Photo Organization Tips – From Our Fans!

We asked our Facebook fans for their digital photo organization tips, and boy, did we get answers!

Here’s the top tips from our fans – do you use these strategies?

Step 1 – Get Those Photos onto the Computer!

Of course, the most important step in saving (and organizing) your digital photos is to transfer the photos from your camera or camera phone (remember to save those photos, as well!) to your computer.  But this is where the real photo organizers separate themselves from the masses.

First tip from our readers – how often do you transfer your photos?

This varies from person to person. Some followers suggest after every event, others upload once a month. But it seems that everyone agrees it is best to upload regularly – perhaps the first week of each month – to make sure you are saving those great shots on your camera. This will help prevent any accidental deletions.

Jennifer O. “I have albums by year and upload on the 1st of each month.”

Sharyn R. “I always download pictures to the computer right away.”

Next, decide how you will digitally file the hundreds of photos you take. You’ll need to pick a system that works for your photo needs – and your own search style. Many Shutterfly users organize strictly chronologically, sorting by year, then month, while highlighting specific events.

Stephanie C. “ Albums uploaded by year, month, day: 20130101.”

Cindy S. “I save them on a hard drive by year and by month, then by event…I also have a ‘just because’ folder under each month for those just because pics.”

Laura H. “My albums are divided by month and I track what I call “memorable moments” each month.”

Stephanie C. “I save my pictures by year, then month, then day.”

Others sort by events and holidays, keeping similar photos together.

Karen H. “I have a folder with each holiday/season/event (i.e. Christmas, fall, vacation). Then, within each file I have separate files, separating years (i.e. Christmas 2010, Disney 2008, etc). It took a while to get it all organized, but it has helped greatly when making albums!”

Beyond cataloging photographs into easily identifiable folders, we received tips on tagging photos for an easier search in the future.

René L.“When my son asked for copies of his photos over the years it was a daunting task – which is why I’m so committed to applying keywords to the images for the future. Now it’s simply a matter of searching for a name, or a date, or an event.”

Glenn S. “Digital tags, events and albums create multiple ways to organize and find photos.”

Step 2 – Back Up Your Files – Better Safe than Sorry!

Computers crash and accidents happen. But a well-organized photographer always makes duplicates, so even the worst crash won’t result in a loss of pictures. Here are our followers’ tips:

Keep It in the Cloud

Did you know Shutterfly offers free, unlimited photo storage?

Shelley C. “I store mine several ways so I can ensure I have many backups. I load my favorites of each event to Facebook, I make photo books regularly from Shutterfly so I have many photos on their site, I have separate folders on 2 computers for each group of people (family, daughter, friends, vacations, holidays, studio etc), and I also store photos on a 500gb external hard drive.

Ashley A. “I upload mine to Shutterfly by date, and have folders for each year.”

How About a Hard Copy?

Quite a number of our fans store their photos in triplicate (or more!) – locally on their own computer, online, and on an external hard drive or memory stick. We think it’s a great idea to have a digital copy in your own home, as well as online.

Cindy H. “[Photos are] saved to a memory stick and kept in a home safe. Safe from fire, flood, etc. Memory sticks are so small that room isn’t a problem and [they] don’t scratch like CD’s will.”

Ashley A. “I backup my photos on an external hard drive in [this] format: year>month/date>event.”

Sharyn R.  “I don’t delete from the memory card until I have backed-up the pictures either on cloud storage (Shutterfly) or a hard disk. I also put pictures onto a portable hard drive in a fireproof/ waterproof safe. That way you’re covered.”

Sruthi B. “When I upload pics from the camera to my desktop, I organize them by month and/or occasion. Then once in 4 or 6 months, I copy them on to my hard disc.”

Stephanie S. “Back up hard drive AND save to a site like Shutterfly – [you] never know when your computer might crash.”

Step 3 – Printing Your Pictures

You’ve taken the photos, you’ve saved them, and now it’s time to print. Our fans think that printing out your pictures, whether as prints, photo books, or gifts, is the best way to enjoy them. Some even gave tips on how to organize your photo books!

Laura H.  “This year I created 6 different customizable albums for 2011…each holding the max amount of photos. Each year I do the previous year as a gift to my husband.”

Karyn P. “As soon as my bright orange package arrives, I mark on the envelope the date and subject of the new photos and file them newest in the front of my photo box ready to scrapbook!”

Kerri W.  “Don’t just store them on a computer or hard drive – PRINT them. There is nothing more fun than looking through a photo album reliving your memories”

Amanda L. “I have books for the big events like our wedding, my pregnancy, our daughter’s birthday and first holidays.”

Louise T. “For 2013, I am opting for the Year in Review album. I will be uploading the pictures after each event or month, and documenting as I go. I really like the Shutterfly Year-in-Review template and look forward to my book at the end of the year.”

Latricia F. “I make a photo book each year for each of my three sons.”

Heather H. “Photo books, for each kid, for every year and vacation!!!”

Sruthi B. “Once a year, I make a yearbook. The kids, visitors, even I LOVE browsing through these yearbook collections!”

Heather B. “I make chronological photo books. I just start and keep going. Unless something is greater than a day (and could fill 20 pages itself), it’s in a book. My albums will never be just one book type, it will contain multiple styles. Kinda weird, but I like it…. It’s like a life story, and I’ve been doing it like that since 2008!!!”

Morjana D. “When my daughter was born, I made a book from when I found out I was pregnant until she was born. I included pictures from every event during my pregnancy!!”

Stacey L. “Once a year, I do a collage frame…it is our home’s art.

Ruth F. “Every year I make my Shutterfly Calender, it makes me smile!”

Starting Fresh

Feeling overwhelmed by a messy storage system? Take it slow! Even if you haven’t been diligent about organization in the past, you can start now. Then, after you are comfortable with your new method of organization, you can revisit past years. Many of our followers are setting a goal to finally organize their photos in 2013.

Mandy R.  “My goal, after getting 2012 done, is to print 2013 every 3 months (January-March, etc.) and work on previous years a bit at a time, starting with 2006, when our first child was born.”

Karen H. “Now, I’m putting together albums for ‘10, ‘09, ‘08, going backwards to get caught up. I used to scrapbook, but these photo books take up much less space and they turn out great!”

Annasa H. “I’ve been organizing my pictures for the past 12 years, which I’ve had backed up on CD and some loaded to Shutterfly. New game plan is to make a backup to external hard drive also, by year/month/event, get all albums on Shutterfly by year/month/event and shared site, and then make some photo books. [I] estimate this to be a six month project – I have over 10,000 pictures!”

Any more tips to share? We’d love to hear in the comments.

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