How to Properly Organize Photos

jdecker Uncategorized
Side view of a lot of old color photos

Since we’ve all got a lot of time on our hands, it’s a perfect time to tackle a large photo organizing project. Using my same five categories of organization, here is how to start organizing your physical and digital photos.

Assemble your entire photo collection together, if digital, search your computer to gather them all.
Sort into categories by year (approximately).
Assess which ones to keep and which to toss or give to relatives or friends.
Purge unnecessary photos, ex. Vacation photos of landscapes or animals or those without people in them. We all know what a beach looks like.
Organize what’s left into year and occasion categories.

Once your physical photos are organized, you can digitize them using a flatbed scanner (scan at 600ppi). Research what’s out there in the market as there are multiple options for each price range. Like this Cannon scanner for under $100 or this Plustek scanner for about $200. Batch rename your photos so they don’t have the automatic computer-generated number name that you won’t be able to recall. Adobe Bridge is free software that is good to use. Use IPTC tags on your photos, which are the standard to embed keywords within the photo.

When everything is digitized, sort chronologically and tag by people, places, or major events. Your organized photo folders will look something like this (FOLDER -> SUBFOLDER). YEAR -> EMMA’S GRADUATION, YEAR -> HALLOWEEN, YEAR -> GRANDPA’S 100TH BIRTHDAY.

Remember, when photo organizing, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Start with the photos that are most important to you and go from there. Or start with the photos that are already digitized. Spend a few hours a week on this project and once you’ve got the backlog digitized and organized, download and organize new photos from your device every month.

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