• Helen Gregory

Make your photos count

It’s not a very cheerful thought, but as the old saying goes, there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. While taxes are unavoidable and frankly, no fun, making sure you’ve drafted a will, got your finances in order, and sorted out your belongings is a positive way to face the inevitable.

You’ll probably want to make life a bit easier for your children and grandchildren, so why not start by sorting out your old photographs? If your boxes of loose, uncaptioned prints are too overwhelming, when you’re no longer around, they’re at risk of being dumped in an attic at best, or just dumped.

Sorting through your old photographs to keep only those that bring comfort and joy is a truly worthwhile task. Don’t feel guilty about culling those you don’t want; if they don’t mean much to you, they probably won’t mean anything to your children and grandchildren.

You could put them in a timeline, starting from birth to present day, or in themes, such as birthdays, holidays or childhood milestones, labelling each on the back with names and dates if possible. Don’t assume others will know who people are, even those close family members, as your children might only end up looking at them some time in the distant future.

Apply the same method to more recent digital photos on your phone or tablet; caption them and put them in labelled folders on a memory stick.

Ditch blurry pictures, duplicates and landscapes, and hold on to only those that have meaning, testify to your memorable experiences, or make you smile.

Once you’ve had the satisfaction of doing this, why not go a step further and generate some stories from your photos, so you can leave both a visual and narrative history to your children - a gift from the past for the future. This might seem like a lot of work, but consider what value these photos will hold if your family doesn’t even know what they represent? (Answer: very little.) Instead, what value will they hold if you share not only the vital details, but also the stories behind them? (Priceless.) A life story book is the perfect place for both.

Don't forget to date and caption each photo