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  • Paul Good

Organizing Your Photos on Your Downtime

Have you suddenly found yourself with more time on your hands in quarantine? Looking for an activity to keep everyone in the family involved, but will make the house more tidy? Why not take a stroll down memory lane and organize all your photos! What are your goals? So you have some downtime now (don’t we all?) and you want to share a photo, or grab a photo for an event, repair an old photo, or post an old photo to your Facebook to share a memory. Whatever it is, having a well-organized photo storage system will make your life so much easier! To have access to your photos at a moment’s notice, you’ll want to sort out all those loose photos in shoeboxes under your bed, and all those half-full albums collecting dust on a bookshelf in your hallway, and all those bundles in your attic that you just haven’t gotten around to looking at just yet. You’ll likely want to follow some order of the steps below.

  1. Gather all physical photos

  2. Sort & Organize photos

  3. Digitize/Scan Physical copies

  4. Organize on a computer or storage drive

If you’ve already started the process, great! Keep going. Remember to set aside time, but do not attempt to do everything in one sitting. Give yourself a time limit and take breaks.

Gather all your photos First of course you’ll need all the photos you want to save. But where should you look for your photos? For printed photos, check the following locations:

  • Photo albums

  • Photo boxes

  • Framed pictures

  • Scrapbooks

  • Printed photo books

  • In envelopes with greeting cards

  • Inside journals

  • Plastic bins

  • On the refrigerator

  • Drawers

  • Closets

  • Under beds

  • Jewelry Boxes

  • Wallets

  • File folders

  • The safety deposit box or safe

  • Undeveloped film

  • All of the above in your relatives’ homes

For digital photos, check the following:

  • Cell phones (old, current and all family phones)

  • Computer hard drive (old and current)

  • External hard drives

  • CDs and DVDs

  • SD memory cards from digital cameras

  • Cameras with built in memory

  • Social Media accounts

  • Email folders

  • Tablets

  • USB drives

  • Cloud storage (such as iCloud, Shutterfly, Dropbox, Flickr, etc)

Sort and Organize Your Photos While there are any number of ways to organize your photos, you’ll probably want some form of the following. Most people end up with some combo of these. Chronological, Events, People. If you’ve already labeled your photos, this organization step will be a breeze to sort through who’s in what picture and when it was taken. You can end up with piles of photos sorted by person and then sort by date, or first go by time-frame depending on how specific you want your folders to be. The main thing is to stay consistent so you don’t miss any photos and don’t spend time on duplicates and overlaps. Speaking of duplicates: Get rid of them, but keep the negatives. No need to scan the same photo twice, your digital copy can be shared far and wide! If you haven’t already, date your photos and add notes either with pencil on the back of photos or with Post-it notes. That way you know where you want to put them after you’re finished showing them off or can find them easily when the time comes. Use folders or bins to help with the organization of the images. Make sure to label the boxes and utilize smaller boxes and/or folders to move around easily. If you have the space to do so, keep them above the floor in case of spills or other accidents. Digitize Your Photos Digitizing your photos saves space and prevents your photos from deteriorating over time. It also helps you access your photos and share them promptly. In this day and age almost everyone has a phone or other device capable of sending and receiving digital photos, so having digital copies makes sharing simple. You can bring your photos to a service provider or scan them yourself. Many places will allow you to sort your photos into batches, and of course if you scan your photos yourself you’ll be able to categorize them or rename them as you do so. Organize Your Digital Photo Library The best part is they can be organized in much the same way as your physical photo library! You can keep the same naming system, same boxes, and same folders as you had physically, just by naming folders on your phone, tablet, or computer. You can add relevant information while naming the photos, to make finding them easy as well. Just stay consistent with file and folder organization to make searching faster. (Though the search function will help you even if an image is misplaced. No more rifling through multiple boxes!) If you are really tech savvy, you can also automate where and how your photos are saved so future uploads will be easy to find and access across multiple platforms. Once you have your system in place you can quickly access all your photos and transport or share them as you wish. We recommend always having a second copy of your digital files on a separate device in case something happens to one. If you’re most frequently on a desktop computer, you may choose to store your photos on the computer’s hard-drive as well as on an external drive like a hard-drive or flash drive. If you’re more frequently on your phone and have a digital-cloud service, you may want to keep them primarily on the cloud service of your choice (like iCloud or Google Drive) and also have a back-up folder on your computer or laptop. For more reading: > > >

For professional assistance with any photo restoration, retouching, or recreation, please visit us at

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