Organizing Your Digital Vacation Photos Series: Intro

