How to Tackle Organizing your Digital Photos

Organizing photos


When asked about what we must take with us in an emergency, we all say our photos!  Our photos are our most precious stuff.  We have them on our smart phones, cameras, social media online and in print.  It’s easy to over snap and not come back.  It can be overwhelming after a birthday party or family event to gather them together. Our photos are our way of capturing the magic of the moment.  Organizing your photos means you will truly enjoy them.


The best solution for organizing photos follows a routine that works well with your routine.  Allow time once a month or immediately after a family event to work with your photos. We jump back into life and don’t get the opportunity to reflect and enjoy our photos. It helps to set a time to work with these.  Summer can be a great time to reminisce, review and organize your photos.


Start with a plan.

How will you group your photos? With paper or digital photos, we can group chronologically, by events like holidays, birthdays or trips, or by family member.  Keep in mind your family will be growing, like adding grandkids and partners.   Write out your plan and then create folders online to capture the photos as you consolidate them. If you are working with paper photos, you can use photo boxes.  Make a plan and test it with sorting.  Remember, you can delete photos as you work to keep only the best photos.


Begin consolidating.

Get all your digital photos together in one place. For me that’s on my computer.  I email them to myself from my smart phone, download from Facebook, and move them from my camera with a cord.  There are many services that automate consolidating to get all your phots in one place such as GooglePhotos, Dropbox and AmazonPhotos.  Keeping all your photos in one place makes it easy to know what you have.


Always backup your photos.

There are lots of ways to do this.  I use Carbonite to back up all the time. Highest recommendations are for for GooglePhotos, Dropbox, Smugmug and Shutterfly.  Each allows a certain amount of space with additional space for a fee. Scanning is the way to back up your paper photos. There are options for you to scan yourself or services to delegate.


Taking the next step is the fun part.

Decide what photos you want to print, create a digital photo album, or create a gift.   I keep framed pictures of grand kids throughout my home. I know the frame sizes so each season I print out an updated photo.

  • If you are just starting a photo grouping in a hallway or on a desk top, choose the frames first, then purchase the pictures.
  • My daughter in law does a birthday book for each child. The book consists of 5- 8 printed pictures from each birthday, placed in sequence in a photo album. The kids love looking through these each year.
  • Other options include digital scrapbooks from Shutterfly and even
  • For Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or birthdays, gifts like mouse pad, calendar or mug are wonderful ways to share photos.
  • Remember to give yourself plenty of time to choose the photos you want to share.


Keep your most precious items safe with backing up and organizing digital and paper photos.

10 replies
  1. Linda Greenwood
    Linda Greenwood says:

    In my “Pictures” file on my computer. I make a folder for each year and then sub folders for the activity or event. This is the best I have found thus far.

  2. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    Love this idea! I do that too, and at the end of the year I use these to make an annual book for DH for a holiday gift. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    Good question! I typically purchase typical photo organizing boxes from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby that are uniform in color. I decide on how many boxes by the different categories I have. Categories include trips, a yearly box (2015, 2014), life events (birthdays, graduations) and any other groups of photos. Then just sort into boxes. You can also do a box on school photos that is a larger size box for 8 by 10 size photos. Keep me posted on your success!

  4. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    These projects are labor intensive, but so rewarding! My daughter has been spending her summer vacation putting together a photo memory book from college. She grouped by different types of events, such as performances, retreats, vacations, hanging out, and trips home. It is great that she is doing this now while she still remembers everyone’s names:)

  5. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    My old photos (aka paper/film) are organized in an accessible way. I was very good about labeling the envelopes with dates and topics when the photos came back from being processed. Some of those are in albums, and the rest are in chronological order stored in photo shoe boxes. It worked fine. Once I switched to digital photos, things changed. They do get backed-up. They are in date order from when I took them. Maybe at another point in time, I’ll do more to organize them, but for now, it’s fine as is.

  6. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    @Linda – this is a great way to know when things are organized enough. I love that you are comfortable with this system and process.

  7. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    It is time consuming @Seana. I am always surprised at how much time it takes to complete an album.

    Your daughter is finding joy in this project! I know she will enjoy this for years to come.

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  1. […] into drawers and letting go of what is not necessary. If you are feeling ambitious, start sorting your digital photos.  It’s a project that will bring you […]

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