Photo Organizing for Special Events

As we all know we are entering the time of year when our calendars are filled with special events.

 

The next few months will be chock-full of special moments. There are the expected holidays, there will be parties, engagements, vacations, graduations, sporting events, and pregnancy announcements (this happened twice in my family…at Thanksgiving…it was awesome).

What I’m hinting at is that there are a lot of opportunities to not only make amazing memories but to take amazing photographs. These kind of photos are the kind that pays dividends for generations. special event photographs can serve as signposts in our lives. Here is what our family looked like in 1975! Here we are in 1996!

This week I want to encourage you to take few minutes to take a few minutes to prepare for taking lots of photos of all your special events.

 

  1. Take a look at your camera before the event. Is it charged? Are there photos still on it from your last event? Upload any old photos and make a promise to improve your photo habits.
  2. How well do you know your camera? Do you use your phone or a digital camera? Hop on the internet and look up “Tips for taking better photos with ____________.” There are SO many great tips on taking better photos from lighting to framing. A five-minute search will make your photos amazing. Well worth the investment.
  3. Create a “shoot list.” That’s a list of photos you want to take. That’s especially important if you want group shots. I would suggest sending everyone an email. That way your friends and family can be camera ready. It also helps you focus on getting your shots before the moment passes.
  4. Be a photojournalist. Don’t be afraid to play around with perspective; move around, change levels, get in close. All these techniques make for more interesting photos than everyone standing in a line, fake smiling.
  5. Think about photo gifts. A thoughtful, unexpected photo makes a wonderful gift. Think about how you can not only capture the personality of your friends and family but how you can flatter them. How you can show your love. The idea is not to gift a 11×13 photo to your uncle of him chowing on turkey. A better moment is your father teaching your daughter how to carve the turkey. That’s a special event.

 

 

 

 

Best Books On Organizing

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. Read more about this in our Disclosure Statement.

I love books.

 

I always have. I am a constant reader. I love nothing better than to curl up with a good book and my dog. I’m a simple woman.

I thought now would be a good time to share a small list of the organizing books that I turn to again and again. A few might be surprising…a personal finance book? Take a look at my list and brainstorm how one of these might help you get a little more organized. I’d love to get the titles of organizing books that you find helpful…or not helpful.

It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff
By Peter Walsh
Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul
By Ruth Soukup
The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life
By Francine Jay
The Automatic Millionaire, Expanded and Updated: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich
By David Bach
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
By Marie Kondo
AmazonAmazonAmazonAmazonAmazon
Why Read This Book? Why Read This Book? Why Read This Book? Why Read This Book? Why Read This Book?
Peter Walsh is brilliant at exposing the link between your stuff and your emotions.
This is especially important when organizing photos.
While not specifically a photo organizing book, the concepts he discusses are crucial to achieving peaceful organization.
What I love about this book is the discussion about living your life as your real self vs our idealized self. In photo organizing it is so easy to chuck any photo you don't like of yourself...but sometimes that's your best self.This book is one of my foundational books. For me minimalism is not about throwing everything away. Minimalism is about letting go of what does not matter to make space for what does.You might be surprised to find a personal finance book on my list of my favorite organizing books...but follow the money. If your finances are disorganized so is everything else. If you only read one book on this list...make it this one.What I love about this book is the idea that the objects in your house effect you emotionally. I was shocked when I did the exercise touching objects how clear my yes/no response was. To this day, I do not miss one thing I said "no" to.
I do the same with my photos...keep/toss. My heart knows the answer

Why Preserving Your Family History Matters

I have the best job ever. I spend my day talking to people about their family history. I learn about people, places, events that inspire me every day. I feel so fortunate to be allowed into people’s lives. The stories are amazing.

 

Occasionally, I will meet with someone who is undecided about organizing their photos. They don’t feel like anyone else wants to hear their story. That after they’re gone no one will care about these slips of paper.

I can only say, that’s just not true. You have no idea who your story will touch. Who your story will encourage. Who your story will inspire.

She may not even have been born yet.

 

I was lucky enough to be chosen to write a blog post for the Association of Professional Photo Organizers (APPO) on the topic of “Why Preserving Your Family History Matters” (I’ve included the link below). To sum it up: YOU MATTER. THAT YOU LIVED MATTERS.

I hope that you find a kernel of inspiration in my post that inspires you to organize and preserve your family history. It is a task well worth the effort.

Why Preserving Your Family History Matters

 

Organizing Family Photos

Are you overwhelmed by the idea of organizing your family photos?

