Organizing Your Photos – 5 Tips to Get Started

The thought of sorting your printed photo collection and organizing your photos can at first appear overwhelming…

Are your Cell Phone Photos a Mess?

When I tell someone that I am a Photo Manager their first reaction is “Oh my gosh, I need your help – my cell phone photos are a mess!”

Today we carry our cameras in our pockets – they are our cell phones.  Our cell phones are with us constantly and so we are taking more photos than ever before.  And, because we are home now due to the Coronavirus, we are probably taking even more photos of everything we are doing at home and everyone we are sheltering at home with just because. ‎Edit Advanced Layout Editor

We have thousands of photos on our phones.  We have photos of our children, grandchildren, pets, houses, places we went on vacation, food we eat, food we cook, funny sayings, screen shots, selfies, a sunset, a sunrise, and so much more.  And, we have multiple photos of all these people and events.

We take photos because we want to remember and capture specific moments in time and specific events.  But then they just sit on our phones.  It’s important to remember why we took the photos in the first place and to preserve them, share them, and enjoy them.

But what happens when you try to find a specific photo because you want to share it with someone?  Do you have to scroll through hundreds of photos until you find the one you are looking for?

Would you like to be able to find photos on your phone?

While you are sheltering at home for a few more weeks, it’s a great time to clean your cell phone photo mess and get your photos organized.  Here are a few simple things you can do to make it easier to find your photos and to preserve them.  Remember, though, that you probably have thousands of photos that you have accumulated over time so it will probably take you several sessions before you are finished.  As I like to tell my clients – you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time – so don’t get frustrated, just keep going.

Delete photos. Go through your photos, starting with the most recent, and delete your unwanted photos – the duplicates or similar ones, blurry photos, extra photos of scenery, and photos you no longer want to keep.  Do you really need to keep every photo of a beautiful sunset, for example?  Unless you are a professional photographer or you are planning a display of sunsets then you probably don’t need to keep all of them.  Keep the best one and delete the others.  You want to be ruthless and quick in this process and not think about it too much.  After you have deleted your photos, don’t forget to clear out the Recently Deleted album.  If you don’t then you won’t free up the space on your phone. ‎Edit Advanced Layout Editor

Mark your favorites – As you are culling through your photos, identify your favorites and mark them as such by clicking on the heart icon under the photo. Later when you want to find them, they will all be grouped together in a “Favorites” album on your phone.

Organize photos into albums. Start by identifying the topics or categories that will make it easier for you to find your photos.  Examples of topics are your children or grandchildren, pets, a special event, a vacation, your house and yard, or a specific topic such as food or sunsets.  Once you have identified these topics then you want to create albums on your phone for each of these topics and select and move the appropriate photos into these albums.  As you are organizing your photos into albums, you may come across additional photos that you want to delete. ‎Edit Advanced Layout Editor

Maintain the photos on your phone. You are going to continue taking photos so you want to set up a schedule to maintain your clean photo stream on your phone.  Schedule time once a month – the first day of the month or the last day of the month – to review your photos so that you don’t create a new mess.  Take the time to repeat steps 1 and 2 above – delete photos you don’t want to keep and move your photos into albums.

Backup your photos. In a natural disaster or fire, the three things that we want to save the most are people, pets and photos.  So, it is important to backup your photos so they are not lost.  I will be doing a separate article just on the options for backing up your photos, but for now, know that it is very important.

  • Backing up means to manually or automatically copy files from one location to another, usually from one physical drive to another, although it could also be to an online or cloud location. There are several options for this including Dropbox and FOREVER.
  • Syncing means to manually or automatically copy or delete files as needed to ensure that two locations have an identical set of files.  Your phone should at the very least be setup to sync to either iCloud for Apple phones or Google Photos for Android phones.  This way if your phone is lost or damaged you will be able to retrieve your photos from either of these locations.

Share. Now that your photos are organized, share them with someone.  Sharing photos and their stories is a wonderful way to stay connected with family and friends and we really need that connection now more than ever.

That’s it!  Not too difficult is it?  I hope these hints and tips have been helpful and that you are motivated to clean up your cell phone photo mess.  If you have found this helpful, leave me a comment below.

If you would like additional help with organizing your photos, printed or digital, please let me know – I would love to assist.