Getting the pictures organized….FINALLY

Can I just say that I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel where my pictures are concerned. Exactly one year ago I shared about this organizational nightmare of mine and finally, finally I think I’m making some headway. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about let me just summarize for you. Ever since I got a digital camera I’ve not been very diligent about getting my pictures out of my computer and into my photo albums. Printing became a huge issue for me because I got tired of getting my pictures printed and them coming back crappy. I hate when the picture color comes back with a green hue and not how it should be. It just gets me all fired up and grumpy. I also don’t want to have to take out a second mortgage to have my pictures printed either. You know what I mean?

And in case you are wondering why I go to such trouble anyway, I must say we are a picture family. We love to pull out the photo albums to look through especially my two year old right now. I have them on a shelf at his level and I like that he can just pull them out whenever he wants to have a look. With my family all living in Ontario, and me being abandoned here on the other side of the country, pictures and memories are important to me. Thankfully the good thing about the digital age is that the ones that make it to the printing stage and into albums are the best of the best. No more red eye shots or heads cut off, such a treat!

Believe it or not my favorite place to get pictures printed is at Costco. They’re inexpensive and the quality is great. The only problem? The nearest Costco to me is eight hours away and they don’t ship to my house. So when I went to visit my parents in Ontario last summer I copied my MANY pictures to CD and took them with me and got them all printed while I was there. What a huge relief that was for me. Unfortunately it took me to last month to get them into the albums. Good grief!

And of course now that I’ve been home for 7 months I’ve run into the same problem again with a backlog of pictures just sitting in my computer waiting (backed up of course) for me to do something with them. When I got a promotion in my email from Kodak Gallery for 150 free pictures I jumped on it. Nothing like a free promotion to get me motivated! I love the Kodak quality but it’s always been too expensive for me to order large quantities from the States. I bit the bullet though this time because I just wanted it done and now I’m happy to report that I’m caught up to December…..whew. With the free prints and the low price of 15 cents a picture, it turned out that my Canadian price with shipping and exchange was only 19 cents a picture which is still a pretty good price. I’m even more excited because just last week Kodak Gallery FINALLY launched a Kodakgallery.CA! Can I just say it is about time!! I still hate paying shipping charges but hey when you live at the end of nowhere like I do you don’t have a lot of choices. Hopefully now I’ll be able to stay on top of it regularly.

My pictures filed away in their photo albums, yay!!

The top shelf is my recipe book/recipe magazine shelf.

One of the other ways I have been enjoying my pictures is on the digital picture frame that my hubbie bought for me for our anniversary. I put all my pictures from 2007 on it and love, love, love that I can see a new picture every 10 seconds. So very cool!!

I’d love to hear how others handle their pictures. Do you print and put them in photo albums, print and put them in file boxes, do photobooks or scrapbooks, leave them on the computer and watch slideshows, burn them to DVD and watch them on TV or just leave them on the camera and not worry about it?

Filed under: Pictures


54 Responses to Getting the pictures organized….FINALLY

  1. 1
    Jane says

    Very neat! Inspire me, inspire me, please! I need to organize this part of my life so badly!

  2. 2
    Debi says

    Oh Laura, I am sooooo impressed! (O.K., and jealous, too, though I probably shouldn’t admit that, huh?) I’m one of those who fancies herself a scrapbooker (heaven knows I’ve got enough supplies to fool someone anyway). But truth is I just don’t have time for scrapbooking these days, so I’ve got pictures everywhere. Most in organized boxes in my scrapbook area awaiting to be put in albums. But there’s also a box (unopened) from Snapfish of probably 300+ photos that I got printed months and months ago. It’s just sitting on my bedroom floor. And there’s probably close to a thousand still on the computer waiting to be printed.

    Oh man, now I’m really depressed. Gee, thanks Laura. LOL. No, but seriously, you may just have inspired me to finally do something about it all.

  3. 3
    Aimee says

    I second Jane’s comment!!! Photos are May’s project for me, I will post pictures when I am done.

    I love how you keep your recipe collection. I have mine on a small window above my kitchen sink-I need a better place. I just cut it down though-it was too large before!

