Any parent will agree that time flies when you’re raising kids – one day you’re admiring their ‘stick person’ family portrait, the next you’re teaching them how to drive.
With so many photo-worthy moments to document, most of us end up with a bazillion happy snaps spread across a handful of devices, albums and hard drives. While we know there’s a photo of their first day of school or their high school graduation somewhere in the archives, finding the pics we want, when we want them, feels like ‘Mission: Impossible’.
Thankfully, website and app developers know the struggle – there are a number of programs you can use to help you on your photo-organizing quest. And with a little more time up our sleeves, we’re planning on using it to sort out our family memories once and for all.
Gather them up
Before you can organise your photos, you need to see them all in one place. This may mean scanning physical photos to create digital copies, which you can either do using a scanner or via your iPhone – create a new note, tap the camera icon at the bottom and choose ‘Scan Documents’. You can then save them directly to your camera roll or to an app like Dropbox.
You’ll also want to find any old CDs, USBs or hard drives that could house more pictures. Don’t forget to go through your smartphone and any of its backups to find additional images, and check your camera’s SD cards if you have one.
Find the perfect place
Where you store your photos is up to personal preference, but using a cloud-based service is generally considered to be the safest, most convenient place to keep them. If you use an Apple phone and computer, iCloud may be your best bet – it works with your phone’s camera roll to sync your images across all devices, and it’s relatively affordable if you need to upgrade your storage. Alternatively, Dropbox will give you two terabytes of storage for around $180 a year, and you can search through your images on your phone via the app. Alternatively, Google Drive offers a wider range of plans if you’re looking to save your pennies.
If you’re not a fan of cloud storage (or looking for a good way to backup your photos) consider an internal hard drive for your computer. They’re relatively inexpensive, but localized – meaning you can only access those photos when you’re at your computer.
Set up a system
Will you organize your photos by date, or by event? Will they be in folders, or a continuous stream of images? Depending on your needs, every system has its benefits. While some people prefer to create folders for different events – like, say, ‘Japan trip’ or ‘Emma’s first birthday’ – this may not lend itself to the more spontaneous snaps we often take as parents. It may be better to create a folder for each year, then a folder for each month. If a particular event happened in a certain month, you could then create a folder solely for that event in the month’s folder; for example, your “2019” folder will include a “May” folder, which will include a “Mother’s Day Lunch” folder with photos from that event.
For scans of your children’s artwork or report cards, knowing which month they belong to is less important. Instead, you may want to create a separate folder for each child and have those kinds of images organised by year.
Make physical momentos
If you love the idea of having each of your children’s baby photos in one place, or a holiday album from a family trip, why not make photo books? Websites like Snapfish, Chatbooks, Blurb and Picture Postie make it super easy to turn your photo collections into physical photo albums, which you can proudly put on display or give as gifts to your children, parents or relatives.