July 21


Number Four: Imagery

All about the imagery that you might use in your life story family history film or book.

Photos, films and slides are the main imagery that will make your life story family history film or book visually captivating. See in your mind’s eye a beautiful montage of images of your grandmother at the same time your grandmother’s life story is being told, maybe with her voice or yours. Your family will love watching that at the next family gathering or on their own phones. Imagine flipping open your family history book and seeing all your grandfather’s photos displayed in one place, right beside the narrative about his life. Now that’s bedtime story material!

The most at-risk and most precious form of these visuals are the old photographs that are down in the basement, up in the attic, or in a box somewhere. Likely there may be only a few people living who remember the names of the family members in those old photos. So the clock is ticking on showing those old photos to the family’s elders and identifying them. Do it now. Once those living relatives are gone, the people in the old photos become lost, unknown faces and there really is no way to identify them. Facial recognition technology has come a long way but it only recognizes similar faces. Somebody still needs to do the identifying. 

Photo albums are very useful for video interviews. The Fingertip Tour is a method whereby the album is placed on a table and the Storyteller uses their finger to point out people in those old photos and tell their stories. The camera films over that person's shoulder down at the photo album. This is an excellent method for cataloging who the characters are in the photos. Old 8 mm films and slides and even analog video footage like camcorder tapes are perfect fodder for family history films and also books. They just need to be digitized correctly. Your personal historian from Heirloom Films can advise you on how best to handle this.

Don't overlook the hutch in the dining room behind those glass doors. Often there are medals and trophies and ribbons and certificates and cherished family keepsakes stored there. The visuals that illustrate the stories can trigger new stories and they might even lead to related publicly available newspaper articles, newsletters, and historical documents and books. Even old love letters can make beautiful visuals either scanned and directly applied to the pages of a book or shown in a family history film with a voiceover and some heartfelt music.

If you’ve got old paper print photos or slides that you’d like to digitize we can give you a quote and then help you make something out of them.

Schedule a free Family History Zoom Consult with personal historian Cory Bretz.

About the author

Cory Bretz is a filmmaker and personal historian. He specializes in interviewing elders and helping families inspire their next generation with their life stories, family history, wisdom, blessings, and old photos. He can help you create your own life story family history film or storybook. Cory also loves producing fundraising and profile videos for non-profits and conscious corporations that help them do their good works.


digitize old photos, photo restoration, photo scanning services

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