    To answer your question-I make a DVD for each child at their birthday each year and print only those I want to frame. The rest I keep on the computer and watch as a slidelshow and then backup the photo card on DVD every once in a while to watch at.

    Our toddler does not even have a photo albulm!! We have been digital his entire life. We do also have “Birthday Books” for each child. I print out pictures from their birthday and add notes and have those at the party sign the book. Add a few stickers and they have a cute memory.

  4. 4
    Avlor says

    We officially converted to digital pictures about 2 years ago. I print very few. We live far away from our family too. I signed up for Zenfolio and share pictures with the family. (We have a login for family so I don’t have to share pictures of my kiddos with the whole world, for safety sake.) Family can print the photos they want or download them.

    I have a portrait shoot for grandparent b-days and holidays, so they get a nice pictures of the kids printed professionally by my favorite printers, Adorama. (1 1/2 years ago I decided to dive into photography because I got sick of expensive so-so photos even from professionals.)

    I’m considering getting my older pictures digitized. Not only will I have them on computer (and backed up), but then should I feel the need, I could go back and edit them easily. (Don’t know how long it will take to scan so many years worth of pictures.) Any one done this yet?

    Also I’m trying something new to me this year, making a photo book via Blurb. Smaller than regular photo albums and less stuff to deal with than scrapbooking. (I abandoned scrapbooking.) Thought it would make a nice overview of the year and if it works out – then I’ll do a baby book for my daughter with it. Poor thing has no baby book.

    Since I leave my pictures on my computer, I am a bit paranoid about losing them. So I have a backup system. I back up 3 ways. (Remember I’m paranoid. I don’t want to loose my photos!)

    1. using SyncBack to an external drive. (Easy to setup.)

    2. putting my final photos on Zenfolio (to share with family)

    3. Using iDrive as an online backup. (Easy to setup – but consider what you want going over the internet. I don’t backup my finances this way.)

  5. 5
    Avlor says

    Eep – I forgot to say how I organize my photos. I use Lightroom – import my photos and add keywords at the same time. Organizing done fast. (Yes it’s expensive. But there are several other organizing software packages such as Picasa.)

  6. 6
    Crystal says

    I only print those in which I want to give to family or put in an album or scrapbook. Otherwise, all the pictures are backed up on discs. I put the ones that are given to me or that just don’t end up anywhere in cute photo boxes that are organized with tabs labeled with the event.

  7. 7
    Jill says

    I too have a very bad habit with many of my photos residing on the computer or CDs. I have a month-long “break” if you will coming up soon and I hope to get organized at that time. Anyway, the point of my post is to let you know that Walgreens does a pretty good job, if you have one near you. Of course, I’m only speaking of my Walgreens where I go pick them up–I don’t know how their mail-service is.

  8. 8
    Leanna says

    I eventually put my photos in scrapbooks. Until they make it there, they are saved on the computer. Every couple of months, I print the ones I like at a local photo store. Then I put them in these really neat photo boxes made by Creative Memories. I have all our photos from the pre-digital days that I haven’t scrapped yet, plus the new ones waiting to go in, in the box the size of about two shoe boxes. And, they are all organized by place visited, etc. Very cool!

  9. 9
    Tracey says

    I love your site…I have a link to yours on mine!!! God Bless!

  10. 10
    Meg says

    So, so, so impressed. Wow. I’d need a week entirely by myself in the house to get this done. :0)

  11. 11
    Alyce says

    Wow Laura, that looks great. I am HORRIBLE about pictures. They stay on the digital camera for MONTHS, I finally just put them on the pc. When I want to print one, I’ll put several on a disc and go to wal mart to get them printed. But mostly they stay on the computer and/or disc. I keep saying that when my youngest goes to school I will do something with them. I used to go get alot printed at one time and it was soooo expensive..and when I say alot..I am talking 200-300 pictures. Now who wants to sort throught that many pictures???
    Thanks for the ideas

  12. 12
    Much More Than A Mom says

    Why did I have no idea I was reading a fellow Canadian? Cool!

