Snap to it! Get your photos organized with these picturesque tips
Spanish Fork’s Liz Rosenbaum had two options: Get her photographs organized, or forget having more children.
“After I had my first child, I was taking more photos than I ever had in my life,” says Liz, who is the owner of scrapbook company Keeping Memories Alive. “I needed to get them organized, or I wouldn’t be able to manage any more kids!”
So Liz officially opted for order (it wasn’t too hard of a choice) and developed a system for her “obscene amount of photos.” She dated them, filed them, stored them in labeled boxes, and the rest, as they say, is a picture-perfect history.
Here are some tips to help you sort through your own photo overhaul.
Save the date
When it comes to your photo collection, chances are you’re asking yourself this age-old question: “Now when was this taken?”
“Too often I’ll be scrapbooking with people, and they’ll say, ‘How old does my baby look in this picture? Two months? Four months?’” Liz says. “When you first start having kids you think you’ll never forget anything — but you do!”
To prevent yourself from playing memory games, it’s essential to document your photos. This means immediately dating your pictures after having them printed or downloading them to the computer. And while they may be fresh in your mind now, don’t forget to jot down the names of the photos’ main players.
Also, remember to date your printed photos with the correct tools.
“Most pens can damage your photos,” Liz says. “Ball point pens, for example, leave an indent on the picture, so it’s important to use photo-marking pens. They have a soft felt-tip, they don’t smear and they’re not expensive.”
Take your order
Everyone has a different way of organizing their home, and the same holds true for photos — just pick a technique that works for you.
Here are three suggestions to help you crop your style.
1. Order by date
This is one of the most common methods because it is clear cut and simple to do (not to mention it goes hand in hand with our save-the-date tip).
2. Order by occasion
Ordering your photos by event (i.e. Halloween, Christmas, birthdays) will help your scrapbooking ventures when you’re looking for specific themes.
3. Order by child
This will come in handy when putting together a child’s life scrapbook or when you’re looking for an event for a specific child.
Regardless of what system you choose, Heritage Makers’ Amy Dickerson recommends a preemptive strike.
“The beauty of digital files is that we can see the pictures before we get them developed,” says Amy, who is a founding director of the digital publishing company. “Get rid of pictures you know you don’t want so it will save you the hassle of organizing them later.”
What’s in store
Once you have your pictures organized, the next step is knowing where to keep them. Here’s the scoop on physical and digital storage — in that order.
For printed photos, it’s important to keep them neat and tightly packaged.
“I like to put my pictures in little containers with a label on top,” Liz says. “Anything to keep them from falling loose. When your photos aren’t well packaged, that’s when they start to get damaged.”
Liz also suggests keeping photos high and mighty.
“Be careful not to put your photos in the basement or on the floor,” she says. “Always put them on a shelf. That way if your basement is flooded your pictures are safe.”
For digital photos, keep in mind that your collection is only as good as your last backup CD.
“As you take pictures and download them on to your computer, be sure and save them onto discs,” Amy says. “The key is doing it regularly so it won’t get overwhelming.”
Others tips to consider: Store a burned disc with its corresponding printed pictures, and keep copies of your discs at a location outside of your home in the event of theft or misfortune. UV
WHY DID YOU DO IT?
Liz Rosenbaum, of Keeping Memories Alive, organized her pictures after her kids opened the photo floodgates. See what caused three other industry experts to get picture perfect.
For the sake of guilt
“I was starting to get the guilt trip. I had boxes of photos everywhere that needed to be organized and displayed, so I finally gave in.”
QuicKutz in Orem
For the sake of a childhood dream
“I was a teenager and I had a lot of activities — a lot of pictures. I wanted to preserve them, and all of my allowance went to making these pictures come alive.”
—Jeanette Lynton, Close To My Heart in Pleasant Grove
For the sake of order
“There comes a point where you have to clean and organize your life. The digital world is such a part of every day life that it goes along with organizing your socks. Another reason was that as I got more digital images, my computer started slowing down. Getting organized has helped its speed.”
—Amy Dickerson, Heritage Makers in Provo