Between my DSLR and my iPhone, I take hundreds of pictures every single month. I fully believe there’s no shame in taking a lot of pictures – if something makes me happy, I want to remember it forever.
However, the more pictures I take, the harder it can be to find a picture of a specific moment or person. That’s why it’s important to organize your photos! Photo organization doesn’t have to be overwhelming – here are our tips for organizing your photos digitally and in print.
First, pick your method of organizing.
The thing about organization is that it’s not universal. What works best for me may not be your preferred style – and that’s okay! Find what makes sense to you and go forth. Here are two ideas on how to organize:
- Date (can be year-specific or month-specific)
- Specific event (i.e. a wedding or a vacation)
- Themes (birthdays, Halloweens, et cetera)
Start sorting your physical prints.
After you gathered all of your current collection of prints, it’s time to start sorting! First, ask yourself: do you want your pictures stored away and preserved for years to come? Or, do you want them easily accessible so you can flip through with your family & friends?
Your answer will dictate what kind of containers to buy. We recommend plastic containers, like from IRIS, to keep photos in as they can keep out harsh light and water. If your photos are sitting out, you can buy smaller sizes for the month/year and/or special event; bigger bins are perfect for basement or closet storage.
What other tools are great for photo organization? Try photo-safe pencils for writing on the backs of pictures, index cards for sorting in between dates/events, dust rags, and cotton gloves for the handling of your photos.
Next, organize your digital life, too.
Now that your physical Prints are beautifully sorted, take the time to organize your digital life as well. That same organization format you chose for your prints? That applies here, too. Of the options above, I do a mix: with Google Photos, I create albums that are month-specific (i.e. February 2020) as well as big-event-specific (i.e. Trip to the West Coast [January 2020]).
I also have Google Photos set up to recognize and auto-sort the faces in my pictures. It’s accurate roughly 99% of the time, so it’s pretty handy when I’m looking for a picture of my brother to post on Instagram on his birthday.
Don’t be afraid to cull either.
This might be a controversial statement, but: it’s okay to delete some of those photos on your phone – especially the ones that are out of focus or duplicates.
I recently went on a trip to the Valley of Fire in Nevada. The scenery was breathtaking, and I took hundreds of pictures in a few hours. But, do I need 10 pictures of the same exact spot in the mountain? Absolutely not. Pick the best one (or top 3, if you have slight hoarding tendencies), and delete the rest.
Print the moments that mean the most.
Don’t get me wrong: digital organization is great, but it’s nice to look at physical photos in your hands, on your shelves, or hanging on your walls. Why print your photos? Simply put: there’s nothing like holding a physical print or photo book in your hands. The memory flooding back is instantaneous!
Try creating a printing schedule – like once a month, once every 3 months, or once a year. Prints are great for doing on the go and stashing in one of your plastic containers. Buzz Books are perfect for including every moment from your son’s first birthday. And, Family Yearbooks are the best medium for telling the story of one whole year in your life.
What organization tips do you have?