Here are a few ways to tackle your photo organizing your project once and for all.
First of all, DELETE!! We take so many photos these days and many are the same image. How many photos do you need of your feet in the sand? I have been going back through photos I’ve not only taken, but also scanned and asked, “Why do I have this photo?” It may have been in the moment, but no longer needed. This is true whether a physical photo or digital. So the less photos you have the smaller the organizing job will be. Keep those that are your best, special, or tell a story. I would highly recommend you scan your old photos and digitize those so everything can be stored in that one hub. You may want to keep some of your favorite physical photos or share them with family members that are in the photos if throwing them away is too painful. But again, you want to organize them in an archival quality box either by event and/or person to make it easy to find.
This second step is a bit tricky. It’s deciding where you want to store everything. You want to have a central hub for all your photos, videos, and albums. Some people start with creating a folder on their hard drive and importing all their photos from different devices. However, whether on your hard drive or an external hard drive, both can crash and you could lose all your images. If you choose the folder method you may want to make chronological sub-folders or by event, or person. It really is what makes sense to you in how you will want to look for your photos.
Personally I started chronologically organizing my photos and I went a different direction because when I was looking for our Hawaii pictures, I couldn’t remember what year that was.
So I decided to create albums or folders that made sense to me in how I would look for a photo. Hawaii pictures now live in my Travel Album/Folder and nested in that folder is Hawaii and now that we’ve been to several islands, I nested additional folders with each of the island names we visited to help me locate those specific photos. Another example, when I needed pictures of my mother-in-law to select for her funeral, I did not have to look through years to find the best photos, I simply looked in the folder with her name. It made it much easier to put together her video tribute.
Another thing to keep in mind is permanency so I would recommend cloud storage, but not all cloud storage is created equal. Any device like a computer or external hard drive can crash or be destroyed by a flood, fire, or tornado. I use FOREVER for my cloud storage because I retain the rights to my photos, it is private, no data-mining, and it is permanent, safe, secure, and guaranteed. I have had peace of mind for over nine years knowing my photos, documents, and videos are safely there for me and future generations.
Third, stay on top of your photos at least each month. It is easier to do it weekly and go in and upload the photos you want to keep and/or delete the ones you don’t. It’s a great idea to keep an additional backup on an external hard drive and back that up each month. But start now and work backwards. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed or wondering if you will ever get caught up. Besides you’ll remember the current stories now which I encourage you to add with your metadata to your current photos.
Lastly, you can go in and then organize the photos within the topics or within the year if you’ve used the chronological method. With FOREVER it automatically will sort for me chronologically so I don’t have to do that unless the photos were scanned and then you can change the date so they will be in their correct place. I go into each child’s album and can organize by age: early years, elementary school, middle school, high school, college, wedding, adult years, etc. This way I don’t have to know exactly the date. I can also organize all their birthdays, vacation, or holiday pictures within their folder/album. It makes it much easier to find and what makes it even better is that I can access all 95,000 photos and videos from my phone, tablet, or desktop anytime.