Lately, I’ve been a bit obsessed with digital clutter and specifically how to organize my digital photos.
I spend my days in front of my computer, so speed and efficiency is super important. And since wasting time looking for a file is not my idea of fun, I needed to start decluttering my computer.
Organizing digital photos seemed like a logical place to start.
How to Organize your Digital Photos
Step 1 | Recognize the problem
We all hoard pictures; on our phones, cameras, on CDs and USBs, and don’t even get me started on the countless “clouds“ available.
It seems like it’s not a problem, because the hording happens online and we don’t really see it. But have you ever tried taking a picture with your phone and had that fun message appear, “Memory full“? Ya, me too.
Step 2 | Create your system
There are options that come with your computer for organizing your photos, but I don’t like them. I find them slow and not suited for how my brain works. I much prefer working with a folder system by year and by event for personal pictures and by theme for more generic photos.
You can build your own according to your needs.
Step 3 | Consolidate
Gather all pictures under one main folder. On your computer there is already a folder called Pictures (or My Pictures) that’s probably been gathering some of your pics anyway.
To make the sorting process easier, in that Pictures folder, add a sub-folder called TO SORT and then move everything there.
Step 4 | Delete bad pictures
Recently, I discovered, to my amazement, that on a Mac you can just select a file and hit the space bar to get a big overview without opening the file. It’s an old trick, but it’s new to me and it changed my digital life and made this process so much easier. Once you’re in a picture folder, you can just hit the space bar on the first picture and use the up and down arrows to see the next and the next and the next … Life changing I tell ya!
Now go through your pictures bit by bit and delete as much as possible. Be ruthless; who wants a bad picture of them to be found anyway!
Get rid of:
- Blurry pictures;
- Badly lit or grainy photos;
- Doubles – why do we have So Many Doubles!;
- Multiples – keep only the best shot (or the top 5) of your 47 attempts at a family photo.
Step 5 | Sort good pictures
Whatever is left gets sorted into the folder system you developed. Rename or divide folders as needed; this way, you don’t have to rename every photo. With your new folders set up, move the photos from your TO SORT folder to the appropriate folder in your new folder system.
This is an important step. Don’t feel the need to keep every photo you’ve ever taken.
Step 6 | Back it up
Now is the time to use your cloud/drive space if you so choose. For some reason, I still don’t trust clouds much. I much prefer to back up my photos on an external hard drive or on CDs. I know they take space but I don’t mind.
My suggestion would be to back up your current photos on an external hard drive, your older pictures on CDs AND everything you can’t live without on a cloud. This way, you can be assured that if anything happens to one of your backups, you are covered.
Step 7 | Maintain
Set regular dates with your phone, camera and computer so you can download your pics, sort them properly and back them up.
This sound like a lovely monthly task, doesn’t it?
How else do you organize your photos?
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