What Story Does Your Picture Tell?

What Story Does Your Picture Tell?

All photographs have a story behind them; you just have to know what clues to look for. Photo Detective Maureen Taylor shares tips on finding the history in your images.

story photos pictures

You’ve got boxes and albums of pictures. Digital ones too. Each one represents a moment in time. Sometimes it’s an iconic image for a key family milestone such as a birth or death, but mostly our pictures represent what happened between those moments. Our goal to put a name with those faces is only part of the project.

Every picture tells a story.

What does your picture have to say?

It could be a lot more than you’d even considered. Start by answering the photo identification questions then sprinkle in social history. You’ll have a story to tell and pass on.

Format

Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and paper prints can tell you when an ancestor lived but also about them as people. Were they camera shy? How much did they spend for a picture?

Clothing

Were they conservative dressers or fashion conscious? Those details should be visible in their pictures. Perhaps they tried to keep up with the Jones’s even in tight times. Treat their outfits as artifacts of the past and find out the when, where, and why of their choices.

Place

Maybe they posed in an informal outdoor studio in front of a wrinkly sheet. Some families traveled miles to pose in a formal photographer’s studio. Snapshots captured our ancestors in their backyards. Their connection to place can help you put them in a time and town.

Provenance

Where did you get that picture? Trace it back to verify you’re in the right family tree, and then think about all the hands that touched that picture. It’s a legacy of family history in the form of a picture.

It doesn’t really matter where you start, just take time after you know their names to fit those pictures into your family tale. It will be worth it.


If the photographs in your collection are in need of some TLC, the Family Photo Rescue Kit has everything you need to revive them. Packed with six resources you need to fix your old photos, this is a must-have for anyone with a collection of family photos. Plus, with a value of $173.94, you save 71% when you bundle. Order yours today!


Ready to become a photo identification expert?

Family Photo Detective

Dating Old Photos Cheat Sheet (Download)

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