Worth repeating (again): How not to label a photo

10 March 2020

I originally wrote this post in 2013 and it’s just as relevant now in 2020 as it was then. Labels are so important in general, but on photos, they’re essential. Even if you’re working with digital, not printed, photos, creating good labels (in the metadata) is a good practice. If you take the time to label your photos well, they’ll be much more valuable for generations to come.

I blogged over at Organize Your Family History about the importance of labeling photos while the information is fresh in your mind. It’s also important to make the labels meaningful.

While I was going through a box of old (very old) family photos with my mother on my recent visit to Walla Walla, we came across this one, whose label made me laugh.

A great example of how not to label a photo!

In the absence of a date, that’s a meaningless label. Well, virtually meaningless. At the very least, we know this photo is about 95 years old, since my mother inherited it after her mother died in 1999. And let’s not even talk about the fact that the label doesn’t mention who is in the photo!

Now that we’re printing out fewer and fewer photos, remember that you can label digital photos as well, using metadata. That’s a little easier said than done as this blog post from the Library of Congress discusses, but worth the effort.

When it comes to archiving your own photos, I urge you to think of the next generations who will be looking at them. That means consider getting rid of duplicates and bad shots and labeling those that you deem worth keeping and passing on! Great labels include the names of the people in the photos and where and when it was shot. If it’s a special occasion, that’s nice to mention too!

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About Janine

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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