Looking for ways to tame your digital photo clutter? I’m very excited to introduce to you today’s guest blogger, Michelle Nahom of Creative Photo Solutions, LLC and the blog A Dish of Daily Life. She’s sharing some tips on how we can organize our digital photos and keep them that way.
From Michelle Nahom…
Digital technology is a blessing in so many ways. We can now see instantly whether we got that “Kodak Moment.” We can delete with a click of a button. But the reality is that we take many more pictures now than we ever did before, and we don’t delete. Most of us can’t find a photo that we need quickly.
Back in the days of film, we might have taken a few rolls of film on a vacation. Now, it’s not unusual to take several hundred or even a thousand pictures! Add in family events, kids sports, and everyday moments and our hard drives are becoming quite cluttered. Do we need all of these pictures? Absolutely not!
Take a deep breath, and get ready to hit that delete button! You don’t need all of those photos! For some people, deleting a photo is paralyzing…they just can’t do it. But I’m going to coach you through the process. By following a few easy steps, you can simplify the process of organizing your photos, and I promise you that you will feel much more in control of your digital photo life.
Find an organizing system that works for you. You don’t necessarily need an expensive photo organizing system. Use whatever works for you. This might be a software program, or it might just be folders on your computer. If you use folders on your computer, make sure to use names that include the date, subject, and location of the photos. List the date first (year, month, day) and your photos will sort into chronological order automatically.
Make sure your camera date is set correctly. Your date stamp is attached to your photo. Having the correct date set will allow you to search in chronological order. If your date is incorrect on your camera, see your manual for instructions on how to change it.
Get into a routine. Download your photos as soon as possible after an event and then delete the photos from your memory card. Many people download to their computers but then don’t actually delete the photos on the memory cards, which often leads to duplicate downloads. Setting up a system means you’ll never download your photos a second time again!
Delete the photos you don’t need immediately. Get rid of the bad photos, the blurry ones, the duplicates. They’re taking up space on your computer and making it harder to find a photo when you need it, because there is more to go through when you are searching for a specific photo. I actually do two photo purges. The first one is a quick dump to get rid of all the photos I described above. The second one happens down the road a bit. For example, I take a lot of sports photos of my children’s teams. In the short term, I want to hold onto all the good photos because I usually do some sort of project for the team. However, long term I don’t need all the photos of their teammates, and quite honestly, I also don’t need all of the photos I’ve taken of my children either. I’m a firm believer in “save the best, dump the rest.”
Tag the very best photos and the photos that tell a story. This can be a quick step but will make it a lot faster to find a certain photo when you need it. You can do your editing later when you need to use the photo for a project.
Have a backup system in place. I recommend using multiple backups. You should have an external hard drive which backs up automatically as well as cloud storage. You should also print your best photos. A printed photo is the most ideal backup because printed photos are not subject to computer crashes or technological obsolescence. For more information on this topic, read my post 5 Reasons Why You Should Print Your Photos.
Follow these simple steps and you will be well on your way to keeping your photos under control!
Michelle Nahom has been helping people tell their stories and creating legacies for their families since 2003. As the owner of Creative Photo Solutions, LLC, she combines her love of photography with her passion for stories, offering photo management services to her clients. She is a member of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers and the National Association of Professional Organizers, and has mentored, coached, and trained others in the same industry, helping many women and men build successful photo organizing businesses. She blogs on photos and memory preservation as well as other topics on A Dish of Daily Life, and you can also follow her on Twitter @CPhotoSolns or @dishofdailylife or on Facebook or Pinterest!