    I have mine very organized digitally (by child, year and month) but only print the ones that I want to scrapbook or send to relatives (at Costco!). I just don’t have room to store hundred of albums. Yours look great!

  13. 13
    Sheila Gregoire says

    I don’t print out my pictures anymore. They’re just on the computer and on CDs. I’m hoping to get a couple of those digital frames that you just insert the memory stick into and then you can watch a slide show.

    We do print out my favourite shots and then hang them on the wall. But we’re running out of wall space. I wonder how they’d work on the ceiling?

    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

  14. 14
    Shannon says

    I have started doing photobooks. One for each year. It costs me about $50 for the most recent year but… I’m not spending money on scrapbooking supplies which I still have tons of and they have been sitting in my room for 4 years. I started scrapping when my dd was born and got to about 8 months and then stopped :) The photobooks just are so clean and organized and don’t take much time. I do it right through iphoto or shutterfly :)
    That way there are no single pictures lying around and are easy to flip through to see.

  15. 15
    Megan says

    Wow, I’m seriously drooling over your beautifully organized photo albums! Mine are haphazardly stacked wherever they fit in our way too full bookshelf.

    I keep copies of all our photos on the computer, with some in my Flickr account which isn’t a great backup because they’re unprintable when they’re resized there.

    I have a folder on my computer: To Print and every so often I upload to Walmart (I know, I know) and print them off. The quality is surprisingly better than Costco.

    Once they’re printed they go into albums right away.

    Great blog!

  16. 16
    Rachel says

    I’m a digital pic, print once a month, put them in the albums where you just slide them in kind of girl. I really want to scrap, used to scrap, don’t have the time so I settle for writing on the back just in case I might ever have the time someday (like when my kids are grown and I’m all lonesome at home with just me and the hubby someday really far down the road.)

  17. 17
    Laura says

    Rachel that is what I do too, I write on the back of the pictures before putting them in the albums.

    I also keep a folder on my computer called pictures to print so I can just put the best shots there for printing. I don’t print every single picture in order to try and conserve space.

    Great comments everyone, I love reading them!!

  18. 18
    Susanne says

    Hubby prefers it to be on disks. I, myself, so prefer the hard copy. But I am way, way, behind on organizing them. I sort of just quit because it got so overwhelming but now that you’ve done this post, I’m convicted to get back to working on them.

  19. 19
    Ashley says

    We married and moved into this home almost 3 years ago, but because life happened (including deployment, a new baby, etc) we never really TRULY sat down and organized the entire home. We have some organization in place which works, but I am just now getting around to making sure EVERYTHING has a place. I’m calling it ORGANIZATION 2008. My pictures are included in that. Each week from now until mid-October, I have a room/space assigned. I have a digi camera as well and not only need to back up ALL of my files on my computer (JUST IN CASE), but I need to upload all of my pics somewhere online and also print them. I like having then online, bc you never know about fires or tornadoes…and then, what?! So, that’s my mission this year…one of them! ;)

  20. 20
    Jerri says

    wow, your books look so neat! i confess, pictures are a definite problem area for me.

  21. 21
    Laura V. says

    Pictures…. GAH! I am a scrapbooker and it takes ‘spare’ time to do that. Heaven’s knows I’m not getting all my supplies out to only work for a few minutes…. and because of some life changes (#2 came along, husband TDY for a couple months, moved 700 miles, became a stay home mom) in the last year and a half I got seriously behind (I’m talking 15 months behind).

    I finally met a woman recently who is a Creative Memories consultant and holds monthly scrapbooking events and I was all geared up to go this past weeked (I even printed the first 6 months of photos that I’m behind) and then my youngest came down with pneumonia…. GAH again! Needless to say I’m still 15 months behind. My goal is to be completely caught up by September since that’s when baby #3 is due to arrive!

    However, my photos are VERY organized on the computer (actually they’re on an external hard drive as a backup)!

    PS – I print mine at Sam’s Club. Upload them online and get them printed one hour. They’re wonderful quality!

  22. 22
    Sandra says

    Well come on over and do mine LOL

    You did awesome!

