Did you know over 1 TRILLION pictures were taken last year, and the vast majority were taken with a smartphone? Isn’t it wonderful we can digital photos of everything happening in our lives in just seconds?
DO YOU KNOW WHERE ALL YOUR DIGITAL MEMORIES ARE STORED?
What do you need to do to make sure you don’t lose any precious photos and that they can be organized and kept safe without a lot of effort or stress?
Finally Make a Plan to Organize Your Digital Photos!
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Are You Losing Track of Your Digital
In this post, we are going to make a plan you can count on to :
- Keep all of your photos all in one place
- Your photos will be organized in a way that makes sense to you
- Have your photos easily assessable so you can find them when you need them
- Rest assured your photos are safe once they are backed-up properly
Well, I admit to having closer to 3000 pictures, so I am taking the same advice I am offering to you here. I want a plan that is efficient and that once in place, I can relax.
Also, like you, I am a busy person that needs a process that is efficient and gets the job done in a reasonable amount of time.
Yes, it is true, this project will take some time, but the results will be well worth your efforts. Your children will thank you.
I am going to be using and
Step 1: Gather All Your Photos Together
Do you have photos spread out in hard drives, phones, computers, jumpdrives, text messages, emails? Load them up and put them in the Photo App.
You don’t need to worry about the order right now.
Step 2: Digital Declutter
Delete, delete, delete.! With printed photos, it is easier to throw bad pictures.
With digital pictures, you may have duplicates of photos you don’t want at all or just plain bad pictures.
Just plan on deleting as you go, but you don’t need to go through all of your photos and delete right now. Think of this as Digital D
Step 3: Plan Your Folders & Albums
First off, albums live inside folders. You may not even have folders, only albums, but I will explain more of that in a minute.
Keep in mind you have to decide how you want to organize Folders & Albums.
Adding Albums to Folders
You need to remember you can add Albums to Folders any time you want.
- Simply click on the title of the Folder where you want your new Album to go into.
- When you hover over the Folder title, you will notice a little + sign to the right.
- Click on the + sign to create a new album for your new event.
- Give the album a title and simply drag and drop photos to that folder.
You could plan on making a folder for each year and then put albums in it, like one album with all the digital photos for that year, then another album for Christmas photos or a special event or even occasion that happened that year.
I have a perfect example here to illustrate how that might work. I have an Album in a 2018 Folder with all the pictures of the whole year.
Our son got married in 2018, so I have an album with all his wedding pictures in the 2018 Folder, and I also have a “summer vacation album” in the same folder.
Important: You can have the same photo in several Albums, it isn’t being duplicated. Furthermore, you can remove a photo from an Album without deleting it from your library.
Now it’s time to start putting your photos into your Albums. (or Folders) .
Step 4: Create SMART Albums
We are going to work with years as our example here because each photo already has the date it was taken attached to it.
You are going to make a SMART ALBUM each year you have photos.
• with the photos app open, go to the very top menu bar and choose file
• next, choose New Smart Album
In the blue field type in a name for your Smart Album, like 2018
Go to the drop-down menu where it says photo and select- Date Captured
In the middle drop-down menu, select –is in the range
Last, fill in the fields for the range of dates, like 01/01/2018 -12/31/2018 and Click OK
Note: in the bottom left-hand corner of the box, it tells you how many pictures are there.
That’s it!!! Look in the left menu bar under My Albums and you should see your Smart Album. Open it up!
Go ahead an make a Smart Album for each year in the same way.
Wait- this is huge. Do you see the Smart Album called Unsorted Photos? Well, thanks to David A. Cox from Tech Talk America, I learned one of the best tricks ever!
If you have photos you need to scan and add them to your digital library, here is how to make a do it, How To Scan & Digitize Your Family Photos Like a Pro.
I recommend you don’t put scanning your photos off, it’s a fun project.
Your Plan to Keep Organizing NEW Photos
Choose New Smart Album again. Name it Unsorted Photos
This time from the drop-down menus, select: Album, is not, Any, like below.
Note the 1,586 items matched. That means as I put the pictures in the correct albums that number will decrease. ( I don’t really have that many unsorted photos, but that is going to have to wait)
The big news here is FROM NOW ON WHEN YOU TAKE PICTURES THEY WILL AUTOMATICALLY GO TO THAT ALBUM!!
