Monday, May 16, 2011

Holz Photos - Please Sound Off On This One

When I started this blog, with my first (and most boring) post (from the experience, I told myself I would never blog again. HaHa!), I was scanning the photos from my maternal grandfather's family to burn to discs for my family.  It was a very long process, and I don't know if any of them even look at them.

I am now working on my mom's mom's side--the Holz's.  My mom kept many photos.  I only plan on giving these to those who really want them.

My great grandparents:  William and Dorothea (Kluever) Holz - 1887

As I started scanning this morning, there were a number of things on my mind.  First, I felt the joy again of becoming familiar with the names and faces of those who paved the way for me.  I feel an amazing amount of gratitude for these people I've never met but whose genetic code I carry.  Second, I felt close to my mom.  I appreciated her painstaking work in gathering the information and photos of these people. 

I have to be honest that my next feelings weren't as great.  I found that this scanner takes MUCH longer than the old one did while I was doing the Stegner photos.  I have to manipulate the photos much more.  #7's taking her nap, so that's wonderful that she'll still do that, but I'm supposed to be studying.  I started to think...I want these to be available to anyone who wants them.  I think that's what my mom would want too.  I know she frequently photocopied these same pictures to send to people back in the day before scanners and email and compact discs.  I know she went out of her way to share her family with anyone who asked.

As I think ahead to the discs and cases and labels, and the time this takes away from other things I need to be doing, I'm wondering, is it wrong and selfish of me to put a price on this project?  I don't want to do that to my family.  If there are people who really want them, they should have them, shouldn't they?  But, then again, what is my time and effort worth?  Am I really just being selfish?

Please, I'd love to know your opinion.


Krazy Knaupps said...

Julie, This is a topic dear to my heart. I've spent a lot of time working on similar heritage projects. They are WORTH it! But, it doesn't mean all the family or the majority will appreciate your work right now. But chances are, they will be extremely appreciative at some point. Sometimes it's just not on the radar for all the family members. Right now, it's on your radar and there's a reason for it. You're being inspired to do it and it will bless future generations - so keep it up! As long as you can squeeze in the time to do it among your other important responsibilities! I am SO thankful some of my extended family scanned a bunch of our photos, but I wasn't thankful until years afterward -once it got on my radar.

vaxhacker said...

I think something like that can be really valuable to other family members, but hopefully it's a no-brainer to realize that nothing like that just comes magically into existence for free. If it were me (once my wife reminded me a few times that it was going to take longer than I had spare time to "just do" for everyone), I would go to the family and offer the following:

1. I have a treasure trove of old family photos I believe people would value.

2. I found a company which will professionally scan and organize them and make them available for everyone on DVD (or whatever), but that will cost $xxx, or $xx per family.

3. If that isn't possible or desirable, I'm willing to go to the work to do that for the family, but that would take a lot of time. I can budget X hours a week, which means I can get the project finished in X months, with a cost for materials and equipment required of only $X for each family.

So depending on what people value more, lower cost or getting them anytime soon, you can proceed and not hurt your immediate family commitments.

Mew Lindsey said...

Have you thought about just uploading them to a picture sharing website like Picasa? That way, you can just send the link to the whole fam and let them take it from there. That way, no cost to you at all and those who are really interested, can access them and copy, print etc as they like.

Josh Alder said...

Julie -- I actually had all of my mission pictures professionally scanned last year by ScanCafe, and they did an excellent job. I just boxed them up, slapped on the UPS label they gave me and they were off. A few weeks later, they sent me a login code to preview all of the pictures. Per their policy, I could reject up to 50% of the scans, and only pay for the ones I wanted to keep (I kept about 95% of them, omitting the blurry and unusable ones).

My suggestion would be to present this option to your family members and ask them if they would like to share the cost. The truth of the matter is that a professional scanning company can do this job much faster and much more efficiently than one person could ever do at home.

In my case, I decided that this year I would have my mom and dad (who are divorced) collect the various negatives and prints sans negatives, which I will then have scanned. Then, as a Christmas gift to them, my three sisters, my grandparents and myself, I will pay to have all those memories digitally preserved. I'm actually pretty excited about it.

Yes, it does cost money to get your negatives and/or photos scanned, but I think the saved opportunity costs (time, effort, stress, editing, color correction, etc) justify the price. I don't think I would have ever finished my mission photos had I tried to do them by myself. Now, for a few hundred dollars, they've preserved (and backed up!!) for posterity.

Jef said...


As a professional photographer, I would agree with Josh. With one exception ... you have a build-in work force in your home. Offer your kids reimbursement for doing the scan work. That way all you have to do is color correct.
Also, without knowing what scanner you're using, I can't get into too many specifics, but you may need to adjust some settings to reduce the quality of the images so that they scan faster. If you're only using them for the web, you only need to scan at 72dpi. If you plan on printing them at original size or smaller than you only need 150dpi. If you plan on getting enlargements then you need to scan them so that the finished size at which you want to print has a finished resolution of 150dpi. (i.e. a 5x7 original that you want to print at 10x14 would need to be scanned at 300dpi to allow the printed size to be 150dpi. Take a look at your scan settings to be sure you're not scanning at an unnecessary resolution, it may save you some time.

If you have questions, you can email me at

Lia London, author said...

Wow, you've gotten a lot of great ideas on this. Any of them would be good. In determining which route to go, I'd verify who in the family wants this kind of project NOW, and guess at which ones might want it in the future. It's true that this isn't something that everyone will get excited about, or that everyone would understand the work involved.

A possible option would be to create two versions--An abbreviated "Very Best Shots" kind of thing for more general distribution, and then a more detailed version for those who express greater interest and/or are willing to reimburse some/all of the cost.

LeAnn said...

I think that you are doing an awesome service and your mother would be happy you are doing this. I completed my parents histories before my mother passed away. She wrote most of her own history, I know how long it takes to scan pictures; but the smile on her face as I read it to her and showed it to her was priceless. I am now working on my Aunt Della's history. She is 97 years old and I need to get it completed before she goes; but I am not motivated because it is so much work; so I know how that feels too.
Blessings to you for all that you do! I loved your post!!

Janiece said...

I have been doing the same thing for about a year now. To be honest they are for ME, and if someone asks for a copy I send it in an email and they can print them.
My aunt bless her heart sends me pictures every now and again, I am so greatful for them. One of the only pictures I have of my mom and me together when I was little is from her, along with my maternal grandmother.
and that is why it is 2am and I am still up :O)

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