Overcoming Digital Photo Overwhelm Part 1

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Welcome to the first in a 4 part series on overcoming your digital photo overwhelm.

Overcome Digital Photo Overwhelm - Learn how to make the overwhelming task of sorting and selecting digital images doable

Why am I offering this course?

  • We live in a time when more photos are taken than ever before in history and yet fewer photos are printed or saved in an easily accessible way.
  • We have photos stored on multiple devices with no system.
  • I see people scrolling through thousands of images on their phones looking for one to show a friend and often the task ends with the words, “I can’t find it now, I’ll show you another time”
  • I want us all to leave a legacy of well curated photos that others can navigate to find what they are looking for.

Why do you take photos?

  • A recent poll on my Facebook page showed we all take photos to remember.  What exactly is it that you want to remember?
    • What the label of a beverage or food item looks like, so you can buy it again? 
    • Where you parked your car at the airport?

 These are photos you can probably delete straight away.  Once you are safely in your card for the return journey you have no need for the saved image.

  • What everyone wore to the fancy dress party
  • The people who attended a concert with you
  • How people have grown and changed over time – for better or worse (as in case of illness)
  • A project from start to finish
  • Travel photos

 These are the photos you want to keep but do you need ALL of them?

  • The most important photos to keep are the ones of your everyday life – that’s what people will be most interested in when you are no longer here.
  • Think about what you want to remember the most – that will help you decide which photos you spend time curating.

Let’s get started! 

Step 1 in overcoming digital photo overwhelm – Choose an archive location

  • The #1 reason people feel overwhelmed by digital images is that they have them on multiple devices or they have the same image saved to one device multiple times.
    • My Facebook poll showed most of you have images on 3 or more devices
  • Get all your photos onto one device and delete duplicates.
  • Don’t panic!  We are not going to pull up every photo you’ve ever taken, we will chunk it into manageable portions
  • First up, decide which device will be your main archive.
    • Cloud, computer or external hard drive?
    • Which device will be the one place you can go to knowing it contains one copy of each digital image you feel is valuable enough to keep so that it will help you to remember.
    • Thumb drives, camera cards, mobile phones, tablets are all temporary solutions to photo storage.  They malfunction, get lost or meet with untimely deaths too regularly to be trusted with your memories.
  • This archive will be where your photos are backed up to after you’ve curated them.  We will revisit it in the coming weeks.

Step 2 in overcoming digital photo overwhelm – Choose a device to use for gathering your images

  • Most often this is a computer or laptop. 
    • Using a larger screen, keyboard and mouse just makes life easier
    • Thumb drives, camera cards and phone cords can be plugged into it for photo transfer
    • If the storage capacity is limited, it is easy to plug in an external drive to save the photos
  • I use my laptop because it is portable and I often work on curating my photos in small snatches of time or when I’m travelling.

Step 3 in overcoming digital photo overwhelm – Gather photos for a specific time frame or experience

  • As I said earlier, we are not dealing with all the photos you’ve ever taken in one go, we are breaking the process down into manageable chunks.
  • Begin by choosing a recent time frame or event that you would like to remember.  Some examples include:
    • A  wedding
    • Newborn babies
    • One  travel destination
    • Everyday moments in and around home – choose a 2-3 month time period
  • Create a folder (album) on your chosen device (or photo organising software) and bring all the photos from social media, phones, cameras, email and websites into that folder.

Step 4 in overcoming digital photo overwhelm – Delete duplicates and obvious duds

There is something about deleting a photo which makes a lot of us anxious.  Is it the thought of never being able to get it back again?  Is that somehow the person in the photo feels real?  Or is it simply that we don’t like choosing?

Whatever the reason, it is a fact of life in this age of digital photography that we do need to delete images in order to make the task of managing them simpler.  My best advise to you is to take a big breath and just do it.

Let’s begin with the images that are obviously below standard or unnecessary: 

  • Delete duplicates
  • Delete out of focus photos
  • Delete random shots of ceilings, interior of handbags and the like
  • Apply the 3 second rule – if you contemplate the value of keeping the photo for longer than 3 seconds, you probably don’t love it or need it.
Overcome Digital Photo Overwhelm - Learn how to make the overwhelming task of sorting and selecting digital images doable

Have a go!  You may be surprised at how good it feels to begin this task of photo management.

Part 2 in this series will look at how to name digital image files and get rid of even more of them!


Disclaimer: I am not an IT expert

  • The information I am sharing in this course is based on years of experience personally storing, organising and printing my family photos.
  • I am not an IT expert and as such am unable to answer questions specific to the systems and programs you are using for digital photo storage.  Please seek help provided by those programs if you need technical advice.
  • I do not represent any digital photo storage companies.
  • I will not receive any commissions from recommendations I make for digital photo storage.
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