I have photos…you have photos…we all have photos!

So. Many. Photos. By several experts opinions, we are reaching the point of 1 trillion photos taken annually worldwide. ONE TRILLION!! And that number only includes new photos were taken, not the boxes and boxes of physical photos that we have inherited from beloved family members. To say that we have a photo storage problem is an understatement. We are drowning in photographs. What to do with all those treasured family photos?

I know that sounds overwhelming. I know your busy doing your best for your family. I know that “getting organized” is one of the top New Year’s resolutions every year. I know that you love your family memories and have real concerns about how to store and save and share these precious mementos.

That’s why I’m here. I’m here to give you a real plan on how to save these beauties, how to share them with your friends and family, and how to set up a system that will let you access every single one of your photos and is an easy way to organize your future photos.

Can you do that? You ask…Heck ya!

 

“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has—or ever will have—something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.” Mr. Rogers

If you’ve stumbled on this blog, I’m guessing you have because you believe that family photos are valuable. Let me tell you, you’re not alone.

We’ve all had the heart-wrenching experience of believing a treasured photo lost only to feel the relief when we find it tucked away safe. Many of us have also had the profound joy of finding a photo; perhaps of us with someone passed, that we didn’t know existed.

This is me with my grandpa, you’ll hear a lot about him on this blog, the last time I saw him before he passed away. He was giving me a hug goodbye. We loved each other; I think you can tell that by the photo. The thing is…I didn’t know this photo existed. A few months after he passed my Mom mentioned in passing that she found a photo on her phone that she thought I’d like to have. When I saw it…I cried. I’m crying now. That’s the power of a little piece of paper. It gives us back people we’ve lost, places we won’t return to, events that cannot be recreated.

I’m excited to help you reconnect with yourself and your family.

3 Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Photos

Has the spring cleaning bug hit you yet? Do you find yourself whistling as you reach for the toolbox? Are you spending more time perusing the cleaning supply aisles at target?

I like to think of myself as a minimalist so I’m always trying to reduce reduce reduce!!!

 

The result of this hobby is that both my husband and my dog get a little nervous when I start walking around the house with a plastic garbage bag and a look of determination. I promised this year that I wouldn’t “TOUCH THEIR STUFF!” OKAYYYYY….SHEESH…

That leaves me with more energy/ideas for helping you. How’s the photo library looking? Did you take lots and lots of photos over the holidays? New Years? And super fun ski vacations? Gosh, I hope so.

Now you may be experiencing a sense of feeling overwhelmed. You know you took some great shots of the kids but where the heck are they?

I’ve got a plan. It’s easy…three steps…and you’re done.

 

Let’s start with digital:

 

  1. Pick up your phone and get deleting. Don’t over think here. Just delete. A lot. Anything that doesn’t make you smile. Make sure you are deleting from the main photo library. Not off the cloud or in albums. Those are just copies and when they reappear you’ll be super confused. Been there.
  1. Put those beauties in albums. Hopefully, you’ve taken my previous advice and set up a framework for your digital photos (YEAR>CATEGORY>EVENT) If you haven’t it looks like this (2017>Ski Trips>Snowmass Trip). Don’t forget to use those tags (see reference list below).
  1. Get sharing! However, you share your photos make it a habit to just do it! Have a great photo of your girlfriend…share it with her! EVERYONE loves to get a photo of him or her with a note/text/email. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Just reach out.

Let’s get physical:

 

  1. Ready, set, go! Give yourself a time-limit (1-hour max), set a timer and see how many photos you can put in the shred pile. A few common themes: out of focus photos, too dark photos, oddly framed or… Who is this? Why soooo many pictures of this? I like to use a discard box as opposed to a bag, much easier to chuck stuff into.
  1. Research. Hop on google and do a little research of who scans photos in your area. The future is here and it’s digital. If you still want to keep your original print photos…right on. However….you want your photos digital. They are safer, easier to share, and SO much easier to store.
  1. Tag your it! Most photos taken digitally now are pre-packed with lots of information about the photo (location, date, weather, face-recognition, etc), photos we’ve scanned aren’t so lucky. They are a fresh, clean slate. If you don’t add any info about who, what, where, when it will be MUCH harder to find and use your photos when they are swooped up into the cloud. Do yourself a HUGE favor and update your scanned photos before you upload them to your storage service. If you need help deciding on keywords…here’s a reference list
Click to open printable

That’s it! Your photos are sparking! Now you’re ready for all the wonderful adventures of summer.

