No More Mess: How to Organize Digital Photos

With smartphone technology, photographs and the way we capture memories have changed. Nearly 1.2 trillion photos will be taken in a year. The average person has 630 photos on his or her phone.

Do you have a lot of photos, but don’t know how to organize digital photos? Your photo library doesn’t have to be complicated with a few steps you can find your photos easily and preserve those memories.

Start With a Plan

Before you can start, you need to figure out what you want your system to do.  Do you want to just be able to find photos easy?  Do you want to make online scrapbooks?

Knowing what you want to accomplish can help you set up your game plan. If you want to do online photo scrapbooks, you will need to determine what events you want for your scrapbooks or if you want them by year, child, or event.

You will need to determine how to categorize your photos. You can organize by:

  • Year and month
  • Person
  • Special events
  • Trips

Next, you need to figure out where to store these photos. You want all your photos in one place and that includes hard copy images.

Start with your current photos to help you determine the best way to organize. Don’t worry about going back too far when you are just getting started because it can be rather overwhelming. Use this new system as you move forward, and find out if this system works for you to start grabbing and organizing those older photos.

Making Your Print Photos Digital

Like we said above, you need all the photos in the same place. You can choose to scan print photos yourself, take them to a store that has scanning machines, or send them to a service. 

You will need to figure out how many photos you have and see how long it would take you to digitize. Sending to a scanning service sounds great, but make sure you can trust that company with your printed photos.  

Choose a Landing Spot

You should store your photos online and not just on your computer. This will instantly back-up your photos, so you don’t have to worry about losing your images. You can use online photo sites like Snapfish, Shutterfly, Amazon Photos, or Google Drive.

You can also opt for storing on a cloud. You can choose a hosted private cloud to easily store your photos and share with family.

You can still store some photos on your computer in files, but make sure you upload your photos immediately to your chosen spot. Set a reminder to upload your photos once a month, so it is not so daunting.

Remove Duplicate or Bad Photos

You can take several photos with digital cameras. It’s easy to click the photo button, but you don’t need all those photos. Go through and choose your favorites.

Delete duplicates or bad photos to free up some memory. When you start organizing, you should remove all photos you don’t want like those that unflattering, out of focus, duplicate, or not important.

Name Photos

You should give your photos a name instead of the IMG_XXX. Use something descriptive so you can search for the photo. For example, beach vacation 2019 or Maya’s first day of kindergarten.

You can then figure out how to organize in folders.

Folder Organization

As you organize your photos, you can create folders. Start by creating a year folder and then insert folders for each month in that year. You may want to use multiple folders within a folder, so August could have 10 more folders inside with trips, wedding, Sophie’s birthday party, and so on.

You can also organize by events like “Vacation” for your main folder, and then organize trip folders within the main folder. 

It may help to start with a map to see your layout. It will help you get started and stay organized.

Create Tags

Name your photos and use tags like you would for documents. Metadata is information embedded in your photos like the location and date. Add your own keywords or tags to help find these images easier.

If you hit the “i” icon, a small window will pop up and show you the metadata. You can then add your tags and keywords. You can also use tags.

Take Your Time

Don’t try to organize in one setting. Set time aside once a month or once a week to go through photos. It’s always best to take smaller steps to reach your goal. 

Make sure you are at a good stopping point like the end of a year. Set a goal for yourself like I’m going to do all of the 1st quarter of 2019. 

Use Your Photos

As you start to organize your photos, do something with these photos. Don’t just let them sit online or on your hard drive. You should print them, add to an album, or hang them somewhere.

Make a photo book for each vacation, occasion, or year. This way you start thinking of ways to use these photos. It will help you take fewer photos that you are not going to use.

Be Consistent

Once you are organized, it’s important to stay that way. You need to commit to regular downloads. Make sure you follow your folder structure and naming procedures.

Be sure you spell all your names correctly on your tags and use the same words to label events. 

How to Organize Digital Photos Final Thoughts

You can learn how to organize digital photos by creating a system that works for you. Determine where you want to store your photos. Make sure you choose a back-up spot, website or on a cloud if you store the photos on your computer.

Make sure you are consistent with your uploads and system. Delete photos you don’t want to use. 

Most of all—don’t be overwhelmed. Set small blocks of time to work on this project. 

Keep checking out our site for other ways to keep your family organized, plan a trip, or host a party. After your event, you can organize your photos easily with your new system.