Collect All the Photos
I had personal photos strewn throughout the virtual universe—on my phone, within emails sent from friends, on CDs I’d purchased for school photos and such, on my point and shoot memory card, on my computer desktop, within random folders on my computer…you get the idea.
It can be overwhelming, but it really doesn’t have to be.
Write down all of the places where the photos are coming in, if you have to. Here are some ideas where those photos might be lurking:
- The “big” camera memory card
- Point & shoot camera memory card
- Places on your computer where you’ve dumped memory cards when they were full
- That time when you dumped your memory card photos on the laptop because you were in a hurry
- Your phone
- Spouse’s phone
- iPads and tablets
- Photos in emails from friends
- Photos in texts from friends
- Photos of your kid that your friends tagged you in on Facebook
- School photo CDs
- Lollipop photo gallery emails
- CDs from other photographers
- Theme park and santa photo downloads you’ve purchased
To start getting organized, you need to collect all the photos and get them in one place.
(And do this on a regular basis…put a reminder on your calendar if you have to!)
Where the Photos Live
I put all of these random photos into a folder labeled—wait for it—“Personal Photos” within My Pictures on my computer’s hard drive.
Really original, I know.
I keep things organized by year, so only the current year’s photos are in the folder on my computer hard drive…the rest are on my archival backup system, which we’ll get into in tomorrow’s post.
I use a current year/archival method of storing my photos because I simply have too many photos to be stored on my computer hard drive.
Put simply: I take too many photos. It would capsize my hard drive.
Additionally, I don’t need to access my personal photos from, say, 2011 on a regular basis (but I do have a system to access my favorites, which I’ll tell you about in a future article).
You may not have this problem and it’s totally fine if you want to store every photo you’ve ever taken on one drive.
But if you’re running into a situation where you’re running out of memory on a regular basis, you might want to think about having an archival hard drive, in addition to storing your current photos on your computer hard drive.
One other thing to keep in mind…if you’re dealing with years worth of photos that haven’t been organized, the process below is the same, but you may want to sort them out by year and deal with them one year at a time.
Let’s Get Organized!
As I mentioned yesterday, I’m a bit of an organizational freak.
- My Google calendar is color-coded and synced to every device in my house, including my husband’s phone.
- My linens are folded and organized into a system that Martha Stewart herself would be proud of.
- My to do list is categorized, sorted by priority and deadline, and—yes—there are little tick boxes next to each list item.
- My client photos are meticulously cataloged by date, name and session type.
You would think my personal photos would be similarly organized.
You would be wrong.
Theoretically, my photos are put into perfectly labeled folders that are chronologically labeled by date and event so they would be easy to find, just like my client files. That system would look like this in my personal photo folder:
- 2014-8-19 First Day of School
- 2014-10-20 Cub Scout Spooky Pack Meeting
- 2014-11-9 Grandparents Day at School
- 2014-11-27 Thanksgiving
In practice, I’m not perfect at labeling my personal photo folders, mostly because over the years, I’ve gone from only breaking out the camera at “events” to pulling out my phone and snapping a pic at every opportunity.
So, my beautiful organizational system kinda goes off the rails when a photo doesn’t fit into an “event” folder, or I forget the date of an event and I’m too lazy to look it up when I’m dumping my camera, or it’s just too much to deal with to sort through at the time of said camera dump.
I’m gonna show you what my 2014 personal photos folder looks like (cringe):
Obviously, it’s not perfect.
And I’ve decided…it’s okay.
In the words of Elsa, I’m letting it go.
There are definitely lots of exceptions, but for the most part, my personal photos are in chronologically labeled folders within the “Personal” folder on My Pictures.
And the most important part is that ALL of the photos of my family from 2014 are all in there.
So…there…I just gave you permission that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
It just has to be.
Go get all of your photos collected in one spot, then come back tomorrow for Part 3: Back that Mass Up.