The Hodgepodge Girl: Five Tips For Overcoming Photo Organizing Stress

 

Let’s talk about the emotional side of photo organizing. I know…sounds scary but I’ve got some ideas to help avoid the feelings of dread and resentment that many of you have mentioned as your top feelings associated with organizing your family’s photos.

 

First, I want to make clear that organizing your photos is NOT like organizing your spice drawer.

I’ve never met anyone brought to tears by an old can of baking soda but a photo of you and grandma in her kitchen with flour on your cheeks…waterworks. Wait…I’m not the only one…right?

Photos are packed with emotion. That’s the point. That’s what makes them wonderful. I would argue that organizing your family photos is good for your mental health. That sorting through those emotions and memories is as liberating as years of therapy. Keep in mind I’m not a psychologist…But I have seen people experience profound joy by rediscovering forgotten memories and self-acceptance by embracing the goofy little child they once were…

When I talk to people about organizing their photos the most common emotion I run across are a combination of obligation and resentment. We feel obligated to do something with these slips of memories and deeply resentful that the task has landed on our plate. Why us? Why not cousin Emily? Because she’s a flake who doesn’t deserve the family photos…she can’t even…

Sound familiar? I’ve heard it. Families are complicated. We all have black sheep, flakes, nincompoops, and knuckleheads.

 

Here are five tips to help you embrace the experience of organizing your photos and also create an atmosphere of self-care:

 

  1. The set-up is everything.
    • Block out 4 hours of personal time. Be unavailable to everyone. This is your time.
    • Gather all the albums, shoeboxes, and random envelopes that you want to organize.
    • Get a BIG glass of water, treats, and a box of tissues.
    • Make sure you have acid-free boxes and photo albums for your organized photos.
  2. You are going to make a mess.
    • The biggest mistake that I see people make when they try to organize photos is they try to keep everything tidy through the whole process. That’s very hard. Allow yourself to make a huge mess. It’s easier and way more fun.
  3. You don’t have to save everything.
    • If you don’t like a photo of yourself…ditch it.
    • If you don’t know who is in a photo…ditch it.
    • If the photo is damaged, unflattering, or a subject you could care less about…ditch it. If you think someone else in the family would appreciate the picture…send it to them in a card “thought you’d like this!”  Boom…you’re a hero and the dang thing is OUT of your life.
  4. There is NO right way to organize photos.
    • A lot of people get stuck at this part. They want to do it “right” but don’t know what that means…so they get overwhelmed and don’t do anything.
    • How you organize your photos is your business. You can organize them by color if that makes you happy. You can organize them by emotion. You can organize them by location. You can alphabetize them if you’d like. They just need to make sense to you.
    • I like to organize by year and then season. I know boring.  It’s just easier for me. If you organize your photos by color will you send me a picture…cuz that sounds awesome!
  5. Keep them safe.
    • Now that you’ve sorted, tossed, and reviewed your photos…you know how special they are. Please make a plan to keep them safe.
    • My top tip…always…is to get them digitized. You can do it yourself if you have a scanner and a lot of patience/time or you can have them done professionally. I recommend having them done professionally. It’s relatively inexpensive and a HUGE time saver.
    • Once they are digitized back them up on your cloud or use a service like Forever. Avoid using photo printing services like shutter fly or snap fish as your back up. One, you lose your digital copyrights to the photos and two you cannot be sure how long they will be around.

Organizing your photos is an emotional process. I know.

 

When I organized my own family’s photos I had multiple “good” cries. It’s part of the process and it’s healing. Rather than run from the emotion, embrace it. The fact that you care is a great sign. It means the family picked the right person to be responsible; you were the hero they were waiting for…

Preserving Your Love Story

Sit back a let me tell you a real love story.

This story has it all: an interesting heroine, a dashing complicated hero, heartbreak, betrayal, redemption. It’s the love story of my great-grandparents, Edwin and Leonore, know as Ed & Leo. I never had a chance to meet them, they died long before I was born. Yet, I know their love story today better than many of my closet friends. I was lucky to discover an old photo album. I am here because of this love story. I know them because of old photographs and an even older scrapbook.

   The story begins with a dashing, witty young man who comes home from WWI a hero. That he lived when the survival rate of his unit was only 20% is a miracle in itself. A fellow soldier had a sister, Leonore, who he introduced to his friend.

  Leonore was dashing and witty herself. She worked during the war at a spark plug plant in Michigan and in her free-time was an outstanding photographer and poet…keep in mind this is 1918. She was quite the bohemian.

