• You don’t know where all your photos are and thinking about it hurts your head 

• Alternatively, you do know where they are and thinking about it hurts your head, and feel completely overwhelmed

• You have photo organizing marked as a ‘to-do’ for someday…but you haven’t done it. And as we all know, someday is the day after never 

• All the technology and choices around photo organizing confuse you

• You don’t know that photo organizers like me exist – and can help!

I’ve recently read several interesting articles on photo organizing. Many of the folks interviewed say the same thing as my clients. They’re overwhelmed by their current digital collection and/or inherited photos or have been motivated to start this amazing project but got sidetracked or lost in the weeds. They are tech-savvy but can’t find the time (and believe me, it always takes longer than you think). 

Does any of this sound familiar? You can spare yourself the headache that comes from having a meaningful project put on the back-burner by taking a few simple steps to address these issues. Remember, not doing it will cost you in the long run, as images accumulate in your camera roll.  

You can get started with these helpful tips. 

Manage, Organize and Preserve your Prints

If you have loose printed photos, use the ABC’s to organize. A = A list photos, your keepers. Put these in one pile.  B = B-roll, these are your alternatives. C = Can, as in trash can. Yes you can throw out photos!  The ones I recommend discarding are any blurry, redundant, or unrecognizable images. If there are people in them you don’t know, ask a family member or relative. They may want them and be delighted to know you have them. 

• Scan the A + B photos and back them up. 

• Get an archival, acid-free storage system for your remaining  printed photos. You can store them in sections – by date, event, or subject. I recommend Archival Methods for a wide array of museum-quality storage options. 

Manage, Organize and Preserve your Digital Images  

For your digital collection you’ll need to do some hunting and gathering from all your digital devices. Don’t forget your recently digitized print images!

You can use the same ABC process for digital photos, but I find it’s best to choose a consistent naming convention. I go with YY-MM-DD wherever possible. You can then add names, events, and places to the files using metadata keywords as well as tags. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention video. Do you have old home movies? You can have them digitized and sorted, as well. iMovie is a great place to start (and it comes on all Macs). You can add them to current videos and edit to music. Or simply add them to your collection to share with family (pop some corn for family movie night!).

Storage Options

Professional photographers and most photo organizers use the 3-2-1 backup method (also called triple redundancy). This is 3 copies of your collection, 2 on external hard drives (stored in different locations) and one cloud storage. You will need to update your collection at regular intervals. But that’s ok because you are now motivated and organized to do so! And if not, we at Past Present Pix are here to help!