been working with Beth for 6 months now; after she contacted me on the advice of her grief counselor.
Four years ago Beth’s husband died suddenly of a heart attack. Then six months later, her only child was killed in an automobile accident. He was 26, newly engaged, and on the cusp of life. She had lost everything. And after four years of grieving, she was ready to sort through a lifetime of memories; including photos, letters, and childhood artwork.
In our first meeting I just sat and listened, we didn’t open a box or look at a photo. Instead she told me about two lives, one cut short and the other, a life well lived.
As she spoke I made a comment, “It sounds like they both lived large lives”.
“I like that”, she said.
And from then on, we decided to sort the photos with that theme in mind.
Organize Photos by Theme
This is something I often help my clients with when organizing their photos. We take photos to tell the story of our lives and if we worry about the chronological timing, it can overwhelm us. How often have you looked at a photo and worried that you can’t remember if your child was in second or third grade; when what really matters is the story behind the photo?
Here is a suggestion, organize your photos into categories that reflect a story. Do you often vacation at the beach? Then make a box or photo album that says, “We Love the Beach”. Are your kids into sports? Then make an album entitled, “We Love to Compete”.
Why do we take photos?
Working with Beth confirmed for me WHY we take photos — it’s the story of a person’s life that we don’t want to forget.
Taking photos is how we capture those memories, but too often we just end up with thousands of photos on our computer or in drawers and boxes. So shifting how you organize to “themes” is a great way to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed by thousands of photos.
And the reason I was smiling…Beth had met someone and shared a few dates! He was also widowed and she was excited to share the book we created with him. She felt like she was able to share a part of herself through the stories and photos wrapped around a theme of, They Lived Large Lives. Even at 70, she had a twinkle in her eye and is going on another date this weekend.
THAT made me smile!
Why do YOU take photos?
Cathi Nelson is the founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers and her own company, PhotoSimplified. She loves stories, photos, and her family.