We’re taking more photos than ever, meaning we have more and more photos on our cameras, computers and phones. Been to a party and come home with 2000 photos from that one night? We can all relate.
Because of this, organising your photos can feel like an impossible task. But our step-by-step guide will take the stress out of getting organised and it will give you a chance to look back on moments you may have forgotten about.
Step 1 – Make a selection
Although parting with photos can be heart-breaking, there comes a time when we need to take the plunge and wave goodbye to those that aren’t up to par. Here is how to do that:
Go through all your devices – phone, tablets, laptop, desktop, digital cameras, etc. – and delete all duplicates, blurry, poorly-lit, repetitive party images and unworthy people-free scenic shots. While you do this, if your device allows you to, mark all the photos you want to edit using the “favourites” feature and go back to these once you have uploaded and categorised all your photos for some editing.
If you want a photo that is on social media reach out to the original poster and ask for the original image to be shared with you via a cloud service (e.g. Dropbox, iCloud, etc.) or a cloud-based file transfer service such as WeTransfer. Don’t right click and save as this will compromise image quality.
Similarly, if you want a photo from family or friends, don’t get it sent via WhatsApp or another messaging app as this will negatively affect image quality. Get it transferred to you via one of the services above, or get it sent via email if the total attachment doesn’t exceed 25 MB (if the attachments do exceed 25MB, likely because more than one photo is being sent, you can ask them to create a .zip file of all the images and send that file, which will be smaller in size).
Unearth all your photo-stacked shoeboxes and go through the same sifting process for all your printed images. If you really can’t stand throwing your prints away, make a selection of the ones worth digitising and put the rest back in the shoeboxes. Learn here how to scan and digitise your pics.
Step 2 – Get everything in the same place
The most important thing about organising your photos is making sure they’re all in the same place. The best way to do this is to upload all your digital photos and prints to your personal computer.
How to upload photos from your smartphone or tablet
Connect your tablet or phone to your computer. If you have a Mac, your photos will automatically be saved on your computer. If you have Windows, a dialogue box will pop up asking if you want to import them. Select yes and upload them.
You can also get photos from your phone or tablet using a cloud sharing service (like iCloud, Google Photos, Dropbox and many more). Simply upload it from your phone or tablet and then open the same cloud sharing service on your computer and download it. We’ve got loads more tips for organising your mobile photos here.
How to upload photos from your digital camera
Connect your camera to your computer. Similar to the above tip, if you have a Mac, your photos will automatically be saved on your computer. If you have Windows, a dialogue box will pop up asking if you want to import them. Select yes and upload them.
Some digital cameras now have a wireless function which allows you to upload your photos from your computer without connecting the two devices. Every camera is different so look into the individual instructions for yours.
How to scan your photos
Not all of your photos will be digital, so if you have some printed photos that you’d like to have on your computer, you simply need to scan them in. Read our photo scanning tips for more information on how to do this.
Step 3 – Organise your photos in a logical way
Putting your photos in a logical order makes it easier to find them when you want to create photo products. It also makes it easier for you to look back at them when you’re feeling a bit nostalgic. Want to remember a certain holiday? It’ll be easy to find if it’s in the right folder.
We like to organise our photos as follows:
Year > month > themed subfolders
We break the themed subfolders into categories like holidays, events, and a “general folder” for any photo that doesn’t belong in any of those subfolders.
If you want to be super organised, create folders for upcoming events ahead of time so they’re ready and waiting when you upload the photos.
- TIP: If you’re planning to gift someone with a personalised photo product, create a folder for that gift ahead of time (e.g. photo book for mum, personalised mug for grandpa, etc.) and add potential photos to it as you go along.
- TIP: This isn’t just useful for gifts. You can also create photo folders for specific personalised photo products you’re planning to use for special occasions (e.g. personalised invitation cards for Jenny’s birthday party, personalised prints used as place names for Tom’s wedding, etc.)
Step 4 – Keep everything safe and sound
Now that all of your photos are in order, you’ll want to keep them safe. We recommend backing up all of your photos somewhere other than your computer at least once a month. We’ve got some tips on how and where to back them up.
External hard drives
Purchase an external hard drive and connect it to your computer. Copy the photos from the computer onto the external hard drive and they’re instantly backed up.
Sync your tablet and smartphone to a cloud service (iCloud is best for Apple users and Google Photos is best for Android users) and set up an automatic photo backup to safely store all your photos in the cloud.
- TIP: Create matching folders wherever you backup your photos, so if anything does happen to the originals, your copies are perfectly organised and ready to use.
Keeping your photos in order will give you peace of mind, it will leave space for you to get more creative with your photography and it will enable you to create some truly amazing photo products.