  23. 23
    Michele says

    So many great comments already that I can’t add anything except to mention digital scrapbooking. I tried to scrap once by making a travel journal of a two-month road trip but 10 years later I’m still working on it. From now on, any scrapping I do will be digital – they have paper, trim, borders, etc. although I prefer very minimalist layouts.

  24. 24
    Laura says

    What?! You’re supposed to DO SOMETHING with the pictures after you take them?! Huh. I’m just proud that now that I have a digital camera…I actually TAKE pictures at all. I was a little lazy (and cheap) about that before. I DO have a nice little filing system on the computer…but I’m not very good about printing them out and putting them into those neat things you now have on your shelves…oh yeah…books. Your system looks GREAT! :)

  25. 25
    Laura says

    Love your little books. I am a scrapbook addict so I don’t print out my pictures any more. It’s been 2 years since I went digital. I just recently had digital books made of the digital layouts I have created and this year I’m having my pages printed and I have 4 8×8 albums that I’m putting them into. Each child has their own book (color coded) and I have one book which I keep for myself. My digital photos are downloaded from my camera to my computer at least once a week and I have started to rename the files so I can find them fast and easily. They are named Year-Month-Day-Event so the file folder would read: 2008-04-21-Amandas3rdBday
    So if I’m searching for birthday photos I just search for Bday and all the birthday photos will come up. Also when I scrapbook I name my files the same way. Once I complete the photos I put the word DONE next to the file name so I can keep track of what has already been done and what still needs to be done for the week. Of course, there are months that I don’t scrap every single event as I do a lot each month and take a lot of pictures. I swear my camera is like an extra extension to my body as I carry it all over!

  26. 26
    Laura says

    Forgot to mention that I too use an external hard drive and I also back up my photos on DVD and snapfish so my in-laws and parents can purchase what they like.

    I’ve been digital for almost 2 years now. I had my digital layouts printed in bound books at shutterfly for the first year and also heritage makers for the 2nd year. This year I’m using scrapbookstoshare and printing the pages individually and putting them in 8 x 8 top loading albums. I so want to purchase one of those creative memories wall frames to display my layouts. Hopefully when I have some money I will do that.

  27. 27
    Scratchin' the Surfa says

    laura, this is the worst area of my entire home! I swear I’ll be scrapbooking my last five minutes on this earth – good for you for getting a grip on it. Great job!

  28. 28
    Hooked on Houses says

    We’re definitely a “picture family,” too. Going digital changed things a bit, though. Now I only select my favorite shots to print out and put into photo albums and leave the rest in Picasa. Until we went digital, I kept photo boxes for the “next best” pics that weren’t quite good enough to put in the albums, but not bad enough to throw away.

    Fun post! Good job getting caught up, Laura! Once you get behind a few months, it can be a daunting task, I know. -Julia :-)

  29. 29
    BecauseImTheMommy says

    Hi Laura. I’m new to your site, found you sometime last week. So happy to be here! You are full of info and have inspired me in such a way that my hubby and children are amazed at the wonderful changes happening in the household. Your picture blog struck me because like you I printed out EVERY roll of film and put them in photo albums. I even did this up until mid 2005, after I got my digital camera. That is when I said enough is enough. Sometimes I take up to 200 pictures in a month, which is how I organize my pictures. I download all my pictures for the month, and on the 1st of every month I upload and order an archive CD from Wal-Mart, with index print, from the previous month, for a whopping $2.66. I then can either print the ones I need to showcase for scrapbook, photo album, etc, and the others stay on CD in a CD album (by year) at my fingertips. My dilemma is getting all my old negatives to CD, but these too are organized by month in protective sleeves courtesy of Creative Memories NegCare set. After I get my negatives on CD, maybe I’ll tackle the task of getting my home movies onto DVD. OY!

  30. 30
    Mikki says

    I just recently lost all the pictures I had on my computer due to a hard drive dying. So I am slowly rebuilding our life back not. Including an external hard drive.

    I just recently admitted to myself that I am NOT a scrapbooker and bought some photo boxes and some new albums. I’m making it my summer project to develop and put together these books.

    Great post! Thanks for the encouragement.

