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

 

Review of Three Common Duplicate Photo File Finders

Today I’m going to give a quick review of three common duplicate photo file finders.

 

When I meet with clients who are interested in organizing their digital files I have three initial questions:

  1. What do you want to use these photos for?
  2. How many digital photos do you have?
  3. What software or app do you use to delete duplicates?

The first question is: Why are you working with your digital photo now?

Is it because you have an event coming up? Or is it because you’ve finally reached the breaking point of not being able to find your photos?

The second question is the heart of digital photo organizing.

How many? You would be amazed. I am all the time.

I am amazed at the number of my own photo collection. I routinely get an answer in the 10s of thousands. To hear someone say 20,000 is not unusual. Can you imagine 20,000 photographs?! It’s mind-boggling. It’s no wonder people feel overwhelmed.

My third question is often met with a blank look…what duplicate removal software do you use?

Few people scan their photos for duplicates. The person who has 20,000 images…I would bet at least 7,000 are duplicates. Perhaps not exact duplicates but the same image with a different filter or a different cropping. Close enough that if you removed the “Meh” photos you would be left with a lot more space on your hard-drive and a much better photo library.

Here is a quick review of three of the most common duplicate photo file finders:

photo file finder|digital photos|organizing tips

The Right Way To Organize Photos

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What is the right way to organize photos?

 

I know many people who move through life with ease get stuck on what to do with their family photos. It’s like there is a well-believed myth that there is a “right” way to organize photos and if you didn’t learn it, or instinctively know it, you’re somehow a lesser human.

Your mom, sister, best friend, mother-in-law tried to teach you, tell you, show you the right way to do it but you could just never get it right.

You hired someone to organize your photos and she told you how you “should” do it but alas you could never keep up with the system.

It all feels like a huge mess that you’ll just never get the gist of.

 

For the record: I’m a life-long organizer, a Certified Photo Organizer, and Queen of the bossy pants. Let me set you straight…ahem….THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY!!!

And anyone who tells you how you “should” do it is full of malarkey and you have my permission to say so.

Here’s the truth. There are many, many ways you could organize your photos. Some of the ways are easier, some more complicated but none of them is the way you SHOULD do it. If it doesn’t work with your photos, your life, your circumstance, the way you think, or the way you live it will NEVER work for you. It just won’t. Accept that and move on to what does work for you.

When I tell you how to organize your photos what I’m giving you is a framework, based on what we know now, about the best way to sort and protect your photos. These are industry norms. They work for most people and their photo organizing needs. A consistent system, a central location, and a reliable/flexible platform are really the basis of all photo organizing.

Does that mean it will work for you? No. I’d say it’s a good place to start.

 

All that being said, don’t be afraid to listen to advice. My goal main goal is to protect your photos for generations. I will always tell my clients to digitize their photos and store them in a cloud service. There are a lot of people who do not want to do that. They want to touch their photos, hold their photo albums, and think the cloud is a data mining conspiracy theory. Who is right?

All good organization starts with your organizing needs and incorporates your individual circumstances. Never be afraid to say what won’t work for you. There is no right way but there are better/easier ways. In the end, the right organizing system is the one you feel most comfortable with and only you can know that.

 

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.

5 Tips For Organizing Digital Photos

I’ve always organized photos. Well, I’ve always organized everything but photos are my favorite. I love the idea that each photo tells a little story. A moment frozen in time. A small window into another’s life or even your own from another perspective. It’s art and life and memories all rolled into one. When it comes to organizing digital photos we have the capability of recording every moment not just the occasional.

This year is the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. Can you believe it? Only ten years…and boy has the world changed. Not only are we all technically connected at all times…we take more photos in a year that had been taken in the 100 previous years.

It’s no wonder so many of us feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of digital photos in our lives. We are inundated. Here are a quick five things you can do today to help slow the flood of digital pictures into your life.

1.DELETE: Go to your photo library on your phone and delete all the “bad” photos. What I mean is fuzzy, weird, why did I take that photo on your phone. Also, unless you love the original photo, delete the originals you cropped, filtered, or otherwise improved. There’s no reason to keep a badly lit, poorly framed original when you’ve already improved it for publishing on social media.

