Today we're looking at organizing our photos.
Taking digital photos shouldn't be any different in thought processes as it was when you shot film. Be intentional about what you take photos of. Are the photos you take telling the story you want to tell. Is the photo you're taking for your scrapbook or wall or maybe something else?
Organizing your photos, whether the actual prints or the digital images, or both, is probably one of those decisions you'll want to really think about, but only because a major shift in your process could be a big pain in the butt. Well, it would be if you wanted to affect the change going back to apply to every photo you've ever taken, rather than changing now and moving forward leaving the old system in place. ANYWAY. . .think about this:
- Topic - If you're more of a themed scrapbooker, this method may be your thing. This idea is more along the lines of Stacy Julian's "Photo Freedom" or "Library of Memories" where your scrapbooks are based on themes like family, each of your children, places you go and so on. Your photos/images folders would be set up in a similar format, whether you sort your downloaded images into appropriate folders or you sort your printed photos into boxes labeled as such.
- Project - If you think in terms of projects, or looking at photos makes you think, "Oh, I can make a mini book based on this" then sorting your photos/images based on the project will help you cut the time when you're ready to start.
- Chronologically - This is probably the easiest of the three methods and the one that may be your ticket if you scrapbook chronologically - not so much what order you create your layouts in, so much as how you store the finished layouts. This system is simply sort according to year and month. You can further define it by event, holiday or season, as well.
Time to do a little organizing and paring down. As I mentioned at the beginning, if we're shooting digital we snap away willy-nilly and then wonder why we're overwhelmed when we look at the thousands of photos to scrapbook. It's time to organize and formulate a process. Start by sorting your photos into whatever method you've chosen to use. While you're sorting toss (or delete) photos that are blurry, eyes are closed, or you've got 10 of basically the same photo. If you just can't bear the thought of tossing and/or deleting any, create a cold storage where you place prints you probably won't use, but they aren't in your main system. I loved this example in, "The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker" by Wendy Smedley and Aby Garvy (which is where I'm pulling the inspiration for this series): If you have 5000 photos, using seven photos per layout would create 714 layouts that would take you 1,428 hours to complete at a cost of $3,570 (that's with each layout costing you $5 each). I'm a scrap-as-many-photos-as-possible creator, but even I know there are bad photos and photos I won't use. Why clutter my computer, my storage and my mind with more than is truly workable?
Finally, it's time to store and/or display your photos. There are any number of ways: your traditional photo albums - are they out where they are accessible and viewable? Maybe you download all your digital images to DVDs/CDs. With the advent of direct viewing of television programs you can have your digital images rotating on your TV or computer screen. Do you display random photos in your work space, or maybe you showcase recently finished layouts in your home or work space until they go live permanently in your albums.
How this works for me:
With the advent of Project Life, December Daily, Week in the Life and other more focused projects, intent of the photos taken can be different. Like my PL photos are random shots: food I make, screen shot of my latest walk (yes, I'm walking!). While photos for my traditional albums tend to be event based.
I have no system, or rather I have no process for converting my images to prints - and I really should have one. My storage system, however, is chronological. I download the photos off my camera according to the date they're taken. With the exception of Project Life, or other mini projects, my photos are printed online. I wait for a sale and upload a group of photos for printing and mark my digital folders that those photos have been uploaded, or uploaded and printed. I don't complicate my system. I don't tag. I don't rename shots. I don't change the meta data. The date of the photo is pretty much all I need to sort the printed images into my system. Once my prints arrive, they are sorted into Cropper Hopper photo keepers by year, month and event. I use note cards to mark the information and move along. I used to scrapbook purely chronologically, but now I hop around a bit, though my photos remain in a chronological system.
I have my traditional albums out in the family room, and have gotten into the habit of pulling down baby albums for a particular child when their birthday approaches. I should probably just pull down a random album for a week or more for people to look at - if they're out, they'll be looked at - otherwise they're in the room but ignored. I have chosen to take part in the special projects (Project Life, December Daily, etc.) in part, to get current photos out for people to look at. I want to share all these great memories with the family and friends that wander in and out.