Keeping Your Memories: How to Organize Photos

Since the first digital camera came out in 1975, we’ve been looking for ways to have the convenience of a camera everywhere. Now, there are about a trillion digital photos taken every year done by professionals who offer photography services.

If you’ve been taking digital images for the last 20 or so years, you know that you have quite the photo collection.

It’s hard to access those memories, even in digital form. You probably have photos stored in several places and you don’t know how to organize photos.

If you’re looking for an easy way to organize your photos, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn the top tips for organizing photos.

  1. Get Your Photos Together in One Place

Your first step in organizing your photos is to get them together in one place. Go through your computer folders, USB drives, and SD cards. Move everything into a single folder called Photo Album.

Use this as an opportunity to review your old digital photos and decide what you want to keep and delete. Professional and amateur photographers take hundreds of images just to capture a single, perfect shot.

You probably don’t need these hundreds of images any more, so you can delete them to free up space.

  1. Digitize Old Photos

You might have photos stored in your basement. There might be childhood treasures that you want to preserve. There’s a good reason for that.

A sudden flood in your basement due to weather or a broken water heater could destroy those images.

It’s a wise move to digitize those old photos and add them to your digital image collection.

There are a couple of ways to digitize them. You can scan them yourself, which takes hours. It could take weeks depending on how many photos you have.

Check with your local camera shop. They usually offer digitization services for photos, slides, and home movies. The cost depends on how many images you have. Expect to pay between $200 – $500.

Another option is making a digital photo book yourself through available editing tools online. You can add captions and borders, put funny and cute emojis, edit them with a black and white or a negative image filter, or you can do some fading in your images. The result of the photobook will depend on your creative choices.

  1. Delete Duplicates

Photos sometimes get duplicated over time. This happens when you sign up for a new cloud account, get a new phone, or install a new storage device.

These duplicates make it harder to organize your photos and they take up valuable storage space.

Do you have to go through your images one by one to find the duplicates? Thankfully, no because that takes hours to do.

There are software tools that find duplicate photos and delete them. Some tools even delete the hundreds of images you took to get the one perfect shot. You can choose which images you want to keep.

  1. Use a Folder Naming System

The crucial part of organizing digital photos is the naming system. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do this. The naming system really depends on your needs.

Professional photographers usually include client information. This lets them track projects easily.

You might not be a professional, but you can steal a few ideas from them. They usually use a naming convention that starts with the date of the photoshoot.

That’s followed by more information about the shoot. For example, a wedding, wildlife photography, soccer game, or weekend barbecue. Then they name the image files by number.

To put it all together, the folder would look like 2021-09-10_Wedding for photos taken at a wedding on September 10, 2021. The image file names would be 2021-09-10_Wedding_001, 2021-09-10_Wedding_002, etc.

If you decide to edit photos for cropping or color adjustments, you need to create a copy and note that it’s an edited photo. That image file name looks like 2021-09-10_Wedding_003_FINAL or 2021-09-10_Wedding_003_EDIT.

  1. Create Metadata and Tags

If you want to get granular in photo organization, you should explore using metadata. Metadata is code contained in each digital image.

If you want to know more about metadata, just right-click any image file and select Properties. You’ll find the date of the image, author, copyright information, and camera information.

This is important if you publish your image on a public website. Someone could use your image without your permission and violate your copyright. Metadata contained in the image prevents that from happening.

You can add metadata by opening up the image properties and adding the information manually.

If you don’t want to do that for all of your images, you can use software to help. There are programs that use artificial intelligence to add metadata and tags based on the information in the image.

For example, an image of a beach will have a beach tag attached. This gives you an additional way to find images on top of your folder naming system.

  1. Upload to the Cloud

Photo storage is a challenging issue as your collection grows and grows. It’s important to have extra storage space and have a backup of your precious photo collection.

There are cloud storage services like Amazon Photos, Google Photos, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox that let you store images. They also sync images on your phone and your computer to create a simple backup system.

  1. Keep an Extra Backup

Redundancy is a term used in IT that means you have a backup of your backup. That’s something you want to implement in managing your digital photos.

Get a large external drive to use specifically for photo backups. You’ll need to create a system to backup your photos regularly.

You can set a reminder to do it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. It depends on how often you take photos.

How to Organize Photos in a Few Simple Steps

Whether you’re a professional photographer or you like to capture personal moments, you need to know how to organize photos.

You just learned how to do that in a few simple steps. Put these tips to use and you’ll have an organized photo management system.

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