Moms are designated memory keepers for most families. We take the photos. We print the photos. Who needs photo organizing tips more than moms?
Do you feel like photos are just one more thing on your to do list?
Let’s lose the guilt and have a little reality check.
You are probably taking most, if not all, of your photos on your phone these days. That’s good, because those phones and their associated clouds are getting smarter and smarter. They are already doing much of the organizing for you. All of your phone photos are already organized by date, so that’s a great start. They are probably organizing photos by person, too, if you have the people tagging feature turned on. (Not everyone does, and not everyone needs to.) But they are also doing something even better. If you want to try a cool trick, try searching in your phone’s photo program for something simple like “Halloween,” “cat,” “birthday,” or “beach.” See? Your phone will help you find what you need in a lot of cases through the magi of artificial intelligence (AI), even if you didn’t tag those photos. Does that make you feel better? Whew! I love it when it’s easy.
The one really, really important thing you might not have done yet is figure out how to backup your phone or computer photos. I make this offer frequently, and I mean it every time: if you don’t know how to back up your phone or your computer, please give me a call. I’ll give you 15 minutes free by Zoom to get your backup connected. It’s easy to book that free photo backup meeting with me by clicking here.
Unconventional Photo Organizing Tips
For even more help, here are some unconventional photo organizing tips especially designed for moms and other busy people:
1. Photos are your chance to re-write history.
Surly teen? Ex-spouse? Disastrous year? Pandemic? When you tell your story in photos, you get to tell it the way you want to. De-emphasize the tricky bits. Feature only the best side of prickly people. Tell a story that heals, even if a part of your personal story was hard. In a year like the last one, when everything seemed to run together, create a highlight reel. Even if some of our pictures are Zoom screenshots, we were still THERE! One of my clients recently had us remove two outlaws (former in-laws) from a treasured group family photo from the 1980s. After stowing this portrait for decades, she’s finally displaying it in her home! As the family memory keeper, you have permission to do what historians have always done…tell the story how you saw it (or wanted to see it). It’s an awesome power, and I say, you’ve earned that right as the superhero mom that you are!
2. Take fewer photos.
That’s heresy, I know. It occurred to me that the less I have, then the less I have to organize! It’s the same whether we are talking about laundry, kitchen containers, or photos! I’m personally trying to start archiving just 30 good family pictures per month or so. I don’t know if that’s the right number yet, but the numbers feel realistic.
~30 a month
~360 per year
~3,600 over 10 years
Most people that we organize photos for have tens of thousands of digital photos…that they never look at! Just seeing that they have 10,000 or 90,000 photos and videos on their phone (from just the last 10 or fifteen years) feels overwhelming! Are all of those photos making us happy? No. Fewer photos of excellent quality…that’s something to strive for. Check back in a year and see if I’ve been able to curb my photo appetite.
3. The delete button is your friend.
Delete until it hurts. See number 2 above. What you are feeling is called “loss aversion,” and once you know about it, life will be much easier. Need help figuring out what to delete? Read how to curate your print and digital photos. Then go enjoy the photos that you’ve kept.
4. The best photo backups are still printed.
A digital backup, maybe even two, is a must-have accessory. Crashed computers stink. But everyone knows how to look at a book! Get just one photo book professionally printed each year so that you can pull them off the shelf and enjoy them. I promise you, there’s a great sense of accomplishment in creating that photo book and seeing them build up each and every year. (If you didn’t know, this is what we do for our clients. You don’t have to struggle with making your own books.)
5. Learn to specialize.
Don’t try to learn everything about all the photo organizing apps and photo book companies out there. Find one, maybe two, and stick with it a while. Learn some tricks to improve the edits. Figure out how to get product made. There’s new stuff coming out all the time, but you only need one or two programs or services to allow you to enjoy your memories. Pro tip: Use what comes built in on your Mac (Photos) or your PC (Photos). It’s free, and it works for most people.
6. Get in the photo more often.
This tip is for moms, single people, and pro photographers (you know who you are). Be sure you are in some of your own photos, especially photos with your young children. You may hate the way you look, but almost without exception, you’ll love the way you look in today’s picture when you see it ten years from now. Here I am with King Tut and my friends in Paris. I was having a bad hair day (bottom center right), but who cares? It’s still a picture that belongs in my album, the only time I’ve ever been shoulder-to-shoulder with bona fide royalty.
7. Put your phone down.
Get professional photos done every year or so. I don’t mean at one of those megamall studios. Instead, hire a photographer who does natural light photography, and let them capture your family in a beautiful setting, preferably outdoors. It always amazes me how outstanding these photos are, and how clearly they capture the spirit of your favorite people. Your photographer will probably offer you dozens, if not hundreds, of shots, but you don’t need all of them. Pretend you are picking one, two, or three shots for your holiday cards (even if, like me, you don’t actually do holiday cards). You only need one great group shot to capture that moment in your life.
Where to start with photo organizing?
Feeling overwhelmed again? Here’s the truth: our parents were the last generation that had to work hard to capture enough of our story to pass on. Since the turn of this century, we’ve had the ability to document our lives 24-hours a day, and that’s just too much. Remember The Truman Show movie? We are the first generation who must curate and condense the ridiculous amount of memories into a story that is worth passing on. Luckily, we also are the first generation that has all of the tools needed basically at our fingertips, and the first generation where even a middle-class family can hire their own personal photo organizer, just like only famous families have in the past.
Want to know more about organizing your print and digital photos? Feeling better about your modern photos, but want to know what to do with those shoeboxes in the closet? I’ve got a free, 1-hour presentation on organizing photos for you here, at the bottom of my photos page.
Moms, you are amazing!
If family photographer is part of your family job description, I hope that these tips will help make your job a little easier.