Tips for Organising and Storing your Photos

If you have boxes, wallets or albums of old photographs or a large number of images on your computer or phone that are not already in folders and you want to sort them out to make them easier to find, display or share, then here are a few tips to help you get started:

Organising Photos
Decide on how you want to categorise your photos
It works best to determine the categories you want to sort your pictures into before you start working through them. Think about whatever categories will work best for you to be able to find the pictures to pull out later.  These categories then become your album or folder names.
Category examples:
By year, event, family, person, birthday, friends, trip, country, or a combination of these things.
For any pictures with people or places you can’t identify, put these in an ‘investigate’ pile/folder.

Prepare for sorting
Once you have your categories list, then it’s a good time to get files set-up for digital images and boxes or nominated areas for printed pictures (use post-it notes with the category names).  Now you are ready to get sorting.
Digital images:  Create folders or albums on your device.
Printed pictures:  Uses boxes or areas for each category.

Make a rough cut
Go through your photos and quickly make a rough cut by deleting or putting aside any blurry, damaged, duplicate shots, or pictures of people you don’t know.
Put images into their categories.
Make this a non-emotional review if you can, in this I mean don’t stop to look at every image and reminisce, this can be done later.  The objective is to weed out some of the more easily discarded pictures and reduce volume, while getting images roughly sorted.
Printed pictures:  I often use boxes or if you have a large table or floor space, it helps to put the pictures in separate boxes or areas.  I also have a rubbish box or bag for discards.

Second round…
Once you have done your rough cut, the second round is all about deciding which images are worthy of keeping in the long term.  If storage space is an issue, then you can also decide how much culling down in volume you want to make i.e. half the volume.  Then go through with more focus and check images are in the correct categories or folders.  Any image titling or writing on the back of prints is done at this stage if you want to work to this level of detail.
Note:  You may need to do additional rounds of sorting to get the number of images down.
Digital images:  Delete any unwanted images including very low-resolution images by moving them into a ‘delete’ file them deleting them in bulk.

Time to reminisce
With your images/photographs now in categories, you can take the time to enjoy reminiscing about the people and places.  Consider writing a little note on the back of printed pictures for future reference or copying images onto a USB to print or gift to family.

Storing printed photographs
Store printed photographs in a dry place, inside a closed box with named tabs dividers to help preserve them and save time finding the ones you want.
You can scan printed photographs and save them as images into your digital folders making it easier to share your precious memories with family and friends.  Storing important photographs digitally will give you peace of mind by removing the worry of their loss by damage, theft, loss, or natural disaster.
If you can’t scan prints yourself, there are various businesses who can scan and store digital images for you.  Some businesses can scan negatives or slides and can convert VCR videos as well as printing and restoring older pictures.  Search online for options, try using keywords: photo scanning, VCR conversion, photo restoration etc.

Digital images
Keep current

Download and delete images from your camera or phone regularly – once a month is a good starting point.  This will ensure you have ample storage space and the job of sorting or deleting images takes a lot less time.
Store images on your computer hard drive and back this up on any of the various options available to avoid losing important images if your device fails.

By sorting and storing your images, you will enjoy more space in your cupboard or device and have easy access to share and display them.

Old family photographs and album

Time to sort out the old family photographs and albums.