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3 Easy Steps to Getting Your Digital Photos Under Control

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Let’s face it…for most of us, our digital photo files are out of control.  We take a lot more pictures these days with digital because we can.  In the days of film, we might have taken 3 or 4 rolls of 24 on our vacation.  Now its not unusual to return home from a trip with 1500 pictures!  After all, we’re no longer paying for film or developing, and we have the option to delete – how great is that?!

But the reality is, even though we can delete, we’re not really deleting that many of our photos.  Add those 1500 vacation photos to all the photos taken at other events in your life – your child’s soccer game, the family barbecue, birthdays and other holidays – and all of a sudden you have a huge library of photos tucked away on your computer.   Because of the sheer number of photos, its hard to find anything when you need it…not to mention the rapidly decreasing space on your hard drive!

If you think back to why you took those photos in the first place, chances are it was to remember the good times.  Going through our old photos allows us to re-live experiences and feel connected to our friends and family.  If they sit on our computer, rarely seen, we aren’t enjoying them.  So let’s explore 3 steps that will help you get those digital photos under control so that you can get them back into your life again!

Be efficient  After an event where you have taken pictures, download them as soon as you can.  Did you know 86% of all photos never even make it off the camera?  Many people simply delete photos to make room for new ones, and memory cards do fail on occasion.  They aren’t meant for long term storage.  I know, I’ve lost pictures this way!

Be ruthless  Lets be honest.  You don’t need 200 pictures of that sunset, no matter how beautiful it was.  You’ll still be able to remember it with 2 or 3 pictures (or even 1!).  You don’t need every picture from your family gathering.  Keep the best ones and the ones that tell a story.  A good rule of thumb to follow is if you’d put in an album, its a keeper.  If its blurry, Aunt Betty’s head is cut off or if you already have a lot of pictures of the same thing, its safe to press the delete button.

Organize  This is actually much easier than most people make it out to be and I’ll be covering this more in another post.  If you don’t have a photo organizing program on your computer, invest in one and learn how to use it.  There are online classes available as well, such as Finding Your Photo Flow offered through Jessica Sprague. You can also hire a photo organizer to coach you through the process.  If you’re a Mac user, take advantage of the training available to you at the Apple Store!  Many organizing systems have bells and whistles available to you to make the process easier, like tags, facial recognition or even theme based organizing, as opposed to chronological only.  But at the very least, you can organize your photos into folders by event.

Start the process where you are at now.  You’ll find it more overwhelming if you try to do everything at the same time.  After you’ve taken care of current pictures, move to the previous year, then work backwards.  Set aside time for this project.  But if you use these steps, I think you will find you are able to pare your digital picture files to a much more manageable level, and then you will be able to get them back into your life and enjoy them!  Watch for another blog post coming soon on some fun ideas of things to do with your digital photos!