Organizing Photos: Tips for the Overwhelmed

Zarlacht Atiqzoy
September 11, 2013

Back in the day, when our 35mm was cranking dark, red-eye photos of our families, we were overwhelmed with the task to sort and create some recollection of our moments in one central place. Hello technology! The digital camera has given us a whole new approach to family photography. Not only are we capturing moments more vividly, but we taking even more pictures. Hundreds more. And the time we use to spend printing, sorting, dating, and slipping photos into plastic album sleeves is now at the mercy of our hard drives.

After baby number two, I will reluctantly admit that my camera-happy fingers slowed down quite a bit, but I would dare say that I am still snapping at a marathon rate because the simple truth is—for all parents—our kids really are growing up way too fast.

Will we ever look at these photos again? Maybe and maybe not. The answer will teeter on the actions we take after we take each photo. It may have taken me three years to figure out a workable system, but it works. And with the handful of options out there, there is bound to be one you can customize and adapt to your own.

1. When you are in action, taking pictures—let's say, for example, at the park with the kids—and you find yourself snapping 25 shots of your baby on the swing. Take a moment afterwards to preview the set and delete those blurry and "not-even-close to being in my album" shots. This will minimize your downloading process later and give you more room to take "album-worthy" shots and not be faced with the infamous "FULL" message right when your kid decides to finally smile.

2. The purchase of a digital camera usually includes a download, photo-managing software application such a ZoomBrowser (for Canon cameras). Take some time on the front end to set your options, such as where photos should be downloaded to on your computer so that each time you use the application, you're not searching your entire hard drive for your photos. Same goes for your camera. Be sure its timestamp is also correct as photos will be archived by date.

3. Hierarchies: These work well outside of kingdoms, too. Your photo management software application will automatically generate a folder for each dated picture. After a while, these will begin to clutter your search options. Create a folder for each month and and tuck each corresponding dated folder into each. This way, you will have only twelve main folders. After the year is over, tuck these twelve into a new folder titled by the year, and then start a new one.

4. Photo sharing is what great photography is all about. Whether you choose to share with just close relatives or the rest of the world, "private" and "public" options are available with any quality and free photo-sharing website. Select one that is compatible with your other programs and with your privacy comfort level. 

5.  Speaking of photobooks... This is truly the way to go. Forgo the sticky pages and plastic sleeves for a professional printed photobook. Choose 20-150 of your favorite photos from a trip, season or year, customize your background pages, hardcover style, and bam, you have your very photobook or album to display on your coffee table or purchase as a wonderful gift idea for family members.

Organizing your photos can be an ultimate burden on the photographer in the family, but it doesn't have to be. With these great options at our fingertips, sharing and storing photos from our most favorite moments will be a want-to-do instead of a chore. After all, what busy parent needs another chore?

Happy organizing!

From the Parents

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