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Gather and Organize (Photos)

Gather and Organize (Photos)-Featured Image-PP

The other day, I dropped my phone and the screen cracked. Interesting that what I think about most with my phone is pictures. Changing phones is a pain anyway, but the pictures seem to be the thing we always want to make sure moves over. That inspires this week’s article about keeping all these pictures straight…

Gather and Organize (Photos)

To really enjoy going through your travel pictures (or any other pictures for that matter), there needs to be a sense of organization and order so you can focus on looking at the pictures rather than trying to find them in a lot of disparate locations.

I typically take thousands of pictures on each trip, plus I have all the family photos through the years with the kids. I used to do a lot of scrapbooking and getting all my digital photos organized became a necessity to create the type of albums and stories I wanted.

I’ve collected a lot of tips and ideas that I wanted to share regarding photo organization – here are a few best practices:
1. Have one ‘home’ for all digital photos – if your pictures are scattered between computer, cloud, phone, you lose them. All photos, no matter how you took them or where they land when you take them (ie, gallery on your phone, in the camera roll on iPad, etc), need to moved to one central place that you use for all your photos. Often the best place is a folder on your main computer or an external hard drive. The key is that ALL pictures land there, no matter how you took them.

2. Wherever you store the pictures, make sure that you have them backed up. I’m paranoid so I have them synced to a cloud service, but every year I also copy the whole set of pics to a flash drive to have another backup

3. Have a consistent naming format that makes it easy to find your pictures. A typical method is to use year folders, with subfolders broken down by family member or trip name, depending on what you are organizing. The way you organize will likely vary at different stages of your life.

When the kids were young and there were a lot of activities for each of them, I’d have folders with the year and then their names, and then a year-family folder to activities that applied to the whole family (see the example from 2004 under Year and Family Member).

Now the folders are more related to the trips during the year (see under Year with Trip Subfolder). If you like to see things in chronological order, one way to improve that method is to put the month and year in front of the name of the trip, such as 03-2019 Tahiti. Within each trip, I create subfolders by the day and/or location to make it easier to find certain photos. If there was a certain visit or excursion where I took a lot of pictures, I’ll create another subfolder within the day folder.

These are some examples of how to organize the folders, but ultimately you want to create a folder and naming structure that is easy to understand and makes sense for your situation.

There are a lot more tips available if you start googling, but I have found those three things are the common themes: 1) All photos in one place, 2) Backup, 3) Create a folder organization structure.

Even though organizing isn’t as much fun as creating an album or slideshow, you do get to review pictures as you sort and create structure, so it can be an enjoyable experience, plus there is the reward of the feeling of satisfaction when you have it all in one place with a logical order.