It's a Great Time to Go Through Old Photos—How to Print, Share, and Display Them

Time to break out those awkward family photos! 

family photos
Photo: Andrew Bret Wallis/Getty Images

As much of the country stays indoors during the coronavirus crisis, many people are taking this opportunity to dig through family photos. Whether you're stuck inside with your kids, are currently crashing at your parents' house, or are quarantining solo, there's never been a better time to break out the baby books, sort through boxes of old family photos, or even just scroll through the endless photos on your phone's camera roll. Now's the time to share, print, and start displaying some of your favorites, letting the ideas below spark some inspiration. And if you've ever said to yourself: I'm going to digitize all of these old photos one day, it might finally be time to fulfill that promise.

How to (privately) share photos with friends and family.

As we're busy social distancing, most of us are craving a little more human connection. Bonding over shared memories and cherished photos is a great way to get the conversation started. But how can you do that without texting individual people or sharing it all on social media?

If you and your family members tend to use Gmail and other Google products, consider setting up a shared album on Google Photos. All you have to do is add all of the photos to the album, and then invite your entire family to view them via an email link. From there, they can like or comment on each picture to get the convo going.

There are also plenty of apps dedicated to private photo sharing. Many of them are geared towards new moms who want to share baby pics, but there's no reason they can't also work for families and groups of friends. Check out tinybeans and 23snaps.

Digitize old photos.

Use your phone: If your family has a box (or 50 boxes) of paper photos, it's a smart idea to digitize them so you don't have to worry about them getting damaged and lost forever. To do this, you have a few options. If you have a smart phone with a high-quality camera, you can use the GoogleScan app to digitize them. Each photo can be directly uploaded to Google Photos, making them even easier to share.

Buy a scanner: Or, invest in an at-home photo scanner, which lets you restore photos that have lost color and can accommodate bulky items, such as books or photo albums.

Leave it to the pros: If you have hundreds (or thousands) of photos and would prefer to not do the tedious scanning yourself, leave the work to the amazing team at, which is continuing to operate throughout the coronavirus crisis. They note that there may be delays and they are waiting to send back paper photos in order to reduce the burden on USPS couriers.

Finally print out your favorites.

If you've been meaning to print out some favorite snaps from the thousands of photos on your phone's camera roll, now's the time to actually do it. Sites like Shutterfly and Snapfish let you order prints online with just a few clicks and have them delivered to your door—so you don't have to step foot in a store.

Make a photo book or calendar (or mug or pillow).

If you're debating what to get for gifts for upcoming birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, or fall weddings, try turning some favorite photos into items the lucky recipient will want to live with. Artifact Uprising can help you create a high-quality custom photo book for your anniversary or a personalized calendar for your friend's birthday.

I've also ordered Shutterfly's photo mugs before, and whether adorned with serious or silly photos, they're always a hit. Or how about turning photos of your loved one's pet into an adorable pillow?

Turn them into wall art.

To transform beloved memories into wall art, check out the selection of frames (including stylish floating frames) at Artifact Uprising. And if you have tons of great shots on your Instagram feed you'd love to bring to life, consider ordering a gallery wall of prints from Mixtiles.

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