Organizing your photos

How many times have you made the New Year’s resolution that you are going to organize your photos? I have shoe boxes full of loose prints from when my kids were growing up. Now my oldest is 30! I don’t have as many personal photos as you might think. It’s like the old adage about the shoemaker’s son with no shoes. I remember showing up to the kindergarten play only to realize that I forgot my camera and had to ask a friend if they would take some photos for me (this is before cell phones).  Here are my top tips for organizing your photos.

  1. Decide what your goal is. Do you want to make albums? Do you just want a digital archive for future generations? Are you going to create a wall gallery?
  2. Gather all of your photos into one place. Plug your phone into your computer and transfer all of your photos into a folder. If you have digital files in the cloud or on another hard drive, put those into the same folder.
  3. Let the sorting and culling begin! Think of the advice of Marie Kondo, the author of “The Magic of Tidying”. If it brings you joy, keep it. If it doesn’t, let it go. Her book is wonderful and is available at and . I would like to add that if the photo tells an essential part of your story, keep it. Eliminate duplicates and poor quality photos. You may want to enlist the help of a good friend or family member to keep you on task here. This process can take a while. Don’t give up!
  4. Scan your prints that you want digitized. There are plenty of services that will do this for you. ,  and are three of them.

I prefer to go somewhere local so I don’t have to mail my precious photos away. on Central Parkway is the place to go in Cincinnati.

  1. Add your scanned photos to your folder. At this point you may want to make folders and put things in chronological order. If you don’t remember the exact date a photo was taken just categorize them by year as best you can. You may also want to rename the photos according to the year you think they were taken. Don’t get too bogged down with this step. It’s easy to get stuck and give up if you complicate things too much.
  2. Now, BACK UP your photos. I use an external hard drive that automatically backs up every day. You may want to put everything on a flash drive as well. Now you can delete the photos from your phone.
  3. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP OF ALL- PRINT! Digital media is not forever. Formats change, hard drives crash, things get lost. (Remember zip discs?) IF YOU LOVE A PHOTO, PRINT IT. Make albums or just print everything in a 4x6 proof size and put them into old fashioned photo albums Yes, you can still buy them!
  4. It all sounds like a lot of work but it is worth it! Ask someone to help you with the culling and editing so you stay on track. Robin Imaging offers a workshop on Digital photography backup and organizing. The best part is that they can also archive your film images. When you need professional help, this is the place to go!  Good Luck and let me know how it goes.

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