I did a post a few years ago on organizing and printing photos that was extremely popular. I also did one on photo books. Now I think it’s time to confess that I’ve changed my whole process. I just don’t spend as much time organizing photos and I think my process has changed the more that I’ve become immersed in this new 21st century digital life.
I just want the easiest process possible and my old method doesn’t work for me anymore. My new process is streamlined and I’ve limited myself to about 6-12 family photos a month to print and tape into an album. While I love photo books, I don’t enjoy the computer process of making them anymore and I would rather be doing something adventurous. I now want to spend my time making memories, not cataloging them. My new process also allows the rest of the family to be involved and they are able to help add photos to the albums too when they come in the mail.
Managing and Storing Photos
“a simple solution for a simple life”
I take a lot of photos….I mean hundreds or thousands a month…but I don’t want to spend the time to organize them all. I also don’t have a lot of room on my laptop for them, so I use an external hard drive to manage them. Here’s my organizing and storing process:
- I dump all my phone/camera photos into a download folder and drag them into folders by month. I don’t even try to distinguish the good ones from the bad. Each month might have a gazillion photos in them, and it doesn’t matter as long as they are in the correct monthly folder. Another note: I don’t use any photo apps for organizing…I just Airdrop them into my download folder and then drag and drop into a master PHOTOS folder on my external harddrive.
- I pull all my photos down from Instagram for the month and add them to monthly folders. To do this: Go to Settings in your Instagram app, Go to Security, Go to Download Data and Request a Download. A link will be sent to your email and you can download all your photos (already organized into folders by month/year).
- Once a month of photos has been completely downloaded, I put another backup onto a second external hard drive labeled “Family Photos Backup” just in case my other storage fails.
“6-12 photos per month”
Once all my photos are organized by month, I go through and pick 6-12 photos to print. That’s my magic number. While I’m so tempted to pick a gazillion photos to print I try and remember that in a few years my family will just want to see a few highlights from each month. 100 photos per year is a manageable number and about what I used to take when I had 24 exposures. Once my photo highlights are uploaded to Prime Photos and organized into monthly folders, it’s easy to print a month of photos and have them arrive in my mailbox in a week. Also, you get free storage for photos in Prime so if you have it why not use it as a backup!
Keeping a Checklist
“a checklist a day keeps the anxiety away”
Ok, here’s my HUGE secret to staying on top of photos. I use a checklist to keep track of where I am in uploading and printing. With a checklist I can spend 15-20 minutes here and there tackling a small chunk of photos and then come back to it a month later and know exactly where I left off:
I’ve uploaded a blank copy so that you can just print multiple copies if needed to catch up on your own photos. (click here to download the checklist PDF or click the image below:
Creating a Photo Album
“one album a year as a family project”
My old process had cumbersome post albums, page sleeves and too many photos. I like this new simplified process and the especially the cost. These oversized scrapbooks are simple and easy to use and they only cost around $12 each. If I limit myself to 100 photos a year my total cost for a yearly album is only $24.
I love that this is an oversized album 11.75″ x 14″ and the price is right! If I limit myself to 6-12 photos a month it is the perfect size for one year of photos (I only adhere to one side). Also, I love the feel of the paper pages and there’s no “post system” to worry about (unless you want to add or subtract but I’m restricting myself from doing that).
I don’t know why I have so much trouble with double sided tape and tape runners but I do! The double sided tape is difficult to manage and the tape runners always seem to skip or run out too fast. These square come out of the dispenser box ready to stick and all you have to do is pull off the little tab in one motion when set. They are acid free as well.
It takes just a few minutes to put a month’s worth of photos into an album:
I read somewhere that this generation of kids will be the most photographed but all eventually have the least amount of photos because so many could be lost digitally….so I’m going to print more photographs!
If this was too much information to wade through…here are my basic supplies:
I’d love to hear any other tips you have for storing photos, videos and other family memories!