Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Organizing All Those Photos

Creative Memories offers the best albums ever made for preserving your stories and photos.
But, CM advisors understand that before you can even think about making a scrapbook or photo album, you have to find all your pictures. 

These days, that can be a real challenge.  Because of digital photography, we’re no longer limited to 24 exposures on a roll of film, and friends, we take a LOT of pictures.  Photos hang out on your phone, camera, PC, hard drive and laptop, plus online, on share sites and social media.  There’s a good chance that they’re disorganized, undated, and that no one has ever seen them (I’m sorry, are you depressed now?) They have to be rescued!

Once you find all your photos, you need to organize them in some way.  It’s a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before and have years or decades or a lifetime of photos to go through.

Obviously, I’m not the first person to realize this is an issue.  In recent years, many software companies, online retailers and app developers have taken on the photo-organizing dilemma, offering all kinds of solutions.  My purpose in today’s post is not to advertise or promote any of them, but to help you think about how to organize all those photos so you can get them into albums (whether it’s a photo book you make online, a scrapbook or other type of photo album).

I’m also not going to preach about actually printing your photos, although that’s what you SHOULD do. Hop on over to CM advisor Diana Brinsley's Memory Keeping Blog for her sage advice on that topic.  While you’re there, check out her other posts – she’s brilliant at creating clean, uncluttered and attractive page layouts!

 So, here we go:
1.      Decide how you’re going to this: on your computer, or online. You can organize on your computer using a software program, a built-in program or simply by using files.  Online, there are numerous websites that allow you to upload, organize and save your photos.  Almost all charge a fee based on how much storage you need.  One thing to note about these websites: begin with the end in mind – if you want to ultimately make a photo book or order prints, be sure the company offers that service, or you will end up doing double work by having to upload photos to another website!  (Been there/done that.)

**If you exclusively take photos with your phone, you may want to skip the PC/software route and just upload them to a website or app.  There are some great apps for iPhone and Android that allow you to upload right from your phone, and then go to a computer later to edit, organize and create your project or prints.  Others let you order directly from the app.

If you take more photos with a camera, if you like advanced editing tools, or if you just need a bigger screen to work with, using your laptop or PC is the way to go.

2.      Gather all your pictures in one place.  (If you only have photos on your phone, and are uploading to a website or app, skip to step 3!)

  -From a camera: transfer them from the camera or memory card onto your computer. Start editing using your program, OR upload to a website. (Example: Say you transfer some photos from your memory card to computer; you can put them in a file on your desktop and then upload them to your chosen photo website to do the editing.)

-From your phone or tablet: transfer photos to the computer using your charging cord (there is typically a USB plug on one end) or simply upload to your chosen website.

-From social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.): download onto your computer and add to your program or a file. If you are using an online service, you may be able to transfer photos right from social media.

-From older prints, which you may want to include in an album, or simply save a copy of: Scan onto your computer and upload to website if desired.  

3.      This next step is painful, but necessary:  Editing.  Look through all of your photos and delete any that are blurry, bad, or superfluous (do you really need 4 pictures of the Chicago skyline? Pick the best and delete the rest).  You can also crop photos during this step, or make use of enhancement features that are available on your program or website (filters, red-eye reduction, touchups).

4.      Make yourself another cup of coffee.

5.      Decide how to divvy up all the photos, again with end in mind.  Do you intend to make scrapbooks or digital albums?  If so, what kind?  A yearly album of all your photos?  One for baby’s first year?  Or maybe something less complicated, like a big vacation or special Christmas events. Sometimes it's helpful to make an old-fashioned list (with a pencil & paper) of all the projects you want to do. 

Photo software and online programs usually have organizational tools – now would be the time to use those!  These may include folders, tags, facial recognition, rating systems, and a place to add a caption.  You may even be able to change the date, if the setting on your camera was wrong. (IF THAT IS TRUE, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND GO FIX THE DATE AND TIME ON YOUR CAMERA. Ok. Good.)  

You should be able to add any photo to more than one folder or tag – in other words, you can put a group photo under “Family” but also under “Kids.”  Set up the folders or tags that you want and give them names that make sense, for example:
Family 2011
Disney Cruise 1998
Holidays 2015
Baby Alex 2006

            ….then “file” all the photos using these labels. This will make your life much easier when it’s time to make albums, do a school project, write your memoirs, etc. etc.

6.      Back up all your pictures onto an external hard drive and/or upload them to a storage website. I do both because….well, I’m nuts. 

7.      When it’s time to print photos or make an online album, your pictures will be organized and ready to go.  Once you have this system down, try doing the process once a month, or after a big event. 

8.      Print a manageable amount of photos; ideally, just those you need for a particular project. Remember, you don't have to print all of them! Then, contact your CM advisor for a beautiful album to put them in!

For more on WHY you should print your photos, check out Diana's post by clicking here.

1 comment:

  1. Great advice, Julie! A good breakdown of what's involved with getting photos organized.