I’m sure I have a lot of company when I say that pictures are over-running my camera! Use these tips to help you organize your digital photos and you can even use them on your photo wall!
There are literally thousands of pictures between my digital camera, my ipad, my iphone, and ones I have actually downloaded to my hard drive. And I’m not ungrateful…I LOVE how easy it is to record the everyday special moments, the silly dress-ups my girls put on, the love shown when my two little girls fall asleep holding hands, the birthday parties, the holidays, and on and on and on.
But in many ways, the ease of taking photos seems directly proportional to the dis-ease (LOL) in actually doing anything with any of them! The whole idea of it seemed insurmountable to me until I started doing these things!
This post was so chock-full of information I have split it into 2 separate posts.
This post helps you manage the process of organizing your photos. The complimentary post gives you great ideas of how to actually use your awesome pictures!
Follow these tips to organize your digital photos:
1. Put the digital photos somewhere other than your memory card! Buy an external hard drive – These are everywhere nowadays and a lot of storage is very cheap. We have one that is a Terabyte and it has been 6 years now and we are nowhere close to running out of space.
2. Create an organization system – Now this will mean a lot of different things to different people. I initially tried an intricate organization system – grouping photos by each child, by the month, special events and on and on and on. But it just became too overwhelming and for me a system that’s too intricate I just won’t do!
So instead I simply create a folder for the year – i.e. 2015. I throw all my pictures for the year into that folder. I don’t edit them or flip them or crop them. I simply group them because once they are there I know I can always come and do what I need to later.
3. Don’t forget to pull photos from all of your devices – An important note here is that I do this for my digital camera as well as my phone and iPad! Some of my best pictures are captured with my iphone and to forgot those would be a crime! Offloading these pictures also keeps those nasty “you have exceeded your storage space” messages off of my phone. =)
4. Once every month or two, review your pictures – This is an important step because at some point we all realize that …shocker…not all of our pictures are worthy of keeping!! But I find this harder to do after I initially pull the pictures onto my hard drive. The memories are too fresh and I am too emotionally attached.
But after a month or so, I am much more objective. This is why I say to NOT edit your pictures immediately. It’s just a waste of my time because so many of them will be deleted.
During my monthly review of the pictures, I then choose only the photos that are either
a) Too beautiful and perfect to let go
b) Capture a special memory – trip, holiday, birthday, etc
c) Not duplicated
d) Show a time line of our year – so that picture of Hannah with a broken arm and a huge knot on her forehead doesn’t fit into the first 3 categories but it is something I want to remember from that year so it makes the cut!
5. Edit only those pictures that made the cut! – Everyone’s skills with regard to photo editing varies but I am not ashamed to say that I know very little, can’t do any PhotoShop and have found the Microsoft Picture Manager and PicMonkey to be my BFF. I also think that not overly editing your pictures saves you time and thus in turn, makes the whole process faster and less daunting.
I do recommend:
a) Rotating the pictures to their correct orientation
b) Cropping the photos if they have a lot of extra unnecessary footage (but I never crop too much because most photo sharing sites automatically crop some before printing. So if you have cropped a lot and they do more, you will actually lose some of the picture in printing)
c) Enhancing the image by using the Exposure Auto-correct button. This always makes my pictures brighter and more true to life
6. Back up your pictures to a free photo sharing site – Aside from living things, my pictures are my most prized possessions. They are basically tangible elements of my life and my children’s lives so far. I would be devastated if I lost them.
So in addition to having my pictures saved on an external hard drive, I upload all of them to Shutterfly. There are other sites that allow you to do this but I have used Shutterfly for 6 years now and have never been disappointed. It’s completely free, their products are top-notch, their printing process is much better than many other places I’ve used and their customer service is amazing.
I use the same system on Shutterfly as I do at home – I create a folder for the year and upload all of the pictures from that year into that folder.
Now that you have followed these steps, your memory cards can be cleared and you can start fresh with taking more pictures!
For ideas on what to do with all of your great pictures, click here to see my post on fun ways to use your digital photos.