Organising photos always takes time. You need to be in a relaxed mood and concentrate on it, enjoying the memories that the pictures bring you. Nowadays you can print your photos yourself or store them on your computer, but there are also great photo-book creator programmes, when you can simply add your digital photos and order a book online. It is a great solution for storing specific events, like weddings, birthdays and family trips. And the books can be kept nicely on the living room shelf.
Most of us have taken lots of photos in our life, both digital and traditional paper ones. The hard thing is not taking the photos but organising them. Usually we have more photos on our computer or in albums than we can handle or even remember, because we just transfer them on discs just as they are or put them on the shelf after printing them out. Years later we remember that we did take a photo at John’s birthday party – yes, he was wearing a funny suit and we ate a lot of cake at that party. But where on earth is that photo?! If we are lucky, we’ve organised our photos in folders at least (on the PC) or if we did print them out, then we only have 100-120 photos to go through to find it.
This can be easier, if we use a keyword to find the photo. Yes, “keyword” is the keyword.
The key to organising photos is tagging them, and to placing them in folders/albums with easily identifiable names, like ‘John, Birthday, 2013’. Then you can tag the photos with a word that you’ll use afterwards. If you remember the funny suit years later, it’s best to tag the photo with it, like ‘John, Birthday, 2013, funny suit’. Then, when you do a search with the tags ‘John, Birthday, suit’, you’ll find the right photo.
The other important thing is to delete the poor quality or unnecessary photos. Maybe it was a good idea to take a photo of the neighbour’s puppy, but you won’t need it forever. This goes for printing photos too. Nowadays we have the technique to reprint our grandma’s old photos, but it’s not necessary to print every single photo we take. Just print your kids’ photos that you put in your purse or the wedding picture that’s going to hang over the fireplace.
So here are 10 tips for organising your digital photos:
- Install a photo organising program that meets your needs on you PC. Not too difficult, not to elementary – just the one that was made for this task. Tag the pictures and organise them as you’re transferring or printing them out. Don’t leave this job for later, because you’ll never do it.
- As soon as the ink’s dry, organise your photos into albums. The sooner you do this, the fewer photos you will have piling up and cluttering your space, not to mention getting damaged.
- Select the photos on the PC, delete the unwanted or imperfect ones, and put the rest in folders organised by event or person. Do it the way that’s the most practical for you. Do it little by little and don’t give up the selecting project – do just one folder or one year at a time.
- Printed photos are not so easy to reject. You won’t throw away photos you’ve already printed out just because they’re not perfect. You can collect them in a box (and throw them away three years later without hesitation, because you didn’t open the box for years…). The only solution for having only the right ones in the future, is to think before you print.
- Make a folder for the photos that aren’t perfect (where somebody has a red eye, or photos that are little bit blurred), but ones that you want to correct or give to somebody else to fix. Try to be very strict when you choose these photos.
- Tag the photos or rename them with useful keywords, but use facts rather than tags that you won’t remember years later. Giving your pictures meaningful file names is the traditional way for organising them, but we don't usually think of pictures by name—we think of them by who is in them, where they were taken, or what we were doing at the time. Every single printed photo probably doesn’t need a tag, so just label them and separate them into albums to easily find the right event. That way it’s quite easy to find the photo you need.
- Photos from childhood – especially if they are printed – are a little bit more difficult to organise, because 30 years later you won’t remember when the costume ball at the kindergarten carnival was held, because you need the one with you wearing a clown fancy dress outfit. This is your decision. Organise them by date or together by type: Costume balls, summer holidays (you can even date the summer holiday inside an album called “Childhood Summertime”), winter holidays, Christmases.
- Use different albums to categorise -- for example, you can keep separate albums for friends, events you attend, and 'artful' shots that you take – it’s your choice.
- Backing up photos on the PC is crucial, in case the files are destroyed or corrupted. An external hard drive will work, of course, but even those can become corrupt or destroyed. A safe bet is backing up your digital photos on CDs and DVDs and labelling them with as much information as possible to ensure memories stay intact, even if your hard drive doesn’t. Another option is a cloud storage, which is less likely to get corrupted than an external drive. However, most services only offer a limited amount of gigabytes for free, so storing photos in the cloud could come at a price. However, it does give users access to photos across devices while on the go.
- Give yourself enough time to do this job, as it’s not a quick one. Prepare to spend an afternoon doing it, as in this way you won’t get impatient. Try to be purposeful and don’t let yourself just wonder over the photos. There’s a job to be done, and it’s not the time for wondering.
- 10+1: Save yourself some time! Whether you put the photos in folders, boxes or labelled envelopes, put them away immediately. If you make piles, somebody may come in and start to wondering and messing them up!