The holiday season has ended, the presents have been unwrapped, the New Year is being rung in and the stress of everything that you need to do in 2017 is probably setting in. If you are like me, one of those things at the top of the your personal list is organizing photos! This is something that in theory sounds very easy. It sounds like something that you should be able to keep up with throughout the year. Just spend one night a month, I tell myself, you will be so organized all year. But alas…it never happens that way. The year comes to a close and I have thousands of photos between my camera, cell phone, email and more that I want to consolidate. This can actually be done in a few easy steps. You can even break these steps up to fit your schedule, like one per week! I promise…it can be done!
1. Consolidate Photos from Your Camera and Smartphone in one easy place like a family computer.
Most of us have multiple cameras, smart phones, USB drives, Facebook, pictures that have been emailed to you, etc, etc. Accumulate all of these photos on to one computer for the best organizational results.
2. Create a filing system to fit your habits
Many people (including myself) like to create folders and sub-folders to organize your files in a way that makes sense to you so they can be maintained over time. For example – I have a main file folder of ‘photos’ and a sub-folder for each year and then sub-folders within that year for different events, i.e. ‘Avery’s Birthday.’ There is no best way to organize your photos. It has to make sense to you and fit your lifestyle.
3. The mass photo exodus
This sounds very intimidating and extremely time consuming, but will actually be very fulfilling and stress relieving when you are done! As you sort your pictures into the proper folders, make sure that you are deleting pictures that are duplicates, blurry, too similar to others, or too dark. Because I mean…do you really need 35 pictures of your kids running down the beach? You can probably capture the memory in about 3 pictures. This will free up a lot of space on your computer and other storage devices. Once you have finished the transfer and verified that your pictures were safely moved to your computer, reformat your media card using your camera’s format function. Reformatting your card a few times a year will help maintain the card’s efficiency and reliability for future photos.
4. Find Your Favorites:
This step is optional, BUT it is a fun one! This is a step that many photographers find very helpful in locating specific photos (especially if you are making a book or printing photos later on). Most image editing programs have a tool for marking favorite images. Many programs also have facial recognition features which can come in handy because it is a lot less time consuming than tagging each photo individually.
5. Back Up, Back Up, Back Up!
I cannot stress this step enough. As someone who has personally paid $350 to have their hard drive on their Mac rebuilt after it crashed – backing up is the most crucial of all the steps. If you like pictures, you should also like hard drives. Get a large external hard drive! You can get a ton of space for not a ton of money. Two fantastic brands that are both easy to use and extremely reliable are LaCie and G-Tech. They come in a variety of sizes and price points (starting at $74.99) and work with both Mac and PC. If these brands are good enough for the pros, they are good enough for me! You can also copy the images to a DVD-R, but this may require spreading the pictures to multiple discs. You can also back up your photos to an on-line photo sharing site. When you are looking at these companies, consider reputation, fee, and make sure you read the policies and FAQ section of the site. Our friends at Promaster recommend Mylio.com, who offers multi-device backup with or without the cloud. And, call me old fashion, but you should also consider printing your favorite photos because printed photos don’t crash. Roberts can help you with a huge array of printing options through our lab! We can do anything from standard prints to canvas to metal to wood to coffee mugs!
I know that you probably have a million projects on your plate for 2017, but this is one that should not be overlooked. It is easy to put off, but if something happens to those photos you will be way more devastated than if you still had some old sweaters and shoes that have not been cleaned out of your closet yet! Happy New Year, and Happy Organizing!
Instagram Organization Tip: Some people think hash tags are stupid #hashtagsarestupid. And I don’t completely disagree in some circumstances. BUT, they are very helpful for finding all the photos that you and everyone else took of your event. So, if you are trying to locate all the pictures that guests took at your best friend’s wedding – just search the hash tag (I’m sure they had one) to find all your favorite photos from the event! And consider creating some of your own to track the photos you take and everyone else takes at your favorite events during the year.