How to Organize Your Photos
Please welcome my guest today, Cassie from Mrs. January, a Canadian site about saving money to live a better life. One of the areas of organization that sadly gets neglected in my life are photos. I have them on my computer sorted by date and year but I tend to procrastinate what I do with them after that. I switched from photo albums to photo books a couple of years ago but still struggle with whether to print them by event or year. Cassie is here today to share how she stays on top of her photos by organizing them into albums.
If you’re anything like me, you are kind of a crazy person when it comes to taking photos. I take my camera with me everywhere I go, because you just never know when that perfect photo opportunity will arise! Since I am such an avid photo-taker, I have an abundance of photos stashed on my computer (since I prefer to shoot digital). I really do enjoy looking through all of my photos, but found it to be rather annoying to have to do it on the computer. Sometimes I would be in the living room with family members and they would want to see photos – and I would have to drag them all the way up to the office. I wanted albums! I wanted to be able to just hand over a book when someone asks to see our photographs – and now I can, since I just recently organized our massive photo collection.
I know it seems overwhelming to do a complete overhaul of your photos, but with my five step process, everything will be organized in less than a week – without any stress (hopefully)!
Spend one hour a day, for five days, organizing your photos so that the whole process isn’t stressful and overwhelming. You may be able to get done sooner if you have less photographs to organize.
My Five Step Process:
Day One – PURGE
Day Two – CATEGORIES
Day Three – ORDER
Day Four – STUFF
Day Five – LABEL
PURGE: The very first thing you need to do is go through all of your photos and get rid of the ones that are blurry, too dark, too bright or of people you don’t even know. You should only keep the photos that you will enjoy looking at for years to come. Be sure to avoid keeping duplicates of the same photo, too.
CATEGORIES: How many albums do you plan to have?
For me, I have:
- 1 album for each pet.
- 1 album for family 2004-2008.
- 1 album for family 2009-2010.
- 1 album for miscellaneous (mostly my photography of objects and the outdoors).
- 1 album for my son 2008-2010.
Having categories like this works well because you can always find the photos you are looking for. Having a bunch of un-categorized albums with a bunch of photos shoved inside in no order – well, that’s just scary to think about. It creates chaos and chaos is not good!
Decide what categories you would like for your albums and then go through all of your photos and make piles. One pile for this category, one pile for that category, etc. Don’t worry about putting the photos in order by date, we’ll get to that tomorrow. Just make sure your piles are nice and neat and then put them aside until the next day.
ORDER: Now comes for my least favourite part – organizing those piles by date. Of course, you probably won’t know what the exact date was that certain photos were taken on and that is a-ok. You just need to put the photos in order the best that you can. For me, well – we moved alot, so I put my photos in the order of our homes! That way I didn’t have to remember any stinkin’ dates – I just had to remember where we lived first, second, third, etc. That worked for me!
STUFF: Since you have finished organizing those piles of photos, it’s now time to stuff those albums! Obviously, start with the earliest photos at the beginning of your album and then just start loading that baby up with all of your glorious pictures. This is the fun part, so try to enjoy it!
LABEL: This is the best part for any organizing junking like myself (hehe) – bring out that label maker! Ahhh, my beloved label maker. Make a label for each album and place it directly on the spine of the book. You can make a label for the front as well, but the spine is the most important, since that is how you will identify a particular album sitting on a shelf.
If you don’t have a label maker, you can easily make your own labels. There are lots of stores that sell blank labels and you can write on them yourself, or stick them into your printer and print some labels that way, if you hate your handwriting (like me).
…and there you have it, folks! My five step process to organizing your photos!
Be sure to put your albums somewhere in your home that you know they will be enjoyed. The living room or dining room is a great place to store photo albums. You can just pull them out and view them whenever the mood strikes. Seeing people enjoy those photos will be well worth the time you spent organizing them!
Organizing Your Digital Photos:
1. Upload photos to your computer and delete ones that you don’t like. I also delete duplicates and anything that’s blurry, too dark or too bright.
2. Date the photos and put them in the right folders. I have many folders of photos on my computer. My son (2008-2010), Events/Vacations (by date), each pet has their own folder, Family (by year), and then I also have a Photography folder and in there I have sub-folders such as food, plants, animals, landscapes, etc. Having things in seperate folders makes it easy peasy to find what you’re looking for. Try not to have too many folders or organizing your photos could become a very daunting task.
3. Back-Up photos onto DVDs every 3 months. Nothing is worse than having a hard drive crash and losing all of your precious photos! I have had this happen to me once before and I’m lucky my dad fixes computers for a living because he was somehow able to retrieve my lost photos. I still back them up every 3 months though, just in case dad can’t help me next time!
I also like to print my photos (not all of them!), so I have a folder on my computer that has photos inside that I want to print. I keep them in there until I see a sale on prints and then I order them all at once and delete them from this folder.
Once my photos are printed, I organize them into albums. I have my albums set up the same way my folders are set up on the computer to make it alot easier for me when I’m putting the prints in the books.
I find that by uploading, dating and organizing my photos at the end of the day, makes the task easy and quick.
How do you organize your photos?
Cassie is a 25 year old mom living on Ontario, Canada. She blogs over at Mrs. January about frugal living, personal finance, organizing and Canadian deals & freebies. She is married to her husband of 2 years and has an 18 month old little boy.