Going through a divorce is a stressful experience and figuring out who gets the family photo collection can be a tough discussion. The good news is that joint custody can be achieved in our digital age.
A typical family photo/video collection will include:
The answer for most families involves scanning original photos, copying digital files and transferring movies/videos to digital format, thus making the photo and video collection shareable.
Here is my personal solution from when I divorced several years ago.
My ex-husband is a professional photographer, so we had a vast photo collection which I’m so grateful for, but we had too many photos (120 photo albums covering 17 years of our life together) to be able to enjoy. I went through each of the albums and pulled out a selection of 4x6 photos for each family member (my ex-husband, each of our daughters and myself) and I “released” the rest. Now we each have 3-4 shoe box size containers (acid free and archival quality) filled with photos.
I scanned my portion so I have it digitally captured for use and back-up if anything should ever happen to the original photos.
You may think it would be difficult to edit 17 years of photos, but with the following rules of thumb the job was very manageable.
The photos that were originally in digital form, I simply copied on to a hard drive so that my husband and I each have a copy of everything.
We also have family movies on VHS and DVD and I will eventually transfer those to digital format. We have quite a few videos, so I will start with just a sampling to enjoy and eventually transfer them all.
With our whole family photo collection now in digital form, I can make photo books if I choose, I can share them on a website or any other option for sharing digital photos. The best part is that our family’s story is backed up if anything should happen to the original printed. That’s peace of mind!
Bonus Idea: Splitting up a family is an emotional and difficult process. To help through the difficult part of our daughters splitting their time between two homes, I made a point of hanging photos in my new house of not only my side of the family but also my husband’s childhood photos and extended family photos. Just because we divorced, doesn’t cancel out our entire familial relationship and history and our kids ought to have their whole family represented in their home.
Bonnie Hillman Shay is a Professional Organizer in the Chicago area. She is wired to organize and is grateful that by lending her strengths to her clients, she makes a difference in their lives. She gets her clients unstuck and back to doing what they want to be doing and following their passions (which typically don’t include organizing).
One of her niches is Photo Organizing as she and her ex-husband had a photography business together for 23 years. She loves telling people’s stories through photos and getting them back to sharing and enjoying their photos instead of being stuck and overwhelmed. Of course having gone through a divorce herself, she understands firsthand the associated challenges including the family’s photo collection. You can find more information on her website at www.MariposaCreativeSolutions.com.