  31. 31
    chupieandjsmama says

    Please come to my house and do mine! My last order included 1,000 pictures (no lie, it’s a sickness really). I’m a throw back. I can’t just have pictures on the computer. I MUST HAVE THE ACTUAL PICTURE. Or why bother? I will get my pictures organized…. I will get my pictures organized….If I just keep saying it, maybe it will just happen :)

  32. 32
    Jolene Green says

    Your pictures look Great! I have a memory card that can store like 3000 pictures on it. I fill it up throughout the yr and then put it on cd…all my pictures are on cd…I do need to get them developed. I do keep the extra copy becuase it is nice to have them on cd. I also scrapbook…I havent in a long time but when I do I print what I need when I need it right here at home. I have pictures in photo boxes as well…that was before I got a didgital camera and was trying to keep my pictures organized, but like you…as soon as I went didgital, I failed to keep up.
    I also want to thank you for the Zesty corn Quesedilla recipe with the salad. It was a hit at my house how about yours?

  33. 33
    Judi says

    slideshow! I do order prints for other people though – through Kodakgallery!

  34. 34
    Katie says

    I love printing my pics at Costco! I’m a believer…no longer printing pictures from home.

    I read a great suggestion to cover your mismatched photo albums with contact paper for a streamlined look. I blogged about it on 2/4/08 if you want to see a before and after picture. I LOVE IT and it feels so “clean.”

  35. 35
    Michelle says

    I have three years + to tackle ,I’m not looking forward to it ..can’t wait to try Kodak gallery ca !!! that’s so cool. have a great week..

  36. 36
    moretimetoscrap says

    Great idea! Did you ever hear of York Photo Labs? They are a mail order and the prints are $.10 each. (Very cheap shipping and handling) I use them all the time…digital and film. You should check them out… I organize my photos in photo boxes by year. Then I scrap them in chronological order. Any doubles or extra pictures are stored in the photo boxes:)

  37. 37
    moretimetoscrap says

    One more thing…I tend to order as soon as I can so I don’t have a huge amout of pictures to organize!

  38. 38
    Elaine says

    I print all the ones I like (via Kodak Gallery, but only when they are doing a promotion) and many go into my scrapbooks. However, I have a lot left over and have not gotten around to organizing them in any way. They are just sitting in stacks on my shelf near my scrapboooking desk! I need major help in this area!!

  39. 39
    jodi says

    I am a scrapbook girl myself! And the digital age has saved me TONS of money. Now I only print what I put in a book. Family trips or ballet recitals or things I have tons of good pictures of I will put in a photo book by Blurb. I still have lots of misc photos that I like, so they go in albums. “YOu can never have enough pictures”…that’s my moto! :O)

  40. 40
    T says

    I used to print and slip into albums, but I know upload to Shutterfly and place the pictures on pages monthly so I am always (or most always) caught up. When a book is full, I wait until a 30% off sale and then order. It really works out to about the same price as printing them all out. Plus, we’re military, so if something happens in a move, I can claim it and just order a duplicate!

  41. 41
    T says

    One more thing- we do make CD backups, but we also have them on an external harddrive that is not plugged into the computer unless being accessed.

  42. 42
    BrownEyedGirl says

    We always upload them to the computer and store them there. We also have photo boxes to store some. And then, of course, there’s the hope for organization levels so extreme that I’ll get around to scrapbooking with the printed ones. (Hardly happens though.)

  43. 43
    Megan@Disorder2Order says

    Good grief… posting a comment is like reading the declaration of independence! Anywho… I love all the suggestions and ideas. I am a scrapbooker so for me the time I spend doing my books is what I love most. However, I decided in 2008 that I was going to do a page for each month. I take way to many pictures and by the time the kids are 15 I will have over 100 books. Talk about clutter… So my dilemma was solved by an article I read about doing just one page for each month. However, I do have my pictures as my screen saver… not to mention I print some “extras” for the boys to play around with! That’s it… in God We Trust! :D

    P.S. Sure do like reading your posts girlfriend!

