Photos are a precious part of our memorabilia. They tell the story of our lives and help us recall milestones. Since the digital age, many people feel overwhelmed with the volume of photos they have in both digital and print form. Let’s explore how to store and organize your photos.
The most important thing to do is verify your digital photos are backed up. Whether you take photos with your phone or a camera, you want to have your photos in three places.
• on the device itself;
• a cloud storage option (e.g., iCloud, Google photos, etc.);
• a photo printing website (e.g., Shutterfly or Snapfish);
• an external hard drive; and
• a CD or thumb drive.
Choose three of the above storage options. For the cloud, photo printing site, and external hard drive options, be sure your photos sync often (either manually or, if possible, automatically).
Don’t stress about deleting digital photos. With cloud storage solutions you can save them all and use the search functions (by date, location, person) when you need to locate a specific photo.
Organizing prints can feel overwhelming due to the quantity that most of us have accumulated over time. Start by discarding the following types of prints:
• blurry photos;
• photos you can’t interpret what you are seeing; and
• photos that don’t prompt positive emotions.
We usually recommend doing a "gross sort" by era (i.e., childhood photos, school age years, with spouse before kids, with kids, etc.). Use shoe boxes or buy acid-free photo boxes to preserve your prints for long-term keeping. Label your boxes by era and don’t worry about putting them in perfect order. When retrieving a specific photo, identify the era and thumb through that box. The time spent will most likely be enjoyable as you take a trip down memory lane.
To preserve your printed photos, have them digitized. Consider having them professionally scanned to save time and get the best quality. After scanning is completed, you are typically given a thumb drive, CD or file with all your images. Save these files to a few different places.
Make your photos more tangible by creating photo albums or photo books of the “best of the best” photos. You can use websites like Shutterfly or Snapfish to create photo books from digital prints.