8 steps to organizing your photos

8 steps to organizing your photos

8 steps to organizing your photos

Photographs are important. They connect us to our past, they remind us of people, places and events from our past, they are our living history. In our lifetimes, we will all live through many special events, meet, know and see many special people and experience many special moments. When we are babies and children, our parents will document our first smile, first step, first haircut, first birthday, first day at school. As teenagers and young adults, we will take photographs to remembers friends, first loves, school events, holidays. As we grow older; graduations, weddings, births of our own children….and then the cycle repeats.

In 2014, according to Mary Meeker's annual Internet Trends report, people uploaded an average of 1.8 billion digital images every single day to social media and messenger channels. That's 657 billion photographs per year. Another way to think about it: Every two minutes, humans take more photographs than ever existed in total 150 years ago.

So how do we keep track of all these photographs? Read on for an eight-step solution to organising your photographs.

1. Identifying where you keep your photographs

The first step to organising your photographs is to find them all. Let’s be honest, most of us have photographs scattered all over the house, in various electronic devices and even in different houses across the world. We have them tucked into old shoeboxes, into old photograph albums that we left at our parents’ house, in the attic, in the basement, in the hall cupboard…and those are just the old ones. More recent photographs are on your phone, your iPad, on your current laptop and also on the last two laptops that you had which are in the hall cupboard, on hard drives, on WhatsApp, on Instagram, on Facebook. We have photographs everywhere.

Identifying where you keep your photographs

We need an inventory of where all our photographs are. Start by creating a list of places where you remember storing photographs, and add a note labelling them as hard or soft copy. Call up your parents and ask them to check their storage for any boxes of your photographs. Look around the house, in the garage, to make sure that you have identified all the places where photographs are stored.

2. Digitising photographs

The second step is to digitise all your photographs. The benefits of digitising photographs are:

Digitising photographs

  • Improved quality – once photographs are digitised, you can adjust colors digitally and fix scratches, fold marks, and other damage.

  • Ability to share – it is far, far easier to share digitised photographs with friends and family. No matter where your loved ones are, you can easily send a digitised photograph to them in an instant, with the press of a button

  • Preservation - digital photographs can easily be copied and stored in different locations, which makes them more durable and increases their chances of survival, in the event of flood or fire.

Digitising photographs also has the advantage of reducing the clutter of storing hard copy photographs, centralising all the photographs and will give you greater enjoyment because it will be much easier to go through all your photographs on an electronic device rather than blowing the cobwebs off boxes of old, faded photographs.

There are three main ways to digitise your photographs:

  1. Scanning photographs at home – this is time consuming but free and can easily be done using a scanner or a scanner app (don’t use your camera, the quality will not be as good).

  2. Using a digitising app – Google’s Photographscan is one of the best or you could try apps such as Photo Scanner Plus by Photomyne for iOS ($1.99), Photo Scan App by Photomyne for Android (Subscription required), Memories by IdeaSolutions for iOS (Free) or Pic Scanner by AppInitio Ltd. for iOS ($3.99)

  3. Using a photograph digitising service – this is easy and convenient but of course, bears a significant cost, depending on how many photographs you have.

3. Centralising photographs

Once you have digitised all your photographs, you will be more easily able to centralise them in one place. It is highly advisable to use a single storage device and remember to backup, backup, backup.

Centralising photographs

Centralising photographs will make it easier for you to identify duplicates, bad photographs (red eye or blurred), and you will be able to streamline and refine your collection. Centralising your photographs is the first step to organising them into a structure and format which will make it easy for you and others to view them.

4. Organising Photographs

The organisation of your photographs is about personal choices. You may want to organise them chronologically or around a person or an event. It is best to organise into albums and with digital albums, you are able to add notes, captions and even a story to each album and photograph.

Organising Photographs

Whichever way you organise them, make sure the labels are clear and that they make sense to you and that will continue to make sense in a few years.

5. Photograph organizing software

There are different ways of organising your photographs. The easiest and most convenient is to use photo organising software which, once you have set the parameters, will do all the hard work for you.

Photograph organizing software

According to canto.com, the 7 best photograph organising software programmes are:

  1. Zoner Photo Studio

  2. Canto DAM

  3. digiKam

  4. Magix Photo Manager

  5. Google Photographs

  6. Faststone Image Viewer

  7. SmugMug

6. Prioritising photographs (identify your best photographs and memories)

Part of centralising and organising your photographs is prioritising your best photographs. As you go through all your photographs, you should label ‘special’ photographs that are particularly meaningful to you, and make notes/captions detailing why, what, when, where and who.

This process will ensure you remember the circumstances around that favourite photograph and enable you to access your favourite photographs at the click of a button. This will add to your personal enjoyment and also make it easier to share with friends and family.

7. Create a process for storing new photographs

Once you have digitised, centralised, organised and prioritised your photographs, you must create a process for storing all new photographs. Without a clear, consistent process, you will end up back at the beginning. Depending on the organisation software you use, you will need to be disciplined about following the new structure until it becomes a habit. Remind yourself that you are doing this for your own enjoyment, and to make it easier to share all your happy memories with loved ones.

8. Use a Memories page to present your best photographs

Memories is transforming the way the world celebrates a life well-lived, with a global community creating a digital legacy to inspire family and friends for generations to come.

A Memories page offers an ad-free, private and secure space to safeguard and share memories of the people, places, moments and milestones that matter the most.

The platform is a vault, visual timeline and digital memory box to future-proof and preserve your family history so it can be enjoyed by your children’s children.

How it works

Start creating a Memories page and control who is given access to view and edit the content.

Memories guarantee personal information will remain secure, with customer data never sold to advertisers or third parties.

Subscriptions keep Memories ad-free, help moderate content and support web hosting services.