  44. 44
    Jodie says


    As I read your post, I am currently working on my digital photo organization as I type! :-) I am so thankful that I have found a one-stop place for all of my photo organization, scrapbooking and memory preservation needs!!! I am using Creative Memories’ Memory Manager software which not only stores all of your photos, but can be organized into albums, AUTOMATICALLY organizes them by date and has a timeline that you can use to easily access them…the list of awesome features goes on and on! And…it’s about $40. You can categorize your photos by how great they are – 1 – 5 *, you can assign one image to several different album projects you want to put it in down the road…it doesn’t create another actual copy, just knows to access that file when it opens up that particular “album” in the software program. Cool!!!

    Then…I can easily use their StoryBook Creator software to do digital albums (either the free basic software or upgrade for tons of creative options for about $60)! I can easily send them off to friends and family, or to have them printed wherever I want them printed!

    Then…I can simply look into the organized albums and sort “boxes” in the computer and choose which ones I want to print and use in traditional scrapbooking or to put in frames.

    All of my printed photos are organized in CM’s Power Sort Boxes, labeled, and safe until I’m ready to put them in albums. It’s so freeing – to have them all in the same categorization system – whether on the computer or the hard, tangible sort boxes! It’s really slick, and I’m SO thankful that the Lord brought this into my lap!!!

    Many blessings to you – thanks for all you do for us!

  45. 45
    LisaC says

    Leave them in the computer and watch slide shows. I used to think this was lazy, but now I am going to call it my system and be proud that I have one! :)

  46. 46
    Abby says

    Wow! That looks really nice. I actually did this 2 years ago for my mom for my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. They had several large boxes of pictures, and I spent a couple weeks organizing them into photo boxes for her. She only has 3 or 4 boxes, plus a clear file folder box for the larger portraits, in comparison to the large box that was filled with disorganized photos that she had before. I love going through old family pictures, and now that these are organized, it makes it so much easier to find one if we need it for an album or special occasion.

  47. 47
    GiBee says

    If you still want to use Costco, you can have them developed at the Costco close to your parents house — you just log into the photo section of Costco and select that particular store while you’re on line (did that make sense?), and maybe your parents can pick them up and mail them to you. For an extra $2.50 or so, they’ll even burn them onto CDs for you!!!

  48. 48
    GiBee says

    One more thing… where did you get those adorable magazine boxes???

  49. 49
    Veggiemomof2 says

    (just shakes her head) this is a huge trouble spot for me. I do try to print out each event like birthdays & keep them together planning to scrap them, but they are here, there & everywhere. I’m thinking that should be your next big organizational challenge!

  50. 50
    Joely says

    WOW-Alot of great ideas. I to am a scrapbooker. Before digital days all mine were printed with doubles I would get a copy & then a copy would go to moms for safe-keeping. Mine are all dated & names on them & organized in photo boxes. Then I went digital, all pictures go onto a cd for me, one for moms house then goes onto my external hard drive for safekeeping. These to are all organized by date I keep the cd’s in photo boxes. I only print the pictures that go into our albums or that I want in frames. My frame pictures are rotated out with recent pictures at least once a year sometimes seasonally (depending on how motivated I am). I also have a slideshow of our pictures on our computer.

  51. 51
    Jennifer says

    My problem is I have boxes of duplicates already scrap booked and some from the occasion not scrapbook material and negatives – wondering if I should continue to store them or destroy them?

  52. 52
    Jessica says

    I order most of my pictures online at or Same company with 2 different websites. I find that all of my pictures come back looking great. They have prints starting at .08 USD. They have sales all the time for 40% off any picture order or free shipping. I just wait for those and then upload my pictures on line and submit my order. It is pretty easy. It takes a little bit of time to upload depending on how many pictures you are uploading and internet speed but other than that, I have never had any problems. (I didn’t read all of the comments above so if someone already told you this, I applogize for repeating it.) Enjoy!

  53. 53
    Kathy Winsted says

    I have been printing 5×7 small photo books for my mom every time we have a family reunion at her place (twice a year). The whole family loves looking at them when we visit. My problem is that there are so many, I need some way to store and display them – has anyone discovered any kind of case designed for these books? Maybe I’ll just need to make something.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *