Blog – The Picture Project: Photo Organization Step by Step

I saw a meme about the quarantine that said:

“I always thought I avoided home projects because I didn’t have time. Turns out – that wasn’t it.”

I can relate!  I’m seeing a lot of debate these days about whether you should use this unexpected time at home productively or give yourself a break and just chill. No judgment – I think you should do what’s best for you.  For me however, I  want to finally get a handle on proper photo organization and complete the ominous picture project.

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How big is this problem?

I have pictures everywhere.  I have literally bins full of picture boxes, framed pictures of relatives I don’t even know (from when my grandmother passed), and well-intended scrapbook material that is sitting dormant in envelopes. And that’s just the printed kind.

I also have digital pictures on my phone, in the cloud, on my old camera that I haven’t used in years, on my laptop in two different places (why do some go in the photo drive and some go into iPhoto?), and on my desktop that was completely dismantled when I moved last year.  Just thinking about it overwhelms me and makes me want to take a Netflix break.

Where to begin?

Luckily some very smart and much more organized people have some great advice on how to tackle this photo beast.  If you follow their step by steps, it’s easy to break photo organization down into mini-projects and not try to do it all in one maddening weekend.  I picked three processes, which have many similarities, and some subtle differences, so pick the one best for you.


In the  Life Storage Blog, they take a holistic approach to both printed and digital photo organization.

Their great first step is to decide your goal.  Getting out from under this albatross may not be the best motivation and may explain why I haven’t been able to complete this project in the past.  However, remembering that my younger daughter is graduating middle school this year, it is very motivating to think I want to create a digital slideshow, or make a picture collage, or maybe even do that scrapbook after all as a gift to her.  There is no doubt that this year the ceremonies will be compromised if they even happen at all. This is, of course, even more troubling for our High School seniors.

Keeping that goal in mind will help me stick with it even when I am bored and over it. After all, that perfect picture from 1st grade might be in the very next folder drive.

Digital Specific advice

Better Homes and Gardens’ advice article divides up digital and printed photo organization separately. If you prefer to make it two different projects (or only need one or the other), this is the way to go.

I especially love their first step for digital pictures: Delete unnecessary photos right away.   That will undoubtedly cut the rest of the project down to about ¼ of the original task. We all do it – 15 photos of the exact same thing clogging up our phones and computers. If I do nothing else but that step today, I would consider myself well on the road. Plus, while keeping my goal in mind, I will likely discover what I have for my graduation project along the way and I can set aside specific shots as I delete the excess.

I want steps to my steps

The most comprehensive photo organization guide was found on Photography Life. After a brief summary of the overall process, they go into great detail on each step.  Organized as chapters, they literally seem to have written the book on how to manage your photo chaos.  They do a particularly good job of showing you best practices on how to organize your computer folders for easy photo discovery and retrieval later.

More than just a project

If I were to have a virtual therapy session, I am sure I would realize that pursuing the picture project right now is not just a way to kill time and check something off my do-list.  While we are all starving for normal, and nostalgic for life as it was 5 weeks ago, looking at photos can be a great way to remember and celebrate what we didn’t realize was the “good life.”  I don’t mean this in a negative way (picture pun intended), but in a joyful “let’s not take it for granted” way.   We will get back to the good life again, and we will know where to put the photos when we do.


LTD Moments makes commemorative framed products that celebrate student athletes. Our pieces feature customer-provided pictures, so look for that special moment in your child’s sports career. Our products make excellent graduation gifts.

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