Living with Photography

Centralize All Your Photos – Part 3 of the Series

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This is the third step in our journey to organize, print and enjoy our photos! [If you missed the last installment, check it out here.]

This month is a fun one – but one of the most important! We are going to centralize all our photos.

By now, you’ve decided on a photo organization system. Last month I reviewed Apple’s Photos and Google Photos, both free options that are already available to you on your computer. If you’re super serious about not only organizing but editing your photos, use what the pros use – Adobe Lightroom. This is subscription based and a fantastic program. But I digress…..

We’re here today to find all our photos’ hiding places and put them all in one place.

Grab a piece of paper, or start a new notebook for this organizing project. List all the places where you might have DIGITAL photos. [We’ll deal with your old tangible photos later.] You’ll list all you can think of, and then we’ll take the time to put them all together. Here are some possibilities:

  • Texts from people
  • Emails you receive that have photos attached
  • Dropbox links sent to you
  • All the photos you have on your phone or iPad that YOU took
  • Photos you already downloaded to your computer
  • DVDs or CDs
  • Thumb drives

Now, decide on a place where you want to start placing your photos. For me, I put all my photos into my “photos” section of my Mac. You may want to purchase a new external hard drive that can plug into your computer or laptop, and put all your photos on that [if you do this, get at least a half terabyte to a terabyte of space. Storage is cheap.]

At this point, don’t want to get caught in the minutia of deciding HOW to organize these photos. Simply set up a few quick folders on that hard drive or in your “photos” folder. Consider easy categories now. Simple folders for 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, etc would be fine. Or, start a few quick folders that say “photos from phone,” “DVDs/CDs,” etc. We just want to get the photos into one place for now.

As you go through your various places, check them off your list! For example, today I am going to go through all my texts from people I know who send me photos regularly. You have those people….your daughter, friends, cousin. Go through your text history and find any photos that are worthy of keeping. Click on each photo, and then choose “save image.” It will save the image to your camera roll.

When you’ve gone through all those texts and saved just the photos worth keeping, get them over to your computer or external hard drive. I find the easiest way is to go into my camera roll, click a handful of photos at a time, and email them to myself. I email the largest quality images I can. Once you email them to yourself, download them on your computer and place them in one of the folders you set up. That’s it for now! Move the rest of those images until they are moved to their final place.

Follow the same process for all the other types of places were your photos are. For me, I get emails that have photos in them. I download them for viewing, and they stay in my “downloads” folder on my computer until I do something with them. If you’re the same way, go into your downloads and do it. Take the images that are worthy of keeping and move them over to your designated final resting place. Check it off your list!

For DVDs and CDs, you will COPY the images onto your hard drive. If each DVD is a different occasion, it’s perfectly fine to set up an easy folder for each one and label it something like “2015 Family Portrait Session” or “CD from Dad.” But copy them over to their final spot.

If you’re like me, my new desktop Mac doesn’t have a CD drive. Darn Apple! Don’t give up on those old DVDs or CDs in this case. Find a way to copy them over to your computer. Use an external hard drive and an old computer that DOES have a CD drive, or get help from a friend with one. Find a way to get the photos with your other photos. Make sure you keep track of which ones you’ve copied and which you still need to do. When finished check it off your list!

This is a crucial step in your organization process! Give yourself a pat on the back because you deserve it!

Next month we’ll spend time organizing our various photos. It will be much easier now that they are all together.