15 Brilliant Things to do With a Collection Of Old Photos

Many families will have a collection of old photos stacked away in cupboards, drawers, loft spaces, garages, and garden sheds!

Perhaps you have come across a collection of your old family photos and you are wondering just what to with them? Maybe you are looking for a way to keep them safe? Or, tempted to bin them perhaps?

We say do not bin them, there are plenty of reasons why these old photos should be kept from gathering dust or deteriorating over time.

  • Your old photographs can be used for many fun hobbies and projects and are a valuable source of information for family history research when building a family tree.
  • They can help you identify your ancestors, learn about their lives, see how they dressed, lived, worked, and much more!

Here we provide 15 fun, unique and special things to do with a collection of old photos. Rather than leaving them feeling neglected and unloved in the back of your cupboard.

See how 64Smiles can help you organise and share your photos beautifully and privately.

So next time you come across a stash of old photos, don’t throw them away!

Instead, see if you can find a way to use it to create something that you will cherish for years to come.

1. Organise and Sort Your Old Photos

You can make a start by sorting your old and vintage photos into categories such as people, events, or periods.

This will make it easier for you to manage and work with your photo collection.

You can sort out enough vintage family photos of family members long passed that will make for a fun research project to discover who they were, where they lived and what jobs they had.

See how to sort and organise your old photos here.

2. Digitise your Old Photographs

Digitise your old photos and negatives.

Digitising your old photographs makes them easier to share and work with.

Many of your oldest pictures may be fragile and deteriorating fast. By creating an electronic copy, you can preserve these images forever and prevent them from being lost to the ravages of time.

Digitalising your most precious vintage photos will make them:

  • Easy to share: Once your old photos are digitised, you can easily share them with others online or via email. This makes it easy to keep in touch with family and friends living far away or share your photos with a broader audience.
  • Easy to work with: Digitised photos can be easily edited and manipulated using photo editing software. This means you can fix any image problems, such as scratches, tears, or faded colours. You can crop, resize, rotate photos, and add text or other graphics.

3. Create a Photo Digital Archive

You can create a dedicated folder or online platform to store and organise your digitised photos.

Use subfolders or tags to categorise them based on themes or individuals depicted in the images.

Digitised photos can be easily stored on various devices, such as computers, hard drives, and cloud storage services. This makes it easy to back up your pictures and protect them from damage.

Creating a digital archive also makes your photos easy to access.

Digitised images can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This means you can look at your pictures from your phone, tablet, or computer, no matter where you are.

4. Share with Family Members

Share old photos with family members

Sharing old photos with family members can help foster connections in several ways.

First, it can help to trigger memories. When family members see pictures of themselves or their loved ones, it can bring back memories of those times. This can be a great way to start conversations and learn more about your family history.

Second, sharing these old photos can encourage collaboration. When family members view the same images, they can share their own memories and insights. This can help identify people and events in the photos and learn more about their history.

Read mote about how to share old family photos the easy way

5. Preserve the Original Photos

Warning, old photos deteriorate over time.

How you preserve and store them is key. Use acid-free archival sleeves or albums to protect them from fading for example.

Keep original pictures out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can damage vintage images. The ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight can cause the photos to fade and discolour. It is essential to store your pictures in a dark place out of direct sunlight.

It is essential to store your old printed photos in a place where the temperature is moderate and consistent.

Heat can cause the photos to warp and fade, while cold can cause them to become brittle. Excessive humidity can also damage vintage photos. The moisture in the air can cause the images to warp and develop mould, so you should avoid keeping them in a humid atmosphere.

Learn more about how to care, share and organise your old photos

6. Curate a Photo Exhibition

Online photo exhibition

You will undoubtedly come across a few standout vintage photos from your collection that are extra special.

So how do you showcase these?

You can use these particular photos to curate an exhibition in your home. Display your vintage in frames or create a photo wall that follows a timeline and tells a story.

