What is this?
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Add to Google

Learn To Organize Photos Like
A Professional

Organize photos?...."I'll get to it." I used to say. I never realized how much time would go by between rolls of film. Before I knew it I had 3 or 4 rolls sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be "put away".

It starts with a vision.....we all have it. You plan to take the best pictures of your kids and the most memorable pictures on vacation. You dream of perfect albums that are good enough to display in any museum. Then it happens...you realize that all of those great pictures now have to be "put" somewhere and all of this takes time.

After my first child I was able to keep up with the numerous rolls of film I took on a monthly basis. Now, 2 more kids later it has really become more of a chore. So, I decided it was time for a system. Something better than the "I'll get to it" attitude.

There are a lot of reasons to organize photos from your collection. The most important one is to preserve family history. There is something great about old photos - they are intriguing - and better yet a part of your history that can be passed down to your children.

So, below you will find ways to organize photos of any kind from formal portraits to casual everyday shots.

Remember to keep your system simple and you are more likely to follow through with the system and stay organized.

Ways to Organize Photos of Any Kind

  1. Time and Place - Set aside a time when you can sit uninterrupted. Depending on how many pictures you have taking the time to organize photos can be very time consuming and will take more than one session to make a dent. Decide on a place that allows you to spread out and divide your photos.
  2. Gather - Gather all of your photos from everywhere in the house. Include every closet, nook, and table where they have been accumulating. Don't forget the portrait extras and smaller photos from holidays or school pictures.
  3. Sort
    • Chronologically - Sort through every envelope. First, group them by year. After you have them grouped by year, go through each envelope and sort by month. If you did not have the date placed on the photo make your best estimation. It is better to give a rough estimate now then try to guess 10 years from now when the pictures were taken. This is the most commonly used way to organize photos.
    • Categories - This is an alternate way to organize photos. Simply make a group of categories appropriate for your family. Some examples may be friends, family, vacations, school, kids, grandchildren, graduations, holidays, birthdays, or religious events.This method is not used as frequently because there tends to be categories that overlap and it is difficult to divide the photos.

  4. Label - As you go through each envelope and picture label the back. You should include the names of the people in the picure (including last names - years later it will be easier for your children or other family members to identify people in the photos),the date, and the location. Use a special pen made only for this purpose. Do not use a regular pen because it makes indentions on the front of the photo.
  5. Delete - Remember you don't have to keep every photo that you take. Some just end up not coming that good. Don't feel guilty. Throw away any duplicates that no longer have a use, any blurry or simply bad shots. This will sometimes considerably cut down on the pile you have and make your task easier.
  6. Start Somewhere - When I started conquering my piles I didn't know where to start. I had so many envelopes. So, a good way is to just pick an event such as a birthday or a recent month or year. You could always work backwards when you have extra time. It is best to pick a recent time and move forward until you are caught up to the present. It keeps you motivated and at least currrent on your present photos.

This list includes ideas on how to organize photos after they have been printed. For those of you looking for help organizing your digital photos read the following section:

Organizing Digital Photos

After many years of wanting a digital camera, I finally purchased one this year. Although digital photography has its advantages you can still become very disorganized using this method if you don't keep up with your camera and album collections. For tips on organizing your digital photos click here.
There are also ways to organize and store your digital photos online. For help on digital photo online storage click here.

Shutterfly.com 565x90

Photo Storage Ideas

Storing your photos becomes just as important as the pictures themselves. Without the proper storage your pictures can become damaged and will not stand the test of time. There are many ways to preserve your photos and use the best storage options available. For general storage tips and a list of the proper ways to store your photos click here.
Whether you are storing negatives, using photo albums, or photo boxes it is important to store them in items that are made specifically for photos or negatives.

Shop for all your photo storage and display needs at Exposures Online

Last Tips to Organize Photos

Do you need more organizing ideas? Then try our monthly Home Organizing Ideas Newsletter. It is filled with original ideas and expert advice to help you reach your organizing goals. Receive my special free booklet on how you can start organizing your desk, garage, papers, closet and more! It's FREE so SIGN UP NOW by clicking on the link on the top right of this page!

Top of Page

From Organize Photos Back To Home Page