Too Many Photos?
Most people have their photography in either one of 2 formats; the paper kind randomly stored in shoeboxes and plastic bins and/or the digital ones that we take with reckless abandon. As a result, too many photos are scattered across hard drives, duplicated, mismatched, poorly named and utterly disorganized. It may be time to put some of those memories in order.
Some purposeful planning and a few hours of getting your current photos into the right files will be a rewarding activity on a rainy day.
Digital Photo Organization:
- Frequency – Download at least once a month from your camera and/or phone to your computer into a photo management program or into the cloud. (in case of loss or theft)
- Delete – Discard the duplicates and poor-quality shots. Be scrupulous and diligent. Not every photo is precious. Good photos amongst bad ones won’t stand out.
- Quick Fixes – Try your photo program’s one-click editing tool, such as Picasa’s “I Feel Lucky” button or iPhoto’s “Enhance” feature.
- Make Folders – According to chronological order or a theme or a combination of the two. Create themed subfolders such as vacation, parties, friends; key words that work for you.
- Back it up – Immediately save shots to an external drive, an online or storage service.
- Storage – If you go with an online service, look for one that focuses on storage. Those that offer printing often charge for downloading a photo and reduce its resolution.
- Albums – One of the best backup methods is a photo album or book that can be ordered on line.
- Get Organized – Delete the photos on the camera or phone once they are organized and secure. You’ll avoid downloading duplicates the next time.
Printed Photo Organization
- Supplies – Invest in a large set of matching photo albums and photo boxes. This will make it easy to organize your photos over the years.
- Write it down – Record an identifying description, such as the date or who’s in the photo, on the back of each photo. Use an acid-free, photo-safe pencil or pen.
- Toss Them – Don’t keep bad exposures, blurry shots, or bloopers. Throw away any photos you’d rather not remember.
- Identify – Label each envelope with dates and any other identifying description. Transfer prints less to less bulky acid-free envelopes.
- Create categories – Use broad categories that are easy to remember; i.e. Family events, Travel holidays, Birthday/Parties. Use keywords to jog your memory and a ratings system to highlight your best shots.
- Boxes – Use photo boxes to create a filing system, and don’t forget to LABEL them with an identifying word or date.
- Temperature Control – Avoid storing photos in basements or attics, where temperatures and humidity fluctuate.
- Damage Control – Avoid paper clips, rubber bands and glue unless specifically designed as safe for photos. Use acid-free plastic pages, bags and boxes to avoid long-term damage.