   They fell in love.

They had three beautiful children.        

They were not meant to last.

The hero was too damaged by the war to make a good husband. They divorced.Leonore died young of a broken heart. Ed died alone. His children never knowing him. Their love story was lost to the past.

Then one day, their great-granddaughter started organizing the family photo albums….and they were rediscovered.

They were reintroduced to a family who had lost them. They were loved and accepted, despite flaws and errors in judgment. A family wound was healed.

Your photos, your story matters. The only reason this story has an ending of redemption is that I was lucky enough to organize my family photos. I was lucky that I had a chance to know my past. These photos, these stories are my family’s legacy. I CHERISH them.

 

When you organize and preserve your photos you are creating a priceless gift for your family. This story cannot be told by anyone else. It must be told by you. Your old print pictures hiding in your attic, closet, shoeboxes are the foundation of your family. They tell amazing tales.They tell stories of heroes, heartbreaks, and amazing bohemian women.

For your family, please take the time to create your own love story book. Gather all of your photos that tell the unique and wonderful story of your romance. Then share those stories with your children and grandchildren. That love story is the beginning of your family. Do not let your unique history disappear among old takeout menus and junk mail. Take the time today to preserve your family’s legacy. Future generations will thank you for investing in their heritage.

I want to end with a poem that was written in the back of my great grandmother’s family photo album. I don’t know if she was thinking of Ed when she penned the words. I hope so. He listed himself as married long after they divorced and even after Leonore passed away. Their love story was dashing and complicated just like they were.

Save your photos, preserve your memories. A young girl in the distant future may come to cherish you and your story.

Preserve Your Love Story

 

 

#1 Thing You Can Do To Organize Your Photos

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. Read more about this in our disclosure policy.

 

“What is the ONE thing I can do to organize my photos?”

I get it. You’re busy. You know it’s important to take care of your photos but sheesh…can a person get a break?

My top, top, top photo organizing advice…or really when it comes to organizing anything…is to get everything in ONE  spot. You cannot know what you have if you don’t know where it all is.

If you have your photos all in one place..voila! You’re on your way to getting organized. But I’m guessing that you have a few gems hidden away. Get sleuthing!

 

Concentrating all your pictures into one spot is the absolute must first step. If you do nothing else, just get all your photos together. Sounds easy…right???

I’ll make it even easier: Follow these two steps…or three if you’re a real go-getter.

First, pick a place to keep your photos (that is not your phone or a memory card).  It can be the photo service that came with your computer operating system. It can be a free service like Google Photos, an add-on service like Amazon Prime Photo, or a paid cloud service like Forever. I won’t go into all the reasons today why one is vastly better than the others but I will say that I use Forever and LOVE it.

Now round-up all your photos. Places they may be hiding: your phone, your camera, your email, your Facebook, cloud, pictures, photo, random memory cards. And those are JUST the digital photos. If you want to organize ALL your photos you’ll need to track down all of those random print photos as well.

Last, if you are feeling really motivated and tracked down all of your print photos…the next step would be to get them digitized. Hopefully, you have someone locally that can do the work for you. If not there are several services I’ve used in the past that are trustworthy and do a fantastic job. I’ll go over them in a future post.

That’s it. That’s your best, first step. Just get everything in one place. It sounds so simple but it is the foundation for any sort of organizing you’ll want to do throughout this year and beyond.

 

I’m excited to help you on your journey to get organized. Please do not feel overwhelmed. It’s just following a series of small steps. As we move through the year, you will praise the heavens again and again that you made this first step to finally get your photos organized.

Four Tips To Declutter and Organize Your Digital Photos

 

december-2016-facebook-photo-statistic
December 2016 Facebook Statistic

The above quote is from Facebook. They are a photo storage giant. 90 billion photos. Can you imagine?!

 

Here’s the thing…I bet you can. I bet you feel like you have nine billion photos on your phone alone. You probably have another 60 in the cloud…whatever that means? And 160 billion on your hard drive. Let’s face it…we have a lot of digital photos. A LOT. I find the Facebook statistic fascinating because, that’s a lot of photos, that statistic is JUST Facebook. It doesn’t even include Instagram (which Facebook owns) or Twitter or holy cow…Snapchat!! We are drowning in digital photos. I know I am. By my last count, I’m at 30,000. That’s unique images. Not to mention why must iPhoto do that weird face thing? Why?! Does anyone like it? I will say it does give me a chuckle when it picks out my dog’s face or I have one of the Mona Lisa who it thinks is a friend of mine…awesome.