  1. DUPLICATES: Run photo duplicate removal software through your photo library. Duplicates are a huge pain and it’s super fun to get rid of them. I LOVE easy duplicate finder. It works for either mac or pcs…which is handy if you have both. AND it is really easy to use.
  2. ORGANIZE: Now it gets personal. How do you want to access your photos? To make it easy..I recommend using a yearly system. Then sorted by themes/events (2017: ski trips). The most important thing is to go from the largest theme to the smallest.
  3. TAG: This part is so important, maybe the most important. You MUST tag your photos. If you want to do anything with your photos (gifts, albums, photo montage, sharing) you must be able to search easily. If you just dump all your photos into a 2017 folder, you will be creating a lot of work for your future self. Just slow down take a minute and tag the dang things. I recommend tagging the heck out of them (people, places, event, year). You want to be able to search for as much as possible. It makes life much easier later.
  4. BACK UP: You must have a backup plan. I say this a lot. It’s one of my foundational beliefs about life, not just photos. So, what’s your plan b? Computers crash, photos get deleted, natural disasters happen…what’s your plan for your irreplaceable photos? You have a lot of options depending on: how much you want to spend, how much time you want to spend, how you share your photos, and how comfortable you are with technology. I use Forever because it’s easy, safe, and easy to share. It is a cloud service and there was a fee involved. I have clients who prefer to use an external hard drive, I recommend picture keeper. And others just use a “free” cloud service.

It really is up to you and what you feel comfortable with.

One thing I will say about those “free” cloud services like Dropbox, google photo or Amazon’s cloud service…read your terms of service (TOS). They change often and your “free” use of a 3rd party service may mean you’ve signed away your digital copyright.

That may not mean anything to you now but it should. I’ll cover more on digital data mining and digital copyright in a future post. It’s an important topic and getting more important as we upload our lives into the cloud.

As you can see, organizing your digital photos is a little different than organizing print photos. Technology has made taking photos easier than ever. I think that’s a wonderful thing. However, it does mean that we need to be a little more vigilant about organizing before our once in a lifetime photos get lost in bad selfies, pocket photos, and pictures we forgot why we took.

#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.

 

3 Tips For Organizing Neat and Tidy Photo Albums

Don’t hate me…but I am the girl who got a pony for Christmas.

 

She was…and I’m not joking here…under my tree. I have the photo evidence: me, my dog, and the winter wonderland that was that Christmas to prove it.

I’m hoping that this holiday season you and your family have spectacular, wonderful, magical memories that you will cherish forever. At the very least, I hope you have super fun photos that you can use to extort family members for years. It’s often a season of odd choices…fashion-wise.

Today, I want to help you wrangle the plethora of holiday photos you’ll take in neat and tidy order and give you a few tips on what to do with the photos you already have.

Tip #1

Go through your digital photos while they are still on your phone and delete, delete, delete. You will save yourself a lot of time if you just take a minute to delete your photos before they get to the cloud and it becomes a huge chore of how to delete this gosh darn thing?! Been there, done that.

Tip #2

Make a folder on your computer (Holiday 2016) and upload your photos off your phone regularly. If you have kids, I would say daily. For the rest of us make a point of doing it at least twice this month.

Tip #3

Use a service like shutterfly to make physical photo albums of your holiday photos. They are not expensive, they make fantastic gifts, and they are much easier to store than traditional photo albums. This is an especially great tip if you have little ones and grandparents who don’t get to see them during the holidays. It’s a fantastic way to share your joy.

I hope these tips were helpful for how to set up a simple system for keeping your holiday photos neat and tidy. I cannot give a strong enough recommendation to preserving and sharing your holiday photos. If not for yourself, then for your family.

Holiday memories shared bring more joy than even the best present.

If you have a moment, please share a treasured holiday memory or gift that really touched your heart.

 

Why Family Photos Help With Grief

An unfortunate part of the human condition is grief. I’ve lost people, pets, dreams and it’s never easy. It always hurts.

Let’s face it…it always sucks. There is no way out, only through.

 

I know this seems like a depressing topic but like taxes and poor hair choices, it happens to us all. What can we do? How do we make this a positive?

My only advice is love as hard as you can, for as long as you can.

 

I lost my maternal grandmother about 6 months ago. I miss her. I miss knowing she was in the world. I miss her laugh. She was a force. 

I’m lucky that I knew her, that we loved each other, that I have memories and photos.

September has been the “Save your photos” month and I hope you used all the publicity to take a moment to save your photos.

They are priceless. They are your ticket to loved ones that are no longer here.

 

If you haven’t digitized your print photos, I urge you to make the investment today. If you haven’t backed up your digital photos to a cloud service, I urge you to take the time.

The grieving process for loved ones is hard enough with the photo reminders of love, laughter, and a life well lived. I don’t want you to also grieve the fact that you didn’t save your tickets to the show.