project photo rescue – toni’s digital hot mess
One might assume that if you work at Becky Higgins, you’re surely in a state of organizational bliss and completely caught up on all your scrapbooks.
Ha! That’s funnnny.
Friends, we’re very real around here, and I would never pretend that I have a perfect or complete memory-keeping system. Nor does anyone on our team. We are working parents with families and busy lifestyles and much responsibility … and thousands upon thousands of pictures. Every single one of us. Sound familiar? This is exactly why I’ve been feeling inspired to develop Project Photo Rescue, which is a way of helping others get a handle on the bigger picture of all things photos and memory keeping.
I am right there with everyone else — figuring out what makes the most sense for me personally — and so is everyone on our team! We ALL relate to the feelings of being overwhelmed with the tremendous amount of pictures we have respectively, and I have a burning desire to help each of us feel way better about it all.
Toni, our shop manager, has graciously allowed us to make her our next Project Photo Rescue “victim” and we’re working with her in two main phases. The first phase? All of her DIGITAL photos. This blog post is all about that. The second phase will be when I go into Toni’s home and assess all of her physical stuff.
Now … we actually did phase one LIVE recently! We jumped on Facebook Live (me, Toni, and my brother / tech guru Kevin Allgaier) and addressed Toni’s “reality.” Kevin really was the hero in phase one, offering her solid advice on how to organize, store, and back up all of those digital photos. If you didn’t catch that on Facebook, you can now see the recorded broadcast on YouTube.
I’m now passing the rest of this post over to Kevin, who will outline his advice and tips here in written format, for your convenience.
As many, many people feel, Toni has (what she thinks) is a digital disaster. She is overwhelmed and feels physically anxious about what she has ahead of her in order to get her memory keeping under control! She has so many pictures – digital and in boxes at home.
We determined that her digital photos are all over the place: on thumb drives, SD cards, and on external hard drives and disks. Toni mentioned that she also has a ton of photos that are blurry or out of focus, and the task of going through all of these photos is causing her a ton a stress! The good news is she doesn’t have to feel stressed anymore. I have a simple plan that will take some time, but once she implements it, she will feel a huge weight off her shoulders.
1 – Get your head in the game – psychologically prepare yourself!
2 – Get all your photos in one place. Find all of your disks / hard drives / thumb drives / SD cards / etc. and get your photos all together! This will give you such huge piece of mind.
3 – Figure out how you want to organize your photos and make a plan. Chronological usually makes the most sense. I like to create a folder for each year. For example, I have a folder for 2015, 2014, 2013, etc., and all of my photos and videos go into their yearly folder. You could also break the folders down into months if you have so many photos that it’s overwhelming. In general, women tend to overthink everything. There’s really no need for a million subfolders. The simpler, the better. Go in with an open mind.
Every file has metadata attached to it. Data includes date and time stamp information, GPS coordinates, ISO settings, etc. This metadata is infomation about the file. When you import the photos into something like photos (on a Mac), all of that info will transfer with the photo (because it’s part of the file). Once the files are in the Photos app, you can now create “Smart Albums” that are based on that metadata, to find exactly what it is you are looking for. For example, you can create a Smart Album that will show you every photo taken 1) on your iPhone 6s, 2) between January 01, 2015 and January 31, 2015, and 3) when the flash was used. Yes, you can!! And there are many more bits of data (contained in metadata) that you can use to filter your results.
Now that you have ALL of your photos in Photos, you may find that you have a ton of duplicates. You’re not alone! There are free programs you can install and run on your computer such as (Duplicate Photo Finder). These apps will not only identify your duplicate photos but work with you to delete them!
Delete photos when going through them, but don’t let the deleting of photos hold you up. If that is overwhelming, then don’t worry about it — get them organized first!
4 – Archive – I keep between one and two years’ worth of photos in my Photos app on my computer. If you keep all of your photos forever, you will eat up so much space on your computer. Anything older than that should be archived onto a cloud storage system like Dropbox, Google Photos, OneDrive, etc….
Once a year, I go through an exercise of archiving photos that are more than a year old. For example, on January 01, 2017, I will archive all photos taken in 2015 to Dropbox. This allows me to recover that space by moving it to the cloud and off of my laptop, but still allows me to keep a year’s worth of photos in my Photos app (not to mention all pre-2015 photos on Dropbox). It’s a really good idea to have one additional backup somewhere else. An external hard drive is a good idea, kept at someone else’s house. The nice thing about Dropbox is that they have multiple data centers all over the world, so it is still protected even if something happens to one of their data centers.
5 – Accountability – Set a goal for how long it will take you and just do it! It may seem overwhelming now, but once you get in a routine, it is so easy to go through them once a year, or monthly, or whatever routine makes sense to you.
Most importantly, don’t forget to PRINT PHOTOS! You need to do something with them!
Pretty straightforward, right? What Kevin advised Toni to do made perfect sense to her and she is well under way in following these steps … and feeling terrific about her progress! Stay tuned and we’ll be on Facebook Live again (probably in the coming weeks) as we dive into Toni’s drawers and closets, to uncover all of her photos and memorabilia. Feel free to leave a comment with something that YOU are doing to organize your digital pictures! I believe that photo organization isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing, and we love when the inspiration goes around and around.