Overcoming Digital Photo Overwhelm Part 3

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Why do we need to overcome your photo overwhelm?

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 dozens…hundreds of images relating to individual events but in reality we only need a handful of those images to tell our story of the experience.

We do not have systems in place to store our photos together, to delete many, to keep the best and most relevant.

Let me help you create a bank of well curated photos that make it easy for you to choose what to print for your albums.

In Week One we gathered images

If you missed my live video you can read a recap here.  
The goal is to deal with a manageable number of images at one time.  
Your challenge was to gather and delete.

Last week we labelled our images

If you missed that post you can read it here.  
Labelling with generic names followed by detail makes it easier to search for specific images.  
Your challenge was to rename your test batch of photos and delete a few more.

This week we decide which photos to print

The safest place for a photo is still in a printed format.

I believe the most pleasurable way to enjoy photo viewing is sensory – flipping through a pile of photos; turning the pages of an album or standing close to an image mounted on the wall, enjoying the sounds and smells of the room it occupies. 

I encourage you to print your photos and tell the story that goes with them.  I make traditional scrapbooks and will focus on the process I use to select images for them but the same steps can be applied when choosing images for digitally created photo books and wall art.

What do you plan to do with your photos?

Before embarking on the next step, it’s important to decide what you plan to do with your photos.  How many images do you want to print?  Do you want to share all the details of an experience or just the highlights?  Which photos are your ‘must haves’?

One of the main reasons we feel overwhelmed by our digital images is that we feel a need to do something with ALL the good ones. I’m here to tell you that is just not so.  There are not enough days in our lives to keep up with scrapbooking all the photos we take.  It’s time to get really clear about your purpose.

In week one of this course I asked the Facebook event group why they take photos.  The answer was, “To remember”.  Think about what you want to remember the most – that will help you decide which photos you want to print.  Is it the emotion of the day? Is it the amazing sights you saw? Is it the story of growth? Is it progress made on a project?

Your reason to print will vary with each experience you photograph. As the reason varies, so does the quantity of images you require.  Be mindful of this as you follow the next steps in our process.

Identify images you wish to print

Let’s look at the folder you have been working on over the past 2 weeks. By now you have reduced the number of images by at least half.  In my sample I ended up with 12 good quality images I felt told the story well.  I have several choices for what I do with them:

  • Print just one really great photo of Mandy to frame as a Christmas gift or use as a single photo on a scrapbook page alongside the story of the event. 
  • Print my 6-8 absolute favourites to make a double page layout. 
  • Print all 12 and make 2 layouts OR include pocket protectors in the design of one layout
  • Make a mini album of just this event.

All these options are great.  All these options are ‘right’.  All these options will result in you holding one or more images that help you to remember. The point is, you need to make the choice and then print them.

Close To My Heart offer many different scrapbook albums.  Take a look through my shop to see what will suit your needs best.  Look for the following categories:

  • Story by Stacy (4” x 4” and 6” x 6”)
  • Mini albums (6” x 8”)
  • Albums (12” x12”)

Create a system to identify images you wish to print

If you are using the generic folder system on your computer you have a couple of options to do this.  One option is to highlight all the images you wish to print and drag them to a “Need to Print” Folder.  Another option is to add a ‘P’ to the end of the file name so you will know later which images you have already printed.

If you are using a system that allows you to tag photos and sort by tags, simply create a “Need to Print” and an “Already Printed” tag.

I use a program called Historian on my Windows computer.  This program allows me to store, curate and edit my photos in the one place.  Two features I love are the ability to star rate my photos and the option to tag images as “Need to Print” and “Already Printed”.  I find this invaluable as rating the images helps me see which ones are most important to me and keeping track of ones I’ve already printed makes life easier. 

You can download the software for a free trial here https://www.forever.com/historian  I am not a rep for this company, I just love the software.  If you need someone to help you with details search the website for a Forever Ambassador in your area. 

Work with manageable portions

Your challenge this week is to look through the photos you curated last week, decide what you want to do with them and select the ones you will print.  It’s OK to print more than you use.  Prints are cheap and sometimes we need to hold the printed image to know if it is a ‘keeper’.

Remember, you are working with one recent event or a recent, specific time period – NOT all your digital images.

Visit www.shaunnarichards.closetomyheart.com.au to view scrapbook albums
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Overcoming Digital Photo Overwhelm Part 2

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Why do we need to overcome your photo overwhelm?

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 dozens, hundreds maybe, of images relating to individual events but in reality we only need a handful of those images to tell our story of the experience.  We do not have systems in place to store our photos together, to delete many, to keep the best and most relevant.

Let me help you to leave a legacy of well curated photos that others can navigate to find what they are looking for.

Last week we gathered images

 If you missed my live video on Facebook you can read a recap here.

The goal is to deal with a manageable number of images at one time.  
Your challenge was to gather and delete.

This week we continue working with that same set of images

Having deleted the obvious duds – those that are out of focus, had people running in front of the subject, badly framed, duplicate photos – you should have reduced the number of images you are working with.

Rename and delete some more

When we import photos they have an alphanumeric file name.  Your first task this week is to rename the images in a way that is meaningful to you.

Here’s how I do it:
Highlight all photos from one event and give them the same name.  In this example, the photos taken were at an annual retreat known as ‘Ab Fab’.  I had 51 images left after last week’s first cull (24 shown here).  They were still labelled with the alpha-numeric code my camera generates. 

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

The fastest way to rename a batch of photos is to select all images and type a new name once.  Depending on the system you are using this may then show your images as Ab Fab 1, Ab Fab 2 and so on or it may show them like Historian, which I am using, with just the title repeated on each image. 

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

Now you can fine tune your photo names.  Select like images and add extra words to the name. In this case ‘Dinner’ and ‘Celebrate Mandy’

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

Now you can sort by name and have another go at deleting. In this case, I chose the photos that were flattering to Mandy but also highlighted the fun element to her gift opening.  I had many food photos but chose to keep just a few to highlight the quality of the meal. Finally, I chose the best group photo and deleted the other 2.

I am left with 12 images that highlight the fun and fabulousness of our gift giving ceremony and meal.  I have gone from needing 178MB of storage to just 65MB. This is fairly usual to only keep 30 – 40% of the photos I take.

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

What are the benefits of renaming files and deleting so enthusiastically?

The greatest benefit is in knowing you have the best photos to look at.  Friends are happier to scroll through 12 photos versus 31.  The images you have tell the story, are good quality and are not repetitive.  It is also faster to scrapbook fewer images!

You need less storage space.  It’s really easy for us to keep buying more or bigger hard drives but do we really need to store ALL the images we take?

You (and others) will be able to look at your archive in the future and know what the photos relate to.   You will be able to find photos more easily

By naming files in this way you need fewer folders.

 This week’s challenge is to re-visit the batch of photos you gathered last week and rename them in a way that is meaningful to you.  Then go back and see if you can delete two-thirds of them!

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

Try this trick if you really struggle with deleting images:  
1. Create a new folder called ‘Photos to Delete’. 
2. Drag photos into this folder that you think should be deleted, making sure they are removed from the original folder. 
3. Check through what is left in the original folder and decide if you are happy the photos tell the story and include the best images.                            4. Bring back extra photos if you think they are needed. 
5. Empty the ‘Photos to Delete’ folder.

Good luck this week.  Persistence makes the job easier.  Next week we will discuss what to do with the images still on all those other devices.

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.