Last week, I posted about a presentation I did for the Genealogical Society of Maury County on digital photo management and shared some of the details of my presentation. In follow-up, I thought it would be helpful to share details of my specific approach. This is the first in a series of posts where I will share what I do and perhaps it will spark some ideas for you.
The first principle I covered in the talk was to get all of your digital photos into one place so that the sorting process can be done effectively. I did this with my physical photos (gathered them all up into place) and it is time for me to do this right for my digital photos that I have everywhere. Once they are in one place, you know exactly where to go to get to your pictures.
The challenge, though, is that we have pictures in many different places. Personally, my digital photos come from three sources – 1) files saved in various directories all over my Google Drive account (including those that were synced to my Google Photos account, 2), photos I and my family members take on our cell phones, and 3) files I have on CDs. Let me share how I am handling each of these.
Files saved in Google Drive directories — For these, I merged all of my various folders into one directory, that I have named “_Photo Sorting Hub”. I am using the underscore at the beginning of the file name because I want to have it show up at the top of my file listing. With all of the folders now consolidated, I see that I have 35,000 photos/documents in my hub! That is a lot of pictures! Some are duplicate, I know, but still! Oh, and though the folder is called “Photo Hub” – it does contain documents (I tend to save my documents as images) and videos as I will organize these as well.
Photos on our cell phones – for cell phone pictures, I use Forever as a consolidation point for the family. I have permanent digital storage space there for my photos, past and present. For the photos I take, I regularly curate which ones I will keep and then I upload them into my Forever account. For the photos my family members take, they have free accounts (which includes 2GB of space) and can upload their photos to it. I am an Account Manager on their accounts, which means I can go into their account and copy over any photos I want to keep for the family archive. So far, I’ve gotten my husband, mom, sister, and brother set up – I still need to get the kids set up. No more asking them to email the pictures I want – they upload it and I grab the photo in full resolution. If I were to capture them from their social media accounts, I usually would not be able to get the full resolution photo, so an upload of the original file to Forever is better – and so convenient!
Files saved on CDs – this is a whole other monster! Stack 1 has my mini-CDs, Stack 2 has my CDs, and you know what Stack 3 is? Floppy discs and zip disks. My laptop has a CD drive, so I can read the CDs, but I do not have the ability to read the floppy or zip disks. This 3rd stack does not have many pictures as they are mostly old work files, so, I am glad not to have to mess with those for now. For Stack 1 and 2 – most of these I think I transferred over to Google Drive, but I need to go through them all and double-check. Once I have confirmed, I will throw away the discs I don’t even want to think about how many more thousands of pictures this will add to my hub folder!
I am about to go on vacation and guess what is coming with me? Stacks 1 and 2 above! I will work on transferring photos from those mini-CDs and regular size CDs into my photo hub folder and then focus my time on the curation, organization, and metadata-labeling process (writing descriptions of each picture in a way that embeds it digitally with the file). I am using Forever as my permanent, online archival home and thus my family will have access to our treasure trove for generations to come.
If you are wanting to step your photo/document organization game up, gathering into one place is the 1st step. I would love to hear from you if you’ve done this, are in the midst of doing it, or are even just thinking about it!
Disclaimer: The link to FOREVER is a referral link, so if you sign up for a free account (which comes with 2GB of storage space), we both get a site coupon.
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