One of my 2012 New Year’s resolutions was to keep up on my photo organization and not let it accumulate to the point where it’s so overwhelming that it is almost an impossibe task. So, here is what I am doing in order to keep my photo memories alive for many years to come.
- Create Folders on Computer: I created folders on my computer for each year (i.e. 2010, 2011, 2012) then I created sub-folders where I numbered and then named the twelve months of the year (i.e. 01 January, 02 February…12 December). The number before the month helps keep it in the right order, otherwise, the computer will usually organize alphabetically.
- Download Photos to Computer: I currently use Google Picasa (you can download for free here) for my general organization and simple editing. I purchased Adobe Lightroom recently and will be moving all my pics as soon as I learn how to use it! (More on that soon). I download all the photos from my camera to my computer IMMEDIATELY after I take them. I usually end up doing this at the end of the day and create a folder under the year, month taken and then the name of the event (i.e.2012>07 July>4th of July) – part because I am always terrified that I will loose my pictures off of the camera somehow, and part because this is one way I have found to keep my photos from accumulating to an insane number before organizing. Here is an example of what it looks like on my computer
- Sync and Backup: Once I download photos from my camera and upload into Picasa, I make sure to sync the forlder to Picasa Web Albums (you can sign up for free here). Again, I am paranoid about loosing my photos and this step gives me the peace of mind that they are backed-up at a second location. If you have an external drive it is smart to back-up your pictures there as well. Yup, you guessed, I back them up as well for a third “just in case”!
- Edit Quantity: At this point I look at my photos and try to heavily edit the quantity (I’m not so great at this because I seem to want to keep ALL the memories, but I’m learning!) I delete photos that are obviously bad (out of focus or where the subject is cut or cropped wrong) or that are simply too similar to another and keep only the best ones.
- Edit Remaining Photos: Next, I try to edit the remaining photos as much as I know how. I crop, adjust lighting and color, fix red eye and play with a few other tools (Picasa makes it very easy).
- Create Digital Photo Book: Now I have to tell you a bit more about my resolution. I haven’t printed more than a few photos in a very long time because: (1) I have no more space for pictures to be displayed and (2) it is overwhelming and boring to put them all into photo albums that other people will then deem boring to look at! So, what I decided to do was to create a “Year in Review” digital photo album I can easily share online with family and friends and that I can print at the end of the year. The book includes a bit of everything we have done during the year. Some occasions get a picture or two and other more important events get a page full or two or more! This system also allows me to get photos that were taken by other people (like my sister or off of friends phones) added to the book via internet or email when I add them as ”contributors”. Easy peasy! This book must be added to at least once a month. DO NOT LET IT ACCUMULATE! There are several sites that allow you to create these digital-to-print books, here are a few I have used or know about:
If you keep this up you will have a beautiful photo book (you can even make copies for grandparents!) at the end of the year and you will be able to look back on it for many years to come!