We may have been super organised with our photos in the days of prints and albums, but since things have gone digital, all our systems have gotten a little out of control. If this sounds like you as well, read on!
In the first of this two-part series, SARAH and BO from Sort Your Photos – a sister company of Tekkie Help that assists with managing, organising and protecting photos – present some of their top tips to bring order to the digital chaos and ensure those precious memories are safely protected.
#1 Create a centralised “Digital Photo Hub”
Store your photos in one central location, ideally on your computer. Creating a Digital Photo Hub will help you keep tabs on everything you have and where it’s located, and from there it will be much easier to back up all your photos.
Do an audit of where all your photos are – for example, Facebook, old devices, WhatsApp, prints, DVDs and so on. Consolidate all those memories. It’s important that the photos are stored in full-size format, not “optimised” with the original only stored in the Cloud. The Cloud is not a complete backup solution in most cases, if you’re using the likes of iCloud, Google Photos and so on.
#2 Choose a good photo management software program
If you store your photos on a hard drive, in the Pictures folder or in another place such as Dropbox, it’s very difficult to sort, organise and access them conveniently. We recommend using a specialised photo management software.
For Mac users, the free app Photos is excellent, and for Windows users, we suggest Google Photos. Both tools enable you to easily view photos, create albums, search by location, facial and object recognition, make edits and import new photos from multiple devices.
#3 Back up, back up and back up again!
You’d be surprised at the number of people we visit who have no backup in place! Make it a habit to back up your photos (and other files) regularly, especially every time you transfer a new batch of images to your computer.
We always recommend a “3-2-1” backup strategy whereby you have three copies of your data, in two formats and with one copy off-site. While the Cloud provides backup in the event of a fire, theft or computer failure, if the Cloud is syncing (as with iCloud and Google Photos), whatever gets deleted accidentally off a device is deleted off the Cloud; we have sadly encountered many instances where photos have been lost in this way.
#4 Customise an organisational workflow
Once all your photos are in one central location in a digital photo hub and accessible using a photo management software, then the fun begins: you can start to organise and sort your photos.
There are lots of different techniques available, and the best one will depend on how your mind works. We recommend adding additional metadata (or labels) to photos such as a certain holiday (for example, “Bali 2019”), an important document (“Passport photo”) and so on. If you have metadata, you can easily search for photos.
There are also some really cool techniques to deal with all those screenshots – one way is to export them to the “Notes” app and file them in different categories – here they can even be searched for by keywords picked up in the screenshot!
Creating an organisational process that works for you certainly makes life much easier when trying to access the photos you want and when you want, without having to scroll endlessly through your camera roll.
#5 Future-proof your photo collection
If you have photos on old media forms such as slides, DVDs and so on, it’s important to convert the files into the current digital format to preserve them. Also take note that if you have photos on external hard drives (or use them as a backup), regularly check they work – and bear in mind that hard drives have a design life of four to five years; so use disks that are older with caution, ideally replacing them from time to time. Take time to digitise old prints too. We love the Google Photo Scan app, which captures photos and instantly stores them in your digital photo hub.
#6 Enjoy your photos!
It’s all very well having all these thousands of photos, but what’s the point if you don’t actually get to enjoy them? Even if you have the best digital filing and organisational system in place, having photos just filed away doesn’t enable you to share and enjoy them on a daily basis with friends and family.
There are many ways to unlock those memories from your devices – from making photo books, to customising screensavers, using digital photo frames and more.
That’s it! If you follow these basic photo management tips, you’ll have peace of mind that the photos of your precious memories will be safe and sound for years to come.
Need some guidance?
If you need help implementing a good photo management strategy, consolidating your photos or understanding techniques to organise photos, Tekkie Help are on hand to assist. They can do the hard work for you, creating your digital photo hub and removing duplicate photos, or they can train you on the best practices. Check out tekkiehelp.com/it-training or call 8113 8682
This article first appeared in the January/Febuary 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!