Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Organizing Photos

      In the last week or so, I have been working on our pictures, so, I thought I would blog about it.  I have always been a little neurotic about pictures, because I have always assumed that if I was going to take them, I should do something with them.  I never wanted to have them sitting around.  At one point, I even went back and organized all my pictures from high school into a big book, so they would not float loosely around my life.
      Now that I am a mom, I find there are more pictures than ever.  And, I would like to be able to keep them together so that they will be accessible and able to be enjoyed for years.  I feel like by taking a picture of something, you can hold on to a part of that moment forever.  It is wonderful, but only if you know what to do with them.  I realize that this can be a very overwhelming topic for some - especially if you have lots of old pictures sitting around.  So, I am going to break this post into a couple of sections.
Section 1: How I Organize My Photos
  -  When I upload them to my computer, I immediately organize them into categories, mostly by date, but sometimes by event.  As a general rule, I do a folder for each month titled "May 2011" or whatever month it is.  I make separate folders for any professional pictures that Uncle Luke takes for us, and I also make separate folders for big trips that we take.  I feel like this makes it easier to locate specific pictures if I need to.  I use iPhoto for everything, because it came with our computer, and I have loved it.
  -  I delete photos from my camera as soon as I upload them, so that I avoid uploading duplicates and creating chaos and confusion with my pictures.

Picnik collage

 -  Currently, I make Shutterfly albums out of all of our photos.  I do not try to scrapbook, because my goal is to get them all finished, and I know that is something that I could not keep up with.  I make albums that are for John and I to keep, and I make albums for each of the girls.

Picnik collage

  -  My Thoughts and Tips about Shutterfly
      -  Upload regularly, which means it will take less time, and you will have your favorite pictures backed up electronically.
      -  Use the same folder system on Shutterfly that you do on your computer - it will make it easier to keep track of and locate things.
      -  I use backgrounds that are pretty tame, because I want the pictures to be the star - not the random page I may have picked.
      -  Once you have done an album or so, it becomes a quicker process, because you are familiar with page layouts and backgrounds that you like.  I makes it easy to drop stuff in and know what you want.
      -  I do separate books for vacations, because I like the novelty of looking through a vacation specific book.
      -  Grouping your photos by event will help your pages make sense.

Picnik collage

I used to do larger photo albums with printed pictures, but now the digital albums are just much more simple to do.  I love that they are completely mess-free, and you get a beautiful printed book that arrives at your door.  I know there are other websites that do this, and I think once you find one you like and are comfortable with, then stick with it.  I also think the cost is very comparable to getting all of your pictures printed out and putting them into a nice album or trying to scrapbook them.  I always wait until Shutterfly is running a special of 20% or 30% off before I order books.  I just make them and have them ready to order when the specials are running, which is most of the time.

Section 2:  How I Organize Keepsakes
  -  I do do Baby Books.  I get mine from Aimee J, which I picked because they were cute and scrapbooky, but could be finished in the first year and a half or so.  I liked the pages that came with them, and I bought a little more scrapbook stuff to finish them out.  I felt like this was a good way to have something handmade and written in to pass on, but it can be completed and not a project that lingers indefinitely in my life.

Picnik collage

I keep a folder with stuff that needs to go into it, and then put it in as I make time for it.  Lily's is done, except for the little bit of hair from her first haircut that just happened a couple of months ago.  I am probably half way through Bella's.
  -  I am not sure how I will handle all of the little things that Lily brings home.  So far, I have been tossing the ones that I don't want to keep right away and have a drawer with the cute keepable ones in my entry hall.  I need to either make a book from each year, or possibly take pictures of them all and make a Shutterfly album out of those.  We shall see.  I would love to hear what other people do.

Section 3:  Getting Started
  -  What do you do with a giant box or computer full of pictures that you need to organize?
      -  Start by putting them all in order to the best of your ability.  Group them by month and/or event.
      -  Throw out or even delete duplicates that are not great.  You do not need 20 pictures of the same moment (most likely), and 5 of the best pictures are the ones you want to look at later anyway.
  -  I really believe that what I just described above is the hardest part, because it involves thinking.  Once you have put them into order and decided which ones are worth keeping, then you can much more easily put them into some kind of album.  It will not take a lot of thinking.

So - those are my tips and thoughts on picture organization.  How do you organize yours?  I am always open to new ideas!


Linds said...

have you ever heard of the Davinci frame? That's what I plan on keeping most of Brayden's keepable art work in (I think it stores 30 sheets of paper/artwork).

Kristin Murdock said...

Dear Carol,
You are a serious over-achiever and I am, again, impressed. You are VERY good at this, and I like your photo albums.
Your Friend,

Tara said...

I think we are a lot alike, I just wish I had as much time as you to spend on crafty fun things! I organize my photos by month and then date (usually a brief description after the date) and I use shutterfly too, if you use pampers you can use your reward points for free prints and large discounts! Love reading your blog!

Valerie B. said...

Just wanted to say how much I love this idea! Seriously, I excited to devote a Saturday (probably multiple days) to organizing my photos and creating albums.

Also, I haven't commented before, but your blog is so fun to read! I read it during my work break in the afternoon and love your ideas! We tried the fabulous chicken and veggie bars recipes and they were oh so good! (Nick even liked the veggie bars!).

Thanks for sharing!

Carol said...


Linds - I will have to get something like the Davinci frame - I am just not sure where to put it!

Carol said...

@Kristin Murdock
Thanks, Kristin!

Carol said...

Thanks, Tara! I will have to look into the Pampers suggestion - I would love to get more discounts on it.

Carol said...

@Valerie B.

Hey, Valerie! Thanks for reading along - it have been lots of fun. I hope that organizing photos goes well for you. It may take more than one Saturday, but once you get going, it isn't too time consuming!

Anna said...

Hey Carol!
I do photo books too. They hang out on my coffe table. I have one for each year of marriage. I never thought to do one for each if the kids.
So, how do you do the girls books? Are they copies of your book or personalized to them??

Carol said...

Hey, Anna! Yeah, I do personalized books for the girls. It is what my mom did for me, and I love having them. And I LOVED looking at them as a kid. I am still perfecting what I do. So far, I go ahead and order ours - then I go through and do the girls so I can look at ours to reference dates and comments to make it easier. It is definitely a work in progress to figure it out with two.