Organizing your photos is like gardening – if you chose to weed the garden and feed and prune the flowers you will have a beautiful garden that you can enjoy. If you ignore the weeds they will eventually overtake the flowers and if you don’t water and feed the plants they may wither and die. Either way, you will not be happy with the result.
The same is true with photos. If you want to enjoy your photos and have them available for your family and friends to enjoy now and in the future, then you will sort and organize them, write down the stories that go along with them, and put the special ones into photo books. If you ignore them then someday their meaning and beauty will be lost.
If you want to have a beautiful garden you can chose to do all the work yourself or you can hire someone to come in and help you.
If you want to enjoy your photos you can take the time to sort and organize them yourself or you can hire someone (a personal photo organizer) to come in and help you.
If you are the “do it yourself” type of person, here are some tips for tackling your project.
The first thing you will want to do is to take inventory of where all your photos are stored – boxes, bins, drawers, closets, camera, memory sticks, cell phone – and, if you can, put them all in one physical location. If your photos are still on a camera, memory stick or cell phone then download them to a computer into a photo management software package. I use Historian by Panstoria and I love it!
The next step is to sort your photos using the ABCs of photo organizing. You should do this for your printed and digital photos.
A = Album – These are your best photos; the ones that you want to put into an album or display on a wall. They can be of a special occasion, vacation, a child’s memories of growing up, the year in the life of your family, etc.
B = Box and Backup – these are the photos that are important to keep but that you don’t need to see everyday. They should be printed and organized into an archival storage box and backed up digitally to an external hard drive and/or the cloud. They can also be scanned to a DVD and Linea for long-term storage.
C = Can (trash can) – These are the photos that can be thrown away (yes, it’s ok to throw away or delete photos). They are the duplicates, photos of poor quality, photos you can’t remember why you took, or old photos that no longer have any meaning to you.
S = Stories – There was a reason you took the photo in the first place, so there is most likely a story that goes along with the photo or photos. Write down the story on the back of the photo (using a photo-safe pencil) or on a separate sheet of paper or on your computer. These stories should be stored with the photos or added to the photo book you may be creating.
As you are sorting through your photos, you can also organize them into themes such as by family member, vacations, special occasions, schools days, pets, holidays, family traditions, sports, special places, favorite things, etc. This level of sorting can be done for the A and B photos as you go along.
If this is too overwhelming for you or you just don’t have the time, please get in touch with me to help you. Preserving photos and their stories is important to me and I want to help as many people as I can bring their photos back into their lives.