If I asked you where your photos of your children are, what would your answer be? I guess that you would probably say they’re mostly on your phone, and that you have a few on a memory card in your camera as well. You’d also remember you have some saved on a computer or two, as well as ones taken by friends and family sent to you via Facebook, email and Instagram. Then you’d recall the ones still on your old phone, waiting for you to transfer them to your computer when you get 10 minutes to spare.
The average person takes 150 new photos every month. Take into account the impact that having a baby has on the number of photos you take, and I guess you’re taking a lot more than that. When you want to find a particular photo, you have to sift through dozens, hundreds or (if you’re like me) thousands of photos. Most people take pictures then leave them on their cameras and mobiles, and only access them when needed – to share on Instagram or send to friends and family. As a result, many photos get lost and memories are gone forever.
So, what can you do to keep your pictures organized? Our key tips will help take the stress out of organizing your pictures.
Tip #1 – Label your photos
This is the equivalent of writing on the back of a printed picture. The difference with digital images is you can instantly search through these labels and find related photos. Add your child’s name to a couple of photos and you can then search by name to see other photos of your child. Your phone can also search by the location where the photo was taken, and other photos other features of the photo (try searching highchair, cat or wine). It’s like having your own internal search engine for your pictures.
Tip #2 – Delete, delete, delete
Phones and digital cameras are great because you can take as many pictures as you want until you run out of storage space. But do you really need 18 photos of your child in the same pose? Although you may want to save many photos of the same subject, there are some you’ll probably never want – pictures that are out of focus, pictures of your kids with their eyes closed, unintentional shots of your hand or the inside of your bag. Start a routine that keeps just the photos you actually want.
Tip #3 – Align Your Time
Check the date and time on your camera, these settings can slip over time. While some cameras update themselves as the clocks change, many don’t. When the time and date is correct all the photos taken at the same time will appear next to each other in your photo library. This is especially important when you’re downloading photos from two or more sources. This could be your digital camera and smartphone, or when you’re downloading photos from a friend. With the correct date and timestamps, photos taken at the same time of the same subject will appear next to each other in your photo library, making it easier to browse to find your favorite photos.
Tip #4 – Preserve Those Memories
No matter where your photos are, you need to make sure you have them backed up. Phones get lost / dropped down the toilet, computer hard drives die. All electronic equipment fails at some point, and you don’t want to lose your precious photos with it. Your backup must be on a different device otherwise it is not a real backup. Two backups are even better, one of these should be in the cloud or out of the house. An automatic backup system is even better, then you know your precious memories are always safe.
Tip #5 – Start Your New System Now
If you currently have thousands of unorganized photos you’re not going to get them organized straight away. The best way to approach the task is to establish a system today that works how you want it to. All photos you take from not on follow the new system. When you have 5 minutes go back and organise what you can of your existing photos.
Organising photos might not be as exciting as learning how to capture beautiful images of your children. It is however as, if not more, important. With a little thought and attention you can make sure your memories are safe and easy to find.