We have the technology, opportunity and freedom to take more photographs than ever before, but what are we doing to save and organise them?
The overwhelm of knowing you have thousands of photos across several devices is so SO real. I'm going to take you step by step through how to organise your photos and stay organised. This isn't a job you can sit down and do in one go and I wouldn't want you to put that sort of pressure on yourself. Chip away step by step, bit by bit, and you will get there. When you do, it will be so satisfying!
Ok team, let’s get all those photos in the one place!
Make a list of all the places you have photos stored - your phone, partner’s phone, camera, hard drive, the cloud, iPad, cds, usbs.
Create a folder and name it PHOTOS on your desktop or an external hard drive.
(I like both Seagate and Western Digital hard drives. The size of your hard drive depends on the amount of photos/videos you want to organise and save. To give you an example - 1TB gives you the option of storing roughly 250,000 photos taken with a 12MP camera. Don't worry, that's as tech as I'll get I promise!)
Go through each device on your list and do a big photo dump into your PHOTOS folder.
Once you have all your photos in one place, you want to create a strong folder system to start organising.
I make a folder for each year I have photos for. 2014, 2015, 2016 etc
Within each of those folders I create 12 folders - one for each month of the year. Make sure you number the folders so that they appear in order eg. 1 January, 2 February, 3 March, 4 April etc.
*You can go a step further and create events within each month for your photos to be sorted into. This is completely up to you. You might like to have specific folders for birthdays, holidays, photos of the kids etc. The benefit of doing this and naming the folders specifically is that you can use the search function in future to find a particular set of photos if you've forgotten the year/month they were taken.
Before sorting your images into your folders and in order to arrange all of your images by the date, click on ‘Date Modified/Created’ in the top bar. (This is on a Mac, for PC it will be 'Date' or 'Sort By' and then 'Date'.) You can then select a whole day/event/month of images and put those images into the correct folder that you've created in your folder system.
TIP If you want to select all the photos for a certain month, click first photo taken in that month, hold down the shift key and click the last photo in the month. That will select photos for that entire month and you can then drag and drop them into the right folder.
Time to cull!
Cull your images! This is tough and the more you do it, the better you’ll get. I suggest culling as you go. You want to keep the images that make you feel something, elicit a strong memory of the moment and that tell a part of your story.
Hands up if you take 10 photos of the same moment in order to get the winning shot.. You don’t need all 10! And when it comes to printing photo books, you’ll appreciate not being overwhelmed with the same photo 10 times over.
During this process you can also delete any duplicates you find, photos you've accidentally taken of the ground or the ones that people have their eyes shut in.
If this feels too much for you, don't worry about it for now. You can start the culling process with the photos you take going forward.
Back it up!
Back them up! Have your photos saved in AT LEAST 2 places. I am a back up machine and always have all my photos and videos in 3 places.
I suggest using a cloud and/or another hard drive kept in a different location.
I use the 3-2-1 strategy for saving all of my files.
3 total copies of your data
2 of which are local but are on different devices (for example, your computer and a hard drive)
1 copy at a different location (I used cloud based storage for this option. If my hard drives at home fail, are stolen or I lose them in a house fire, I know my files are safe)
Now keep it up - you've got this!
Mark it on the calendar, put it in your diary - you're going to organise and back up your photos the first week of every month. (If you're not a huge photo taker maybe it's ok for you to do it every couple of months) The important thing is to block out some time and get into a routine with it. Your monthly backup will be an absolute breeze compared to the stella work you've already done!
Final thoughts/ramblings from me.
You did not work this hard organising your photos for them to be sitting on a hard drive forever.
I am so passionate about encouraging people to print their photos. Make photo books, photo albums and hang pictures on the walls of your home.
If you want some motivation for printing your photos, I've done a little write up of why it's important along with some printing tips. You can find that HERE
Taking better photos of your kids.
Such a big part of the overwhelm of organising photos is the sheer number of them. If you can become more intentional about the photos you take and cull as you go, it will reduce the stress of organising them going forward. I've written a guide all about taking better photos of your kids. If you sign up to my very friendly and fun, non spammy mailing list, I'll send it straight to your inbox. GET THE GUIDE
Please DM or email me anytime with questions or if you are in need of motivation.
I really want to help you with this!
Family and Newborn Photography and Films
Melbourne and Beyond!