An Organized Photo Album: Storing Digital Photos

I grew up in a home with bookcases filled with photo albums. Mom would take rolls of film to the store after each family vacation or holiday, have the photos developed, and sort through the results. She’d toss all the blurry shots and people grinning big while blinking, then meticulously write the date, event, and names of the people in the photograph on the back. Each photo would be placed in chronological order in an album, then placed in order on the bookshelves.

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Remember when cameras were big, heavy, and fragile? Plus, you always needed to carry spare film and batteries everywhere.

In the days before we all had the iPhone to document daily life, the process of sorting memories was time consuming and could be expensive. Now, we all take more photos than ever but rarely print them, much less sit down with an album open on our laps and a cup of tea to walk down memory lane.

It should be no surprise that the child of the careful photo organizer at the beginning of this post has a system for organizing photos. My method is a bit simpler and quicker, but it gets the job done!

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Here’s how it works.

  1. Create one big folder for all your photos
  2. Add a sub-folder for the current year
  3. Within this folder, created named and dated folders

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Pretty easy, right? If you name the folders in a YY-MM-DD convention, your photos will automatically sort chronologically by year, then month, then day. Add a quick identifier like “Summer Vacation” to the folder name and you’ll be able to find photos easily even years later.

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Happy photo organizing!

PS – if you have giant folders of disorganized photos on your computer and feel daunted by the task of sorting them all, just start with your next phone-to-computer photo dump. Or, if you do want to tackle the task, you can usually find the date a photo was taken in its properties by clicking on its icon or by switching your view to ‘Details’ in Windows Explorer.

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*You might notice this is the same date convention used in the Workflowy post about organizing notes. This is a great example of the Scott Adams-style use of a system. If I always use the same date convention, it becomes even simpler and more automatic to use over time and helps me stay organized on an ongoing basis.

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