How to Organize Your Photos

How to Organize Your Photos |

Confession time! Do you take a lot of photos and never take them off the device (phone, camera, ipad, whatever)?

If you do import them to a computer, do you have them all in one massive folder?

If you thought, “hey, remember that super cute picture of my kid 2 years ago at that farm?” would it take your forever to find it (if at all)?

Do you take photos but never do anything with them (except maybe post on Facebook or Instagram)?

If you answered yes to any or all of the questions above, it looks like some photo organizing is needed!

The first time you organize your photos it will take forever. I suggest doing it in two parts.

Part 1: Create a plan and organize all photos here on out following the plan. This is the easier part as you just organize as you take.

Part 2: As you have time, take an hour here and there to organize old photos following the new method. Depending on how many photos you take, this could be a long project. But do it bit by bit.

So, how do I do part 1? I like my method of organizing, but everyone is different. It also depends on how many photos you take. You might not need as many sub folders as I do.


1: Upload photos daily or weekly depending on how many you take. Pick a time where you have 15 min to work and do steps 2 and 3.

2: Go through all the photos and delete the bad ones or duplicates immediately. Keep the good ones, the ones you think might work with editing and the hilariously bad ones. With digital cameras, we all take waaay more photos of any given moment than we realistically need. Delete all duplicates.

On my Mac, I import photos to Photos and then go through and click the heart (aka add to favorites) the ones I want to save. Then I delete any without the heart. Any photos that are similar I will go back and forth on until I decide on my favorite.

How to Organize Your Photos |

3. Add the remaining photos to the appropriate folder.

I like doing lots of folders. I like folders inside of folders. I do a year folder, then month folders within the year, and then event or category folders within the month. This is partially because of the number of photos I take. If you take fewer, perhaps just month and year folders would work. Or broader categories like Kid 1, Kid 2 and Family for the entire year. Or things like “playdates” and “travel.” When I took fewer photos I did it by season within the year. Take some time to think about what you take photos of and how often you take photos.

Also think about how you remember photos. I tend to remember photos by the calendar month. So if in a year I was thinking of a photo I took this week, I might think “Hmmm, so that was when we were at my mom’s between packout and flying out. That would mean it was June 2017” and then I’d go to 2017—-June—Post Packout and find the photo.

Maybe you remember photos by geographic location or year or season or school year.

How to Organize Your Photos | www.carriereedtravels.comHow to Organize Your Photos |

Organizing Your Photos |

4. If desired, edit any photos you want to edit. This could happen with steps 1-3 or as a separate time. I do find if I don’t edit right away it is unlikely to happen.

5. Once a month, go through that month’s photos and pick out your very favorites. Make a folder and put a copy of those photos in there. I do this the last day of each month.  This then makes it much easier to find photos for printing, photo books or projects.

How to Organize Your Photos |

6. That same day, copy all of the month’s photos onto an external hard drive or upload to an online storage option. I do the hard drive.

Photo Organizing Large View

7. Once a year at least, make some photo projects! I do a Year in Review album every year ordered by month. This is for our family. I also do a yearly album for each child focused on their activities and add in quotes, favorites, etc. I also do a photo calendar each year that I use the upcoming year. And I love making mugs, coasters, mouse pads, etc as gifts for grandparents.  Don’t forget to print some for frames around your house. If you do step 5 every month, gathering photos to make these projects is easy.

Organize Your Photos |

One comment

  1. Great tips! Photoshop just froze on me in September 2014 …hhahaaahaaa and this is why I don’t organize photos even though I LOVE to organize!


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