Most of us love our digital photography toys these days – cameras, phones, tablets. It seems we can take pictures of almost anything, anytime, anywhere. But, digital photography can be both a blessing and a burden. It’s a blessing because we can take 100’s of pictures and choose to keep only the best ones. It’s a burden because we can take 100’s of pictures, but then we don’t know what to do with them all. The big question is how to manage and organize everything. First, let’s assume you have uploaded all of your pictures from your digital toys onto your computer – most computers automatically come with free photo management software or you could use an online photo sharing vendor for storage. No matter what method you choose to use, be sure to store your images in the same place every time you upload, so choose wisely. Once you have chosen your storage method, here are a few easy tips to help minimize the organizing burden:
- The first step in organizing your digital photo collection is eliminating all of your unwanted pictures. Yes, it’s okay to hit the delete button. There is no reason to keep 20 shots of the same mountain or person – keep the best of the best – the ones that inspire you the most and get rid of the rest. Consider deleting unwanted photos prior to uploading to your computer to save time. If you prefer having a larger view of the images and want to compare them, then do it after uploading.
- Once your photos are uploaded onto your computer, sorting them into a systematic filing system is crucial for future retrieval. One way you can set up folders within your photo organizing software is by organizing by year and then creating subfolders by each month. You could also organize your folders by season (i.e., Winter 2010) and use important events as subfolders (i.e., Christmas or Football). You could consider organizing by person (i.e., Sally) and use subfolders (i.e., 1st grade or Cheerleading). Or, my favorite way to organize is using a broad category such as “Vacations” and then adding subfolders like “Cancun, 2009” or “Florida, 2010”. Another example of the broad category method is “Birthdays” and then using subfolders such as “2010”. If you want to drill down even more, you could subdivide the years using individual names, so it would look like this: Main Folder (Birthdays), Subfolder (2010) and secondary subfolder (Sally). Whatever method you choose, CONSISTENCY is the key. This step will take some time, but will be well worth it in the end.
- Consider adding tags to your photos. These are descriptive words or phrases added to an image file. They offer a quick and easy search method for finding your photos.
- Once your photos have been uploaded, delete the transferred images from your camera or memory card so there’s never any confusion which photos have been copied to your PC. Many people choose to retain photos on their phone or tablet, but be choosy.
- The most important step of all – regularly back up your photos! Images can easily be archived to CD’s, DVD’s, external hard drives, USB thumb drives and online storage services. Your photos are one of the most precious memories you have, so take the time to do this often. I suggest storing the backup copies in a safe deposit box or fire proof safe for added protection.
Taking the time to organize and clean up you digital photo collection is a worthwhile activity. You will have the peace of mind that you can retrieve pictures when you need them and you will enjoy being able to review or share them whenever you want.
Clawson is a Professional Organizer and Certified Productive Environment Specialist (CPES). She is also a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and Faithful Organizers and holds her Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification.
Clawson can be contacted at 816-223-9093, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Ideas in Organizing go to www.ideasinorganizing.comto follow company news, product offerings, web posts and blog links on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.