Here are five tips that will help you to organize and declutter your part of the 200 million photos before they get uploaded to Facebook.

 

This first step is crucial. You have to get all your photos into one place. Please do not say “Hodgepodge Girl…they are ALL on my phone!” I will save my rant about leaving photos on your phone for another day. For now, download them to whatever photo service you use: iPhoto, Google photo, Amazon, Window’s photo gallery, Forever, Lightroom

 

 

  1. Delete Duplicates. I like to use Photo Sweeper for macs and Duplicate Photo Fixer Pro for PCs. DPFP is capable of doing both…I just prefer PS.
  2. Now that you have a good idea of how many original photos you have…you need to start deleting. This is usually the hardest part for people because keeping the image seems easier than deleting. It’s not. I’ve   even had clients who had no idea who people in the photo were…but were sure they should keep it. Why?! I might figure it out someday. Ahem…no you won’t.  No one is so bored they peruse old digital photos to see if they can remember people they forgot. It’s not going to happen. Delete.
  3. Your photo collection is now so clean and shiny. It’s time to start tagging. This is a step that is often overlooked because…it’s tedious. We all love the instant gratification of taking a photo, some even download them, but NO ONE wants to tag…before it lands on social media. The thing is tagging…before you upload to your Facebook is VERY, VERY important for you. It makes it really easy to find pictures later on if you should want to use them for gifts or slideshows or just quick trip down memory lane. I recommend tagging the following info: YEAR, EVENT, PERSON (2016, Park City Ski Trip, Danny) That way you can do really quick searches to pull up a great range of photos. Some fun ideas would be a year in review slideshow, a calendar for Danny, a photo album of ski trips. So get tagging!
  4. Now that you have your digital photo collection organized, decluttered, tagged it’s time to get it off your hard drive. There are a lot of great cloud services. I use Forever and I love it. I have an app on my phone and iPad so I can have all my photos handy and they don’t take up any of my storage space. I can make quick gifts and have them shipped. I can even share photo albums with my friends and family. Not to mention they are safe from technical glitches (dropping my phone) that can happen when your photos aren’t backed up.

I hope this has given you some great ideas on how to move digitally clutter free into the New Year. Happy 2017!!

 

5 Best Organizing Products For Your Photos

*This post may contain affiliate or referral links. Read more about this in our disclosure policy.

 

It’s crunch time. Not only are a few of the major holidays right around the corner we are fast approaching the end of the year. That’s right kids!! It’s time for New Year’s Resolutions!!! Here is a list of the 5 best products for organizing your photos.

 

top-new-years-resolutions
Courtesy of Statistic Brain

Honestly, I find the resolutions on this list kinda wonderful. I want all these things (except the quit smoking…I want my husband to quit smoking cigars but I don’t think you can make resolutions for others…can you?) It’s a great list! All of them totally achievable with a little bit of work and a lot of support.

 

Today’s post is going to center on the #2 goal “get organized” but hopefully it will help you to spend less (when you know what you have you don’t need more), learn something exciting, help others, spend more time with family, and (my favorite) enjoy life to the fullest.

To access more information on each item, click the image to be redirected.

  1.  Acid-Free Photo Storage Boxes

These are THE only way to store print photos that you are not using regularly. They protect your print photos from UV damage, bending, and are easy to store. Each box holds 1,100 4×6 photographs. That’s a lot of storage.

2.Acid-Free Photo Albums

These are for your very best/frequently viewed photos. The photos that deserve to be on the coffee table. These albums are beautiful and should be for your A-level photos. Switching to acid-free albums is a must to save and protect your family print photographs.

3.16GB Picture Keeper

This is a fantastic way to back up and protect your digital photos without committing to a cloud service. Works with both PC and Macs and could not be simpler to use. My only “extra” tip here would be to store this in your waterproof/fireproof safe. That way your images are triple protected from loss.

4.Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

This little scanner is amazing. It runs on a battery which makes it easy to use anywhere. The resolution of the pictures scanned is as good as my super fancy scanner. This is perfect for when you come across a print photo that you want to save and share. I’d be lost without mine.

5.10.4 Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame with Email

This is not your everyday digital photo frame. Not only does it show your digital photos in high-resolution, you, your friends, and family can email photos directly to the frame itself. You can also sync your iPhone directly to the device and skip your computer entirely.

These five items are my absolute must for photo organization. They each provide a layer of safety and preservation for your photos while also being easy to use. I am confident that with these few items you can completely reorganize and protect your family photos.