Are you drowning in photos? Do you need to get organized and stay that way? If you have a photography habit, a small business or even a lot of kids, your computer is likely overflowing with photos. Add in school pictures from your childhood, candid photos from your wedding day and random shots from your family reunion and you may end up with more photos than you know what to do with. Organizing your photos will allow you to find what you need when you need it and help you share your favorite images with family and friends. Use some of the following techniques to tame your photo stash for good.
Edit, edit, edit
Home printer giant Hewlett Packard says the first step to organizing your photos is editing. Start the editing process as you upload by immediately deleting any bad photos. Getting rid of awful images quickly means they never have a chance to take up space on your hard drive. It also means no one will see the less-than-flattering picture of you in pajamas with crazy bed hair, shot by your three-year-old over breakfast. Photos that are too dark, overexposed or just plain bad can be deleted and forgotten, freeing up space for more important and better images. Deleting bad images as you upload them will also reduce or eliminate entirely the need to set aside entire afternoons to edit your photos.
[Read also: Must-have Computer Equipment for Photographers]
Tell a story
Showcase old photos in new ways by using your computer, a photo book and publishing site like Mixbook. Need a gift for grandma? A few clicks of the mouse and you’ll be well on your way to the brag book of her dreams. Ready to share your holiday portrait with the world? Design your own holiday cards, calendars and more using your own images. Unlike traditional scrapbooking, digital scrapbooking projects like these won’t damage an original photo since they start with a digital file.
Choose a sorting method
Do you prefer to find your photos in neat chronological order? Consider arranging your photos by date so you can quickly locate what you need. Are you more event-oriented? Sorting pictures in groups under headings like “birthdays” and “vacations” might be best. Name all of your files using the same system so you can find what you need quickly. Avoid using vague names: “First-grade photos” is good; “Kids’ pictures” is not.
Digitize old media
Create digital images of your favorite photos. Scan and label your old pictures and you’ll capture them in time, preventing them from deteriorating with age. You’ll also be safeguarded against fire and water damage, which make restoration difficult or impossible.
[Read also: How a Computer Scanner Works]
Protect your pictures
Once you’ve gotten everything organized the way you want it, back your photos up onto CDs or external hard drives and store them in a safe place. Better yet, store your photos online in the cloud and you’ll be able to retrieve them from anywhere whenever you need them.
Sorting your photos to eliminate duplicates and poor quality images, digitizing and archiving your favorites and backing up everything can help you keep your precious memories intact – and available.