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Techy Tuesday: Organizing Digital Photos

When digital photos arrived on the scene, it was awesome!  Now you could take as many photos as it took to get the shot right without wasting precious film.  It marked a new era for the amateur photographer.  The downside to digital photos is that the photos often stayed inside the digital camera for months, even years at a time!  If you weren't a conscientious archiver of your digital photos, those memories would get stuck in digital limbo for sure until you had the time to plug in to your computer, upload, and print those photos for your scrapbook or album.  Who really has time to do that?  Especially if techy business is not your business.  Is there a solution?  Of course there is.  The solution to virtually any overwhelming task is organization and strategy.  Organizing digital photos makes for easy transfer from camera to computer for archiving and printing purposes, and with the help of great digital photo storage services, you can also back up your memories in a safe {secondary} space.  This Techy Tuesday, I will walk you through the different ways to organize digital photos and how each fits in with your way of recalling memories.

The most logical way of archiving for long term purposes would be to archive chronologically {in order of time}.  Using consistent naming conventions will also aid in ordering your photos.  I like to use folders and subfolders to organize, but I also like to see my folders in order.  The way that computers like to sort {alphabetically} can sometimes hinder the organizaiton of putting folders in order by month {January, February and so on}.  My way of working around that is by creating a numberical order followed by the name.  Here is an example of how I would organize chronologically {each level represents its own folder}.

  • 2012
    • 01 January
    • 02 February
    • 03 March
As shown above, the year is its own folder, and the within it are subfolders for each month of the year.  Again, this would be ideal for long term archiving, but often, we don't recall memories chronologically, so if you can't remember when your family went on that awesome vacation to Hawaii, this system may have you digging for a while.  There is hope...

Most of us recall memories by how significant they are in our lives and for that reason, it may be easier for some to organize their memories into categories, rather than chronological order.  Here's a look at some of my categories and the pros and cons I've experienced by archiving this way.

  • Family {photos with immediate family outside our own family unit}
  • Friends 
  • Mateo {our son's baby pictures and beyond}
  • Our Family {our own little family}
  • Our Wedding {our wedding, not weddings we've attended}
  • Us {the hubs and me only}
Pros:  This method is helpful to me when going back to look for a certain photo of just our son, or the photos from our relative's last visit to California.

Cons:  This can be annoying when some photos cross over into several categories.  For example, if our family does a springtime photo shoot, I separate the photos of our son by himself into his folder, and keep shots of our family in the Our Family folder.  I don't necessarily want to split up the day's shots, but feel I have to for the sake of the system.  There's got to me a better way...

If you're like me, you want the best of both worlds.  I believe that this last method can be the best of both the chronological way of thinking as well as the categoric way of thinking.  Bringing your right brain together with your left brain can not only make for better archiving, but also ease in searching down the road.  Here's how it looks.

  • Family
    • 2010
      • 01 January - Relatives from Italy visit
      • 12 December - Tangonan Christmas
  • Friends
    • 2012
      • 05-09 May-Sep - Summer Outings
      • 10-12 Oct-Dec - Tailgating
  • Mateo
    • 2009 -2010 Baby Mateo
    • 2010
      • 05 May - 1st Birthday
      • 06 June
      • 09 September - 1st trip to zoo
  • Our Family
    • 2010
      • 12 December - Christmas Photo Session
    • 2011
      • 04 April - Las Vegas Vacation
By combining the way we recall memories with the order they take place {and playing with naming conventions}, organizing, archiving, and finding our memories can be easy.  Notice how some folders are monthly and others are seasonal, still others mark special events.  The important thing is to create a system that makes sense to how you remember events, and organizing them in a logical way while still marking special occasions and milestones.
Have you been stumped by what do to with all your digital photos?  I hope this has given you some insight and inspiration to work with the way you think and recall memories while still accomplishing the goal of logical organization.  Since the way we take photos today doesn't always end up in a box to store, we have to think outside the box when it comes to organizing.  The gift of memories is that much sweeter when there is an organized system for retrieving and reliving those memories through our photos.

How do you organize your digital photos?  Is it working for you?  I'd love to hear how others organize their digital photos, please share!

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