April 14, 2019 – Latest Update
IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO BE OVERWHELMING TO ORGANIZE PHOTOS. YOU WILL NEVER AGAIN HAVE TO SEARCH FOR HOURS FOR A PICTURE IF YOU FOLLOW THIS PLAN TO ORGANIZE ALL OF YOUR FAMILY PHOTOS!
Do you have a decent strategy in place for organizing your photos?
Let me venture a guess. 8000 old images are put in a box with no rhyme or reason and no means to find the one you’re looking for quickly. There are many copies. But the person you’re looking for is never easy to find.
Your approach for organizing digital photos isn’t much better in the interim. Every picture you’ve ever shot from the day you got your first iPhone is in an infinite stream on your phone.
All across your PC are pictures. Some of them are organized into folders, but many more are simply thrown together in one big pile, perhaps in My Documents or even on your desktop. There are no labels.
Am I near?
No way, not for me. I’d never be able to function like that!
I’m Lory from Designthusiasm , and I’m thrilled to be a guest blogger on Designer Trapped today to discuss how I made my crazily orderly photo storage system.
Let me begin by mentioning that I typically have an obsession with organization in all facets of my life. My clothing are neatly folded into color-coordinated stacks, and my earrings are kept in separate bead box chambers that are also color-coordinated. But regardless of how motivated you are to maintain organization, I believe the tips I’ll be sharing with you today will be helpful.
TACTICS FOR ORGANIZING PHOTOS IN PERSON Let’s start with where old images are physically kept. The finest system, in my opinion, is the simplest one because you’re more likely to stick with it. I also believe that having the appropriate storage bins and a simple maintenance system in place is essential for maintaining organization. It is simple to put something back if it has a place to go. You won’t follow through if your photo categorization method is very complicated.
I figured out years ago that this means storing printed photos in their original envelopes so you always had the negatives with them and organizing them chronologically in photo boxes. To file them in chronological order, I simply put the date and the event on the TOP of the envelope (the part that folds over) so I can see it when I open the box. The easiest way to find what you’re looking for requires the least amount of work.
I also maintain the boxes in date order and identify the outside of the box with the year (on the end that will be facing outward). Don’t undervalue the impact of having standardized containers. It gives your filing system a visual sense of order and makes it simpler to find what you’re searching for fast, while it’s not strictly necessary. The kraft boxes I used are the ideal size and are still widely available for purchase. They were created specifically for photo storage. Purchase more than you require. People still print digital images, and having extras is convenient for a collection that keeps growing.
An important piece of advice is that usually every box contains an envelope marked “assorted images from that year.” This envelope is crucial for storing those unique images that you received, removed from an old frame, or just can’t find the original folder for. Even though you might in some cases have to estimate the year when looking for the photo, the one-offs nevertheless have a place to live. If you used them, they were probably some of your favorites.
In order to encourage upkeep, I like to keep the boxes in an area that is easily accessible. Ours are located next to a table and chairs in a bookcase in our finished basement. I’ve looked through these bins several times in search of photos, and I always appreciate finding them quickly.
Let’s speak about showing images first before I discuss my approach for organizing digital photos. What use is it to take images if you can only view them on a little phone screen?
Since they take up more room than the small photographs merit, I’ve never been a fan of large, thick photo albums. But what about picture books produced by digital websites? That is a system I can genuinely support. There are numerous services that will accomplish what I’ve created in iPhoto.
These make wonderful gifts, and I love to make them around a specific theme, vacation, or special event. You can customize the book however you wish using the online tool after uploading your images. Although most businesses offer a selection of pre-made layouts, if you’re particularly tech-savvy you can usually alter them quite a bit.
As a consequence, you will receive a hardcover book in the mail. These books look stunning when they are exhibited on a coffee table or shelf.
You can trim or expand your photos with the editing software. I prefer including language that not only describes the subject but also quotes that provide context and additional significance.
I usually write a book about each of my favorite vacation spots, but I’ve also written memory books for our kids to receive at school graduations, gift books for grandparents of their grandchildren, and even a cookbook for a friend whose mother had passed away, complete with pictures of food and family.
