It’s that time of year when we reflect on the events of the last 12 months and consider what we want to achieve in the year ahead, and we think it’s the perfect opportunity to ensure your photo organisation and storage is up-to-date and in shipshape order, so you avoid disappointment if a mobile makes its way into the toilet bowl or a hard disc fails, as recently happened to one of our Facebook followers, Krista:
My hard drive with all my digital photos from 2005-2015 corrupted the other week and the IT guy couldn’t save the data. It was only a few weeks after my father passed away (therefore I was even more devastated). I had backed up to CD but it still makes me nauseous when I think of what I have lost and for some reason, there are some months missing from the CDs which would have had some precious photos and videos of my children with my dad. Luckily, I have my annual albums that I create with Momento and I know that I can always order new books. I love your software and I love your products.
We don’t like to use fear as a way to encourage you to make a photo book but we can confirm that we regularly hear stories like Krista’s, and we don’t want it to happen to you. You can print your photos any way you choose, but to protect your memories for future viewing or printing, you do need to have a system for organising and archiving them. The key is to regularly transferring, review and back up of your digital files to multiple locations, so if you’re ready to make this your New Year’s resolutions … read on.
1. Just do it … start from today and tackle the past tomorrow
Make photo management as enjoyable as possible by focusing on the future first. Start today by setting up a simple system so your photos will be organised from tomorrow onward. Once you’ve got a system established then you can go back and sort out digital photos from the past 10 years, and even older printed photos, negatives or slides. Just set yourself a time frame that will inspire not overwhelm you. Maybe commit to 1-2 hours every Sunday to get the ball rolling.
2. A stitch in time … transfer your photos every month
Commit to download all your new photos off all your different capture devices every month (or weekly if you take a lot). That includes your snappy camera, your DSLR, your mobile, iPad or even social feeds if you want to be thorough. Make it impossible to forget by putting a reminder in your diary for every first Sunday of the month, at 3pm.
3. Don’t be precious … delete duds and duplicates
As soon as you’ve transferred new files to your computer, review all the shots and delete obvious duds or duplicates – just keep the very best – and beware, never delete photos on your camera as it may corrupt the memory card and erase all the photos. To save time trawling through endless folders, find a program that can auto-detect and delete duplicate images. Lightroom makes this easy, as you just move left or right through the images and flag or rank them accordingly. Start a free Lightroom trial here.
4. Don’t let your camera let you down … check Date and Reformat
If your camera’s date and time is set incorrectly you’ll never be able to sort chronologically, so check it ASAP. If it has been set to the wrong time, there are apps that can rescue the situation by auto-correcting the metadata. Another camera setting worth using is Reformat. After transferring all your photos Reformat the memory stick to free up maximum storage space.
5. Store all photos in a single folder with yearly and monthly sub folders
There’s no correct folder structure to use when managing your photos but avoid having everything in one big folder or endless random folders. One helpful method is to create a sub folder for each Year then within the Year folders create a folder for each Event. Name the folder with the date written in reverse order, followed by a descriptive name i.e. 2015-05-10 Mothers Day. This means the folders will always appear in chronological order and be easy to search.
6. Beat the odds by backing up monthly on multiple devices
There are two kinds of people in the world – those who have lost a hard disc and those who will – so avoid the physical and emotional anguish by backing up your data fortnightly or monthly. Choose a back-up system that works for you. External hard drives and cloud storage services are best. USB thumb drives, SD/DVDs or your camera’s memory card are not reliable enough for long term backup. If you’re serious, archive your photos to two or three devices or services in different locations.
7. Now tackle the mountain of past digital photos
Once you’ve got a good photo management system established for your current photos, then go back and start organising older files and ensure you apply the same folder and file naming conventions noted above.
8. Take a trip down memory lane and scan old photo prints
Scanning photographs is an art in itself. The quality of scanned images varies dramatically depending on the hardware and the knowledge of the operator! If you wish to scan them yourself see our scanning tips here below but be prepared for the long haul. If you want the best results and to save weeks of work, pay an expert to scan them for you. They generally charge per photo and include basic image correction and dust removal in the price. If you’re still keen to scan yourself read Momento’s scanning guide and tips and tricks from Save Family Photos.
9. Scan old negatives, 35mm slides and transparencies
This is an even more specialised skill than scanning photographic prints, so if you plan to do this yourself you’ll need a scanner that has a special attachment to hold the negatives and slides. If you genuinely want the best results, hire experts. An internet search will turn up plenty of options.
10. Print to preserve … make a photo book
Yes we’re biased but printing is still the best future-proofing option out there, and that’s one of the reasons we developed the Momento software.
The feature image is from Erik Kessels 24hrs in photos art installation. It’s worth a look!