Photographs are an amazing way to save and display our memories, and with digital technology it’s easier and less expensive than ever to capture every moment. The trouble is, more often than not, we end up with thousands of files instead of a collection. How do you manage your images so you can actually enjoy your pictures? Learn how to cut through the chaos with these four strategies.
DIY. This option is best for individuals who want to maintain control and don’t mind investing the time to sort, edit, and backup their photos. The bad news: This method is a lot of work. Essentially, you must import all of your photos to one place, then categorize images to create a system, and finally back up your files. If you want to archive prints that are not digitized, you’ll need a scanner to create digital copies. There are many different programs for managing your photo files, but Adobe Lightroom is a standout. This program allows for batch importing, identifying and removing duplicates, creating catalogs, basic editing, tagging with keywords, and easy exporting.
Once you’ve organized your files, experts recommend duplicating to an external hard drive and also backing up files with cloud-based storage.
Go pro. Doing it yourself is not an option for everyone. It takes time, patience, and a degree of tech savvy. Fortunately, professional photo organizers can manage this task for you. Find one at the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (www.appo.org) website, but expect to pay at least $1,500 to have a pro centralize your photos, devise an organization system for your image library, backup images, and maintain your archive.
Use an app. Photo organization apps abound, but Google Photo is an excellent one. It’s a snap to add images to the program from your phone or desktop, but the ease doesn’t end there. Google recognizes faces, places, events, and more, and can organize your photos into smart collections. It will even makes slideshows and animations. The entire process borders on effortless. The price is reasonable as well. The app is free and so is the first 15GB of storage. After that, plans start at $1.99 for 100GB of additional storage. The service isn’t just for cellphone images either. Google has a new PhotoScan app that turns your phone into a scanner and digitizes your prints while avoiding problems like glare.
Make prints. All this image wrangling isn’t worthwhile if you never access your pictures to enjoy them. Making prints or albums is a wonderful way to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your most treasured images. Nowadays you can choose from a plethora of online printers, and most of them do a pretty good job. Some companies even offer apps that allow you to order prints and other photo products from your phone. Another new idea is offered by Chatbooks, a monthly subscription service that helps you make a photo book in less than a minute for under $10.