If you are anything like us, you’ve got thousands of photos between your computer and phone alone, not to mention all those albums and snapshots tucked away in boxes. You’ve probably also thought from time to time, gee, I should really back up and organize all these photos. But a few minutes of Googling and you’re lost in the land of Pinterest recipes.
We won’t lie – this is going to take longer than you think it will. But once you’ve got a system in place, once you know your photos are safe, and – voila! – you can even access and view them on a moment’s notice, it will make the process worth it. Trust us.
If you’re ready to get started, here are our top tips.
Step One: Back Up
There are many ways you can do this – use a Cloud storage service and backup right from your phone or computer. Though some of us older generations might wonder at this Cloud business, it’s just data being stored on remote servers, that are accessed from the Internet (ever wonder why it’s called the Cloud?)
iCloud is one service popular with Apple and iPhone users, but other options include Google Drive, DropBox, and Window’s One Drive. All for free to a point, but then depending on how many photos you have, you may need to purchase additional storage.
Once you’ve chosen, gather all your photos from your computer, phone, camera and maybe even scans of your physical photos, then go through the process of transferring them all. Yes, this will take time (have we mentioned that already?!), so we recommend doing this while binge-watching your favourite shows.
Step One Part Two: Back Up Again
Optionally, or additionally, you can back up to a physical device as well. Office supply stores carry all sorts of hard drives and pocket drives, which have really come down in price over the last couple of years. For example, an external drive (meaning you connect it to your computer) with 2 Terabytes of space will run you about $120 – to give you an idea, that’s about 1 million photos for amateurs photographers.
If you have a lot of photos, the hard drive can be more economical than a Cloud service. But hard drives can fail, and sometimes the software goes defunct after time, so best to have more than one backup in the long term and replace them every few years.
Step Two: Delete
Really? Yes! Now that every photo you have digitally is backed up and safe, you can go ahead and delete half of them. Be ruthless. Just keep the good stuff, the photos you’ll want to look at again and again. (Caveat: some Cloud services sync with your phone or computer, so double-check that deleting a photo from your local device won’t delete it there too!) Don’t forget, you’ve probably posted a lot of your great photos socially so have quick access to those as well. You don’t need them taking up space on your computer. Pick the best, delete the rest.
Step Three: Organize
As you have probably already discovered, or will soon, there are an incredible number of options for storing and editing photos out there, myriad software and apps all claiming to be the best. Adobe Lightroom, Apple Photos, Picasa…it is definitely overwhelming, so ask around and find out what your friends and family use – maybe they’ll even help you get set up. What’s important is just biting the bullet, then USING it.
Organize your photos into folders or groups (maybe by event, date, location – try these great tips), tag them for quick searching, and eventually, you’ll have a wonderful selection of your favourite photos to view and share. Use them as your computer backgrounds, connect them to a digital photo frame, have a few printed as posters…after all this hard work, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labour!