So let’s skip ahead to the future. NOW you can take pictures, save them from messages, etc and maybe ONCE per month while watching TV, you can just go to that folder sort what’s there and be all caught up!!! I can only say WOW.
So let’s choose just one photo. Go to one of your albums and select a photo, but read this first.
The information available on digital photos is so valuable, and there are a couple of ways to see the information about each photo.
The easiest way for me is to right click on the photo and then click on “get info”. The image will flip over
This is a good time to add a short description if you want, but notice the space toward the bottom that asks for “keyword”. Adding a keyword is another way to search later.
This is for the SUPER organized person, but maybe that’s you.
Also, notice the date is there in case you want to sort manually!
Step 5″ Making Favorites & Enhancing
It is also a good idea to pay attention to the menu bar in the upper right corner with 6 icons.
The icon with the “i” is another way to view the information about each photo.
Next is the little box with the arrow and that is how you are going to share your photos, but more on that later.
Each photo has the option of clicking a little heart to add it to your “favorites” making it easy
To the right of the heart you find a tool to rotate your picture if you wish and then a little magic wand to automatically enhance your photos. You can continue on to edit if you want to make more detailed changes to your pictures.
Step 6: Backing Up Your Photos
It is a good idea to have your pictures stored in a cloud. The one I am most familiar with is
If you need more memory in iCloud because you have a lot of pictures like I do, it costs between $1-$2 per month. How much would you pay to get your pictures back if you lost them?
An interesting thought here is you may want to put your pictures in two places- just in case. I have all my photos automatically saved to both iCloud and Google Photos- just a thought.
While we are talking about protecting your pictures, I still recommend you save all your pictures periodically on an external hard drive- I have heard too many sad stories of people making a little mistake and losing pictures.
Step 7: Syncing & Streaming
If you are an Apple fan ( I am), pay attention here. You want to make sure your devices are talking to each other. What I mean is you want all your photos to automatically show up on your phone, laptop and tablet.
First you need to be signed in with the same Apple ID on your devices. I personally use a MacBook, an iPhone, and an iPad Pro – I know, don’t judge me.
On MacBook – Go to system preferences and choose iCloud, Make sure the Photos icon is selected. ( you can choose lots of other stuff too, but we aren’t talking about that today).
On your iPhone and iPad, the directions are the same. Go to settings and click the area at the top with your name and iCloud,
The beauty is that all your devices will synch and your photos will automatically appear across devices. So no matter where you are, you are going to have access everywhere. Even your new Albums will be there!
All Organized, Now what?
- iPhoto makes it so easy to protect your precious memories, organizing and editing them, turning them into different projects like:
- photo-cards and
- sharing them in email, messages, or social media.
My favorite thing to do is create slide shows with music. Sometimes I use an album I have already made, but seriously it takes literally minutes to put a slide show together for any occasion.
Last Christmas in no time at all I had an album with a couple of hundred pictures playing on our TV screen all evening through our Apple TV. You don’t need an Apple TV to do this. It will work through Amazon or mirroring from your computer just as well
Putting together a slide show with music is pretty easy to do with iPhoto To do so,
- Open iPhoto,
- Create New Album- Give it the name of your slideshow
- Click “slideshow” at the top of the page
- Add your slide transitions and music from your iTunes library
- Open your new album, go to “file”, select – create- then slideshow
- Save it in Photos.
- You will find it in “Projects” at the bottom of your side menu in Photos.
- Here you can change the order of how the photos appear, but that is it!
We can still do much more with our photos and get fancier when we want, but I think this should keep us busy for a while.
The most fun of organizing your photos is getting lost in years of memories and enjoying all the pictures of your family. Next time we will talk about the best way to make all of your pictures available to everyone in your family.
Don’t forget to scan and digitize all your photographs as well, so they will be in the same place as your digital photos. How to Scan & Digitize Your Photos Like a Pro.
Reminder, grab your Cheat Sheet as a reference as you plow through your photos.
Let me know how you organized your photos and what plan worked best for you in the comments below or shoot me an email