Control Your Photo Collection
In order to gain control over our photographs, we have to first clear out the ones that are clearly of poor quality. Here are some traits of photos that should be immediately eliminated from your collection:
- Bad exposures
- Blurry photos
- Off-center photos
- Photos that are embarrassing, uninspired or boring
If you are uninterested or intimidated by photo albums, consider instead making a keepsake box, which is a box filled with your best photographs (and other mementos) from a particular event or time period. If you are interested in a photo album, grab a blank basic photo album that is preferably expandable and organize your photos chronologically. Label the spine of the album for easy reference.
You can group your photos into the following logical groupings:
- Antique photos (black and white
- Older/deceased people)
- Travel (vacation)
- Events (birthdays, holidays)
When you download the pictures onto your computer, you must figure out a way to organize and sort your digital files. Rather than dumping all your photos into a “My Pictures” folder in random order, consider creating a series of subfolders to organize it further. Depending on how many photos you have, you can do it based on date or based on event, or a combination thereof. For example, one way to sort photos is by a series of date-related folders: start with “2012” and then “January 2012” and then “Baby’s 1st Birthday”. Or you can just put all photos taken in January 2012 into that folder.
You may also want to rename your photos from a useless abstract filename (like DFJS302838) to something more concrete (Thanksgiving2009). When you rename a group of files, it will make all the files Thanksgiving2009xx, where the xx is an index number. An alternative to renaming files is to use special software that will add tags on the filenames. This will label photos with the relevant keywords to make finding something specific easy. So you may add the following tags to the photo of Aunt Sally at Christmas 2010: Aunt Sally, Christmas, 2010, funny, Christmas tree. Then when you’re looking for a specific photo of Aunt Sally, you can search for Aunt Sally in a tag search box and all photos tagged with her name will be retrieved.
Here are some additional tips regarding photo organization:
- If the photos will end up in photo boxes, put them there directly.
- If you will be creating photo albums, sort the photos first by category and then add them to the album in groups.
- Purchase many photo boxes at once, so they all look uniform. Even if you don’t need five photo boxes right now, having the extra boxes on hand will allow you to easily expand your collection down the road.
- Never use envelopes, file folders, or shoe boxes to store photos.
- Sort through only as many photos as you can finish in one sitting.
To view the rest of the posts in the Home Organization Series, please click here.