Since we have interviewed Lisa Kurtz, Photo Organizing Specialist, and since I (Tracy) have started organizing my own digital photos I have learned a LOT. It’s been an emotional roller coaster trying to actually DO it on my own. Finding the time to work on it is challenging, too.
But, let me tell you how great it is to be making progress! I’ve already been able to search for a photo I needed by typing in key words: pig face. Within 5 seconds I found the picture I needed – #3 here. 🙂 That is rewarding. Before starting to organize my pictures it would’ve taken me 15 minutes searching through each folder and looking at every photo to find the picture I needed!
Most of these 10 tips come directly from our interview with Lisa. PLEASE listen to this 2-part interview, take notes and then use these tips to get your photos organized.
Take baby steps. I’m taking baby steps. Be encouraged with each little step. It’ll never get done if you don’t start!
10. Get an idea (or exact count) of the number of photos to organize.
Gather ALL of your photos in one place.
DIGITAL: Decide which computer (hub) will hold ALL your photos. Download all your photos onto this hub: flash drives, old computer hard drives, camera photos, iPad photos, camera photos, etc . Read here for more info.
PRINT: Bring all photos in one location in your house. Determine how many you have. One inch = approximately 100 photos.
9. Sort your photos
Before you can do anything with your photos you need to put them in a structure that makes sense and makes it easy to find them when you need them.
DIGITAL: Create a file structure: Personal – Year – Month. Distribute ALL of your photos into the month folders. Here is a picture of mine:
PRINT: If you know the date, sort by date. If not, sort by event (birthdays, Christmas, vacations, etc).
8. Shrink your collection.
Get rid of all duplicates, blurry photos, dark photos, photos of people you don’t know (or like), photos that make you sad, etc. Keep gross photos in case you need them for something like this!
If you only keep good pictures it will be FUN to look at your photos. You’ll be happy celebrating the memories in your life.
PRINT: Go through your photos. Don’t know who the people are? Trash. Blurry or dark? Trash. Duplicates? Put extra copies in a separate pile.
7. Rename photos and add tags.
DIGITAL: This is for digital photos only. Renaming and tagging photos makes them searchable. You organize them so that you can find them when you need them. This step is key…and time consuming. But worth it! I get really specific about this here.
6. Decide on storage options.
PRINT: Where will you store all your printed photos? What are you going to store your photos in? Will you put them in photo books or put them in archival safe boxes?
5. Create a maintenance plan
Have a plan. That is a must! Think through it. Will you download your digital photos weekly? Monthly? Will you print any photos? When? Will you create a photo book once a year? There is no right or wrong answer (except having no plan). Just have a plan and follow through!
Digital: Download photos monthly. Disperse them into the correct month folder. Rename all the photos and add tags. Rate the best photos with 5 stars so that you can easily download them into a photo book.
Print: Print your 10 best photos once a month and put them into a photo book to enjoy.
4. Explore new photo sites like LiveOn
LiveOn is a new photo storing and sharing platform that offers benefits that go far into the future like sending time capsules, sharing in circles and more. Check out our interview with them here.
3. Update old VHS and 8mm video to current forms of digital storage
One of our family’s favorite things to do is watch home movies. Our kids love it! It is a way we celebrate our family together.
Videos and film are included when organizing your photos. If you have outdated media it needs to be protected. I see a lot of groupons for discounted services.
2. Have a minimum of three backups of your photos.
Lisa recommends at least three backups of your photos.
- First, get all of your printed photos and your home movie collection digitized. This digital copy on your “hub” (computer) is the first copy of your photos.
- The second copy should be on an external hard drive that does incremental backups on a regular basis. Lisa uses Time Machine on her Mac.
- The third copy is on an external device offsite. Lisa mentions Picture Keeper or using an external hard drive. Store this at a friends or in your safety deposit box. Or, use an offsite cloud service.
- For the fourth copy she recommends having your most valuable photos in print.
Print a new family canvas. Make a new photo book and leave it out on your coffee table. Have a family picture night where everyone sits and looks at pictures. Share photos online with friends and family. Email or text a picture to a friend or family member telling them how much they mean to you. Make a digital photo book/baby book for your 4th child who has nothing!
Enjoy finding photos you need when you need them! After all, that IS the definition of being organized…Knowing what you have and being able to find it when you need it.
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