You've written your narrative, and now you're ready to choose what photos you want to go with it. But how do you choose the gems from the stacks and boxes of slides, photos, and documents? Here are a few things to consider:
1. Does this photo fit the purpose and scope of my book? If you are writing a limited scope book about your war experiences, you may want to include one or two pertinent pictures from your childhood, but probably not twenty. If you are writing your own life story, you may want to do a separate volume on your ancestors rather than trying to include them all in your book.
2. Does this photo include people? Photos with people, even if technically inferior, are so much more interesting to most human beings than landscapes alone. If you have a choice between a photo of the Tower of London by itself or your Aunt Alice standing in front of the Tower of London, use the latter.
3. Does it show personality? We don't always have a choice -- sometimes you only have one photo. But if you have multiples to choose from, choose the one that captures your mother's lopsided smile or your grandfather's playful nature.
4. Don't be deterred by a poor-quality photo. You can improve a faded or scratched photo fairly easily using automatic correction tools in your scanner driver or photo-editing tools like Photoshop. If a print is severely damaged, you can have it digitally restored for a small fee. However, beware of pulling a low-res photo off the internet; they will look much worse in print than on your screen. Get a high-resolution (300 ppi or greater) scan from an original whenever possible. (See this post for scanning tips.) If the downloaded photo is all you have, keep it small on the page for best results.
5. Don't forget letters, postcards, and other documents that can add visual and historical interest. (See this post for tips on adding documents to your history.)
6. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, does it have emotional impact? Again, you don't always have a choice. But if you do, go for emotional value over photographic excellence.