"A whopping 86% of digital photos we take never leave the memory card. Time to do right by those precious memories. Here's how to get your pics organized, backed up, and out where you can enjoy them." Better Homes & Gardens, May 2012
My mom had photo albums. No boxes full of prints or prints still in their paper sleeves direct from the store. We could sit down with an album and take a trip down memory lane. So, I did the same. It wasn't a big deal until we had kids. To make matters worse, with the blessing of our first child we also purchased a digital camera and that meant the number of pictures taken skyrocketed! Now I must have 15 albums full of pictures that we NEVER look at!
Something had to change, so about a year ago, I stopped printing all the pics, but still downloaded them off the memory card and onto the computer. Better Homes & Gardens had an article listing six steps to take to get back in control of all those digital memories.
The first was to download those photos at least once a month. You don't want to lose them all with a bad card or a stolen camera! Check. I can't stand "clutter" and for me too many photos on the memory card is clutter - I know, ridiculous :-)
The second step needs some implementation at my house: Edit, Edit, Edit! Delete duplicates. Delete poor quality shots. Fight the instinct to save every photo. They say it just makes it harder to find the good ones. I liked their tip: if editing a big batch is overwhelming, do it in 15-20-min increments.
The third step is to decide on a method to organize your photos on your computer. We have a folder for each year, then within that a folder for every month. If a month has some "events" in it, we might create an additional folder or two for those, like birthday parties or family Christmas gatherings. This is what they suggest as well. Be sure to label your month folders by number so they stay in order (i.e. 02 for February).
The fourth step is an overwhelming idea for me: rename each photo with a title that will help you find the image later. I think this would be a 30-minutes-at-a-time project, too!
The fifth step is to BACK IT UP! Once organized into folder, back it up! Use an external hard drive, an online storage service, or prints.
The final step is to delete the photos from your camera or phone. You'll avoid downloading the same photos twice and by doing this AFTER all the other steps, you don't run the risk of losing any photos.