The books are kept in our family room on a table. They are little and attractive, and visitors frequently leaf through them.
Of course, I still enjoy placing pictures in lovely frames about our house, and I particularly enjoy grouping them for a stronger visual impact.
TIPS FOR ORGANIZING DIGITAL PHOTOS I’d want to offer my approach for storing photo files nevertheless, as the majority of us now do so. The main objective is to be able to find what you’re seeking for as quickly as possible, just like with physical images. Always keep in mind that the key to organization is having a place for everything and a container to store it. That translates into folders when it comes to organizing digital photos, thus I use them frequently!
For those using PCs, I’ll explain how I organize things without iPhoto at the conclusion of the post since I originally put up this system before I switched to a Mac. But despite forcing iPhoto (now called Photos) to fit into the framework I had previously created because I’m a visual person, I do love using it.
Creating and naming folders and using albums to cross-reference images are the two key components of my file storage system.
Let’s start with my naming scheme because it’s essential to keeping my organization organized despite technological advancements and software modifications. Most importantly, I want to organize my images according to my preferences rather than simply by the date they were posted. For instance, I prefer to scan the best copies of my old photos, and I want to file them according to the date they were taken, not the date they were scanned. As a result, I always name my folders with the actual date of the event, using the option to sort by title, to push them into chronological order. I always start with the year and then the month to make sure they appear in the correct order. I append a 0 in front of single-digit months so that December doesn’t end before May. (because the 1 from 12 comes before 5 in file management).
I use this naming scheme to make sure that all of my dated event images appear in the desired sequence.
What about pictures, though, that you don’t want organized by date?
That’s easy. I simply label the folder with the name I would use to find it rationally, and those folders are organized alphabetically. As an illustration, I have folders organized by year for each of my children, and I identify them by name in the title to keep them all together. So I don’t have to comb through all of my images to attempt to identify them by date if I’m looking for a picture of my daughter because the folders are all gathered together. (See my list of cross references below.)
An extensive network of cross-referencing is the second important component of my digital photo management method. My images are originally stored in a folder that I have named and organized as previously mentioned. You can also create albums. In iPhoto, they are known as Events (and in the Photos app, they are now known as Moments). I cross-reference my images in the albums so that I can always find them using criteria more than just the event’s date. For me, that is typically determined by who is in the picture, but you can create it anyway you want to browse for pictures.
So, for instance, let’s assume I upload my images into a folder designated by date and event and invite relatives around for a holiday dinner. I might also browse the pictures, choose out the ones of my family members, and then drag a copy of each picture into a separate album. In this way, I always know where to look for a photo of a specific family member or any other combination that I usually look for.
In the sidebar of the picture below, you can see how particular I am when using certain combos. You might not require all of the options, but if you’ve ever wasted an entire evening trying to find a picture of you and your children, you’ll understand why I take a few seconds to update these albums each time I add a new event to my collection. Opening an album and finding ten years’ worth of images of just you and your husband together is amazing, right? or all four of you together? or just a parent and son or mother and daughter? Or?
The screenshot below demonstrates how I put up the identical photo categorization system in my standard document files for those of you on PC who don’t have access to iPhoto or Photos.
I use a method quite similar to this, although much simpler, for the images I keep on my phone. How often have you been with someone who combed through countless years’ worth of pictures on their phone in search of a snapshot of their dog to show you? I constantly wonder, “Why don’t you just put your images in albums?” as they scroll away.
On my phone, I have a lot fewer albums, but they are all organized using the same rationale. I can do this so I can download my favorite pictures to my phone and bring them with me.
So, if someone wants to view a picture of my son, they can see all the best moments from over the years in one location!
Organization of photos is ultimately all about efficiency and logic. Spending a little bit of time now will save you a lot of time later. Then you can devote more time to creating the moments you want to capture on camera!
What about the colored sweaters I organize into tidy stacks? Visit my blog Designthusiasm and read the posts on organizing and decorating below if you want to learn more about those topics and others.