5 Tips for Organising Your Family’s Digital Photographs

How To Organise Your Family's Digital PhotographsIt’s January, and for many of us a time to (try!) and get organised. I thought this would be a good time to talk about photo organisation – if you’re anything like me you’ll have hundreds, perhaps thousands of photos of your family on your phone, on hard drives, perhaps still on your camera. Having a good system for organising, and safely storing them is essential to protecting and preserving these memories for the future.

The good news is that doing this doesn’t have to be difficult. The best approach is little and often (as with most new habits I suspect!) Here’s how I like to organise my photos.


1. First things first – protect your phone photos as soon as you take them

The one camera we all use to take most of our photos is the one on our phone. I’ve just checked and I have over 13,000 photos on my phone…that’s a lot of memories to lose! It’s not practical to back your photos up to an external device everyday, but you can take some simple steps to make sure your phone backs itself up to the cloud each day, giving you peace of mind that your photos are protected. Depending on how many photos you have, you may have to purchase some extra cloud storage to do this.

You can find Apple’s guide to automatically backing up your iPhone here. Android users can backup photos automatically using Google Plus. I’m an iPhone user so am not fully up to speed with Android systems, but this tutorial should help.


2. Decide where to store your photos

Now we know that your phone photos are safely stored until you decide to organise them. The next step is to decide where to store your photos. I keep two external hard drives for storing my photos – one as my main storage, and the other as a backup of that. I also back client photographs up on the cloud as an extra precaution. I recommend having a minimum of two places to store your photos – perhaps your computer and the cloud, a hard drive and the cloud, or your computer and a hard drive. The main thing is that if one of these devices / systems breaks you know you have a backup elsewhere.

There are lots of different options for cloud storage. If you’ve never tried it before I recommend Dropbox – it’s easy to use, and the basic level of storage is free, so you can try it out before spending any money.


3. Set up folders

Now you’ve chosen where to store your photos, the next step is to set up folders to organise them, and ensure they’re easy to find. I organise my photos by year, then by month, then by event. So for example I filed my Christmas Day photos as follows: 2016 > December > 25122016 Christmas Day.

I also recommend making a separate folder for each year called ‘Album.’ Each month, choose the best photos from that month and copy them to your album. At the end of the year, you’ll have all the photos you need to create a photo book in one place – making the thought of creating an album much less painful!


4. Make it a Monthly Habit

As with any habit little and often is the best way to make it happen. Set aside one evening a month to sit down and organise the photos from the previous month. It really won’t take long, and you can spend the rest of the month safe in the knowledge that your photos are safe and organised!


5. Back up, back up, back up!

I’ve already said it, but it’s worth repeating…however you’ve decided to to store your photos make sure that you back up regularly.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Do let me know how you get on with organising your photos. You can find my other photography tips here.

Clare Murthy

Clare Murthy

I’m a newborn, baby and family photographer working with families from South West London and Surrey. I specialise in timeless, natural photography with no props or unnatural posing. I photograph babies at my studio, and families in beautiful outdoor locations. I'm based on the Surrey / London border, close to Hampton Court.
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