You can create an exhibition in your home or at a family reunion. Work with a local community space or perhaps in cooperation with your local historical society. Agree a way to display them so that locals can view them easily,

You may be surprised just how interested people will be in looking at old photos of their area.

7. Create a Photo Book

A popular hobby these days is to compile a photo book using old vintage photos. Arrange your photos in chronological order or based on specific themes or events.

You can add captions, dates and anecdotes to provide more context and turn it into a cherished family keepsake.

8. Reenactment Using Old Photos

A fun way to use old family photographs is to recreate scenes or poses from vintage photos with your family members.

Dress up in similar clothing, visit the original locations where the pictures were taken, and capture new shots that pay homage to the past.

Great fun for the kids too!

9. Use Old Photos to Research and Document

Researching and gathering information about the people, places, and events in your vintage photos can be great fun. Making a digital family photo album or building a family tree can be an immersive and absorbing way to spend your free time.

As you conduct your research, you can document your findings, such as historical context or family stories, and attach this information to the images in your digital archive to make it easier to refer back to when needed.

10. Create a Family Photo Timeline

Use old photos to create a family timeline

A fun way to use your old photos is to create a visual family timeline. Learn more about how 64 Cousins makes this easy.

Once you have sorted and digitally scanned your vintage images, it can be easy to arrange them chronologically to depict the progression of generations and significant events in your family’s history.

Rather than creating an expansive family tree, a photo family timeline can make an incredible visual impact to liven up and add interest to a blank wall in your home.

11. Collaborate with Local Historical Societies

Many local towns and cities have historical societies or museums dedicated to preserving their local history. They would be welcome to have contributions from you of images that would enhance their exhibitions or would add valuable information to their historical archives.

12. Host a Family Gathering or Reunion

Show old photos to family

Planning a family get-together that draws relatives from near and far to share your old photos is an excellent way for your family members to reconnect and share stories and histories.

his can be a perfect opportunity to strengthen family bonds and pass on knowledge to younger generations.

13. Create a Family Documentary

Your vintage family photos can be used to create a documentary about your family history. You can combine these images with interviews, storytelling and recollections from older family members that the photos inspire.

14. Gift Personalised Photo Collages

You will always find a few hidden treasures in your family photo collection, so there could be nothing better than picking a few images to create personalised photo collages for your nearest and dearest family members.

You can buy a large collage photo frame and add pictures of long-passed family members who still hold an essential place in your heart that will also be important and highly missed by your gift recipients.

15. Create Art and Crafts from Old Photos

Create Art and Crafts from Old Photos

You may have multiple sets of family photographs that can be turned into fantastic art and craft projects. For example, you can use the photos to make:

  • Collages. Collages are a great way to combine different images and materials to create new and unique artwork. You can use vintage photos as the main focus of your collage, or you can use them to add interest and detail to a larger collage.
  • Scrapbooks. Scrapbooks are a great way to preserve memories and tell stories through images and text. You can use vintage photos to create a scrapbook of your family history, or you can use them to create a scrapbook of your memories.
  • Mixed-media artwork. Mixed-media artwork is a type of art that uses a variety of different materials, including vintage photos. You can use vintage images to create mixed-media paintings, collages, sculptures, and more.


Your old family photographs can be a valuable historical record to help you learn about who came before you. But they can also be a wonderful inspiration for many sentimental gifts, arts and crafts projects.

Preserving your family history and treasured memories in unique and exciting ways is essential. By using our suggestions above, you will be helping to ensure they will live on and be enjoyed by future generations.

Create Your Photo Family Tree With 64Smiles

64 cousins share old family photos privately

The 64Smiles platform makes it really easy to organise your old photos beautifully.

Not only is 64Smiles a great way to share old photos, it is designed with a unique twist. It offers an interactive photo family tree structure to bring any family’s rich history to life. While not designed as an ancestry tool, it certainly brings an exciting way to see ancestors and relatives brought to life in visual form.

Old family photos previously collecting dust or lost in albums can see the light of day and be viewed by descendants and younger generations to come.

Get started for free today.

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