Organizing Photos: Taking control of those digital files

The other day I wrote about creating photo books. But what if your digital photos are a mess? Just thinking about putting together a photo book may give you a headache. I am not a photographer nor is this my area of expertise, but I do have a few tips for conquering those digital files.

Tip #1: Transfer your photos from your phone (or camera) to your computer regularly. {That does not mean you have to delete the photos off your phone, just make sure they’re backed up.} It’s kind of like doing the laundry. The longer you wait, the harder it is to keep up. To help you remember, make it part of your routine, such as the first of the month or every payday. Most computers come with photo software already installed: iPhoto for Macs and Windows Live Photo Gallery for PCs. Since I’m a Mac girl, my only experience is with iPhoto, so I’ll be talking from that vantage point. Of course, since Microsoft tends to copy everything Apple does {wink, wink}, I’m sure both programs have many similarities. There are also other software programs you can download, as well. The point is to have a place you can store your photos and easily access them. If you haven’t transferred your photos, start now.

import in iPhoto

When I connect my phone to my computer, iPhoto automatically opens and starts looking for photos to import. It will ask me if I want to import the photos that I’ve taken since my previous visit. iPhoto also automatically adds a date to each photo.

Albums in iPhoto

To organize once the photos are imported, I make sure each event has a title. iPhoto already categorizes photos into Events, Photos, Faces and Places. I can easily go to Events and see each upload by date. I also have folders set up for each year, so I’ll take all the events that happened in 2014 and copy them into my album 2014. You could also break this down further and have a folder for the year, then albums for each month. If your photos are a jumbled mess, start with the most recent year. Once you have that organized, you can work backwards to previous years.

Faces in iPhoto

One of my favorite features in iPhoto is the Faces option. Let’s say I want to do a photo book for graduation {thankfully not until 2022!} for my daughter. This feature finds all the photos I’ve taken of her, or that it thinks are her, and asks me to confirm. It then categorizes them by date, so I will be able to go through the thousands of photos, choose my favorites, and work from there.

Tip #2: Delete the photos you don’t need. This is the hardest part for all of us — me included. You never know when you might want 157 photos of that birthday party, right? Start by deleting the blurry, dark, and duplicate images. You really don’t need eight copies of the same shot.

Tip #3: Upload to a secondary source as a backup. If an unfortunate event, such as a house fire or computer crash, were to occur, this ensures you would not lose all of your irreplaceable photos. I use Shutterfly (it’s free to create an account and upload photos) and an external hard drive.

Tip #4: My final tip is to enjoy those photos. My kids love to look through scrapbooks of themselves and photo books of our vacations — and I do too! You most likely won’t sit down to your computer and scroll through family photos, right? See my blog post about creating photo books. One of my goals is to create a photo book for both of my kids with some of my favorite photos and events. My friend Sarah just pointed out a fun app called Project Life, where in literally five minutes, you can take a set of photos and design them into a 12×12 or 8×8 page. All of a sudden I see lots of options for finishing a page: sitting in a waiting room, waiting for soccer practice to end, or even while watching one of my favorite HGTV shows.


Happy organizing!

Julee sig 2014_pink_xoxo-1_edited-1



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *