Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How Do You Organize Your Photos?

I am in the process of reorganizing my photos. Again. This has been an ongoing battle for me.

It all started when I got my first camera when I was about 10. It was a 110. Remember those? Point, click, wind the film with your thumb. Yeah, I’m that old. I started a photo album and carefully documented each photo. My Type-A tendencies were already showing themselves.

At some point, I graduated to a 35mm camera. The only problem was that it was huge. As in, I pretty much needed a suitcase to carry the thing around. But oh, having a 35mm camera was so much cooler than the old 110. I continued putting my photos into an album, sort of documenting who was in the photos and what the occasion was.

And then in 1994-1996 I tried my hand at scrapbooking. Everyone was starting to get creative with their photos and I thought I’d give it a shot. And? I hated it. The whole thing was time consuming and with my perfectionism issues, I almost drove myself nuts.

After that, I went back to putting photos in albums, writing on the backs of them for documentation’s sake, but not adding anything extra.

This continued until about 2000, when I got weary of trying to put everything in albums and just started filing the pictures by date in a photo box. It wasn’t like I kept the albums out to look over anyway. They sat on a shelf or in a closet (or in a box in a closet!) because we’d moved across the country twice within a year and moved again about 18 months later. (We’ve lived in this house six years. The entire time we’ve been here, all our old photo albums have been in a box in the spare room/guest room/Caedmon’s closet.)

Clearly I am the least sentimental person on the planet.

At some point while we lived in Texas, I decided it was time to put our wedding photos in albums. It was at least 3 years after we’d gotten married. So I put all the photos into an album and “scrapbooked” a special wedding album. I used the quotation marks because I went back and looked at that album the other day when I pulled everything out of the closet…and yeah…the term scrapbooked needs to be used loosely with that album. Very loosely.

In 2003 we got a digital camera and life has never been the same. We rarely print photos. For a while I was very good about saving our photos to a disc and storing them in the fire safe on a regular basis. Now we back them up to our networked hard drive. But I haven’t stayed on top of them very well in the last three years. When you start taking a thousand pictures a month of the cutest kid in the world, it’s hard to edit down the crap photos and keep the good ones. Also, it takes time…of which I do not have a lot.

So this is where I need your help. First, how do you organize your physical photos? Are they in albums? Boxes? Files? Have you scanned them to disc and trashed them?

Second, what’s your method for editing down your digital photos to keep only the good ones and your preferred method of storage? Do you rename your photos, or do you leave the name the camera assigns them? How do you know who, what, when, and where the photos were taken?

What do you do with larger photos – ones that don’t really fit anywhere? Things like old family photos, etc. that you don’t want to get rid of, but they just don’t have a good home anymore?

Bottom line, I’m tired of albums that we never look at taking up quality storage space. I’m ready for the three (yes, three) boxes of photo albums to be gone. I can’t get rid of the photos, and I don’t want to. But I do want them stored in a better manner. One that’s not damaging to the photos and where I can still easily locate and identify them.

Any ideas and suggestions are appreciated. I am so over this project and I just started. Probably not a good sign.

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  1. I have about half of my printed photos in boxes the other scrapbooked in albums. All the digital ones that we've taken are on the computer and hard drives. Some have been burned on DVD's and put in the safe deposit box.
    My suggestion to you is to make digital photo books. All you have to do is put them in the book and have it printed then you can write in what each photo was about. They don't take much space and they look like books, so instead of a box of photos or albums you can put these on a bookcase with your other books.
    I have big plans to do that myself, but they do take a little time, and cost a little more than a box or an album. BUT they look really nice and you can have multiple copies made for family and friends if you want.

  2. I agree with the last commenter!! I make digital books for each of my 8 children each year!! I am a new follower! Would love for you to check out my blog and follow back!

  3. Anonymous12:21 PM

    I "try" to immediately rename my files with a new format when I copy them to my computer. For example, on my computer in "My Pictures" I have a folder named "2010", within that folder I would have another named "011110-EBday", and all the images in that folder are named "011110-EBday-xxx" where "xxx" is sequential. We have an extra hard drive set up to mirror our data just for backups, this is done automatically to save time - and then at the end of the year, I may archive some data to DVDs or offload to an external drive. Briana

  4. I have many photos in boxes also. I try to take a few at a time in no particular order and scrapbook them....slowly. My newer photos I store online and once a year when I go to a scrapbooking weekend, I upload about a hundred of the best ones and attempt to scrapbook them all during that weekend. It is a hardcore scrappers weekend in which people scrap book to all hours of the night. The scrapping room at the hotel is available 24/7 It is great fun and functional! Best of Luck!

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