Do you remember your parents having shoe boxes full of unorganized photos- or worse yet, your grandparents having boxes of slides stacked up in their basement? Years and years of family memories longing for someone to take on the daunting task of organizing them. Sadly, in the digital age we now live in, this problem has not gone away. It may have even gotten worse.
Ask yourself this- when was the last time you did anything with the hundreds of photos on your iPhone? Printed them? Transferred them to your computer? Made sure they are backed up?
And those images on your computer- are they organized in a way that allows you to find what you are looking for? Do you have photos in multiple places on your computer? Are you hoping they are all magically backed up in "The Cloud" if your computer were to ever crash?
As a professional photographer, you may assume I am great at this- but I am guilty, too. With two young children and thousands of memories I never want to lose- I am trying to be better. Here are some ways I am trying to be more organized, and hopefully these tips will help you too.
1. Make one folder on your computer that holds all of your family photos. No more guessing if those vacation pictures are in iPhoto, some random place on your desktop, or in some hidden subfolder that you don't even know about.
2. Within the main folder, create a folder for each event and label each folder with a date and a description. Start with the year to ensure that everything stays in order. Example: 2017-4-2 Grace's 3rd Birthday. If you are taking photos on a DSLR- name your files this way too.
3. Make sure you are regularly transferring photos from your phone to your computer. I'm not going to lie, "The Cloud" confuses me. I am technologically challenged. I really was just hoping that all my photos on my phone were magically being backed up. Turns out, they weren't. Make sure you check!
4. Back everything up. It's not a question of IF your phone or computer will die, it is when. I back my computer up with an external hard drive and I also store all photos online as well.
5. Print your photos! I design a professional album of our best photos for each year. These are the heirlooms I know my children will be fighting over someday. In fact, I've recently been thinking that I should actually print two copies of each album so that they can each have one. My 3 year old already LOVES looking at the albums and is always requesting to look at the "Baby Gracie Book." I hope that many of you will invest in professional portraits and quality albums, but even if you don't- please still print your photos. Someday (when that CD is as obsolete as a floppy disk) your children will be so glad that you did.
I realize that going back through all of your old photos and trying to organize them is a daunting task. It is for me, too. And while I have gotten through a ton of them- I am still not finished. The best thing you can do is start being more organized going forward, and chip away at the old photos little by little. I hope these tips help you, and if you have other methods that have helped you keep your digital photos organized, I would love to hear them!
If you are overdue for updated professional family portraits, I would love to help! I still have some availability this summer and fall, so contact me now to get your session booked :)