We are the most well-documented culture in history. Sure, I could drum up some staggering facts for you about the volumes of photos the average smartphone user takes on an annual basis, but is that necessary? We don’t need any research; we know we need to organize those photos. Digital photography’s nearly limitless capacity for storing photos is both a boon and a curse.
With a few swipes of the fingers right and left on our smartphones, we can usually find recent photos that haven’t yet fallen off into the grey matter of our brains. But what about for the long haul? Where should you start? Here are five good habits to create - starting now.
Back up the “Mess.” Before you start re-organizing ANYTHING, start with a back up. I prefer an online back-up plan - and personally I use Backblaze. You can do what you want. Just make sure the photos are somewhere besides your phone - or computer.
Set your computer to the appropriate date and time. This will help with sorting and finding your photos later.
Take time once/month to set up people tags and geotags. This will help with sorting and finding your photos later. This article links to Apple’s website for a discussion of how to do this in the popular (but not easy) Photos application on Apple devices.
Curate, Curate, Curate! Choose your best shots from each event or situation that you photograph, and delete the rest. One starting place: Scenery shots. Unless you are a professional photographer who will get paid for your scenic photos, most likely, those can be deleted eventually. It’s just good practice. If you have some downtime (think: Sitting at the airport, waiting for carpool…) delete photos while they are still on your camera. Look for obvious rejects: Bad blurs, photos of the ceiling fan, under or over exposed shots, too. Don’t spend time zooming in or being critical - just start the delete process.
Know where your photos go. Do you dump them on your computer? Put them in a cloud service? Use a photo storage program? Whatever it is, be consistent with your image management processes.