The object most people say they’d save in the event of a fire is their photographs. They are our most prized possessions, and yet finding ways to organize them has become such a laborious task in the age of digital photography. This is the perfect time of the year to adopt new habits so your photos are easier to find, enjoy, and keep safe for future generations.
STEP 1: IMPORT REGULARLY AND ORGANIZE BY DATE
Put a reminder on your calendar to import your photos on the first day of each new month. Upon import, give your photos names that start with the date and include information about the event or activity (for example, “2015-12-20 – Christmas Cookie Baking”). Then, organize photos into file folders on your hard drive named by month (for example, “2016-01 – January”).
STEP 2: CURATE YOUR COLLECTION
I organize my photos using a program called Adobe Lightroom
. I love this program because I can quickly rank my photos with star ratings, flags, etc. as I view them. It is a great way to keep track of favorites after they are imported, which makes pulling favorites at the end of the year (for example, to make a family calendar for the grandparents or an annual album) much easier. You can sort by five star rated photos, for example, and bring up the best of the year with one click of your mouse. Lightroom has basic editing features as well, and it is a fantastic tool to have in your arsenal.
STEP 3: CELL PHONE PHOTOS
They say the best camera is the one you have with you, and our cell phones are quite frequently within reach to capture those everyday moments between family photo sessions. It is important to make sure cell phone photos are being backed up as we take them. I have had success with automatically backing them up using a free dropbox
account. I have it set up to capture photos from both my phone and my husband’s when we are in range of our wifi. I like dropbox
because I get a notification when it is full, which prompts me to download them to my hard drive/back up in the cloud. I put them in the same monthly photo folders so that everything is organized by date, and then I delete them from my phone.
STEP 4: MAKE BACKUPS AUTOMATIC
I use crashplan
to backup all of my computers and hard drives. The plan I use allows me to protect all of my external drives and devices without deleting my data (even if these devices are not continually tethered to my main computer!). Hard drives are pretty much guaranteed to fail over time, so I make sure this is always running automatically in the background.
STEP 5: PRINT YOUR MOST IMPORTANT PHOTOS
According to one recent analysis
, more than 1 in 5 hard drives failed during a 4 year period. According to my professional print lab, White House Custom Color
, a professionally printed photograph will last for over 100 years in typical home display and over 200 years in dark storage. It is so important to print photos regularly, and it is truly the best way to ensure that these important heirlooms will stand the test of time.
One way to automate printing cell phone photos is to sign up for a subscription based service, such as BooksTo.Me
. This service automatically prints photo books from your instagram
feed each month or quarter, depending on your preference. I love the simplicity of this idea. Curate your favorite photos by uploading them in real time to an instagram account and the books arrive at your door.
Our photographs are important because of the people in them. I hope these tips help you preserve and enjoy your photographs, and also allow you more time with the people you love. Wishing you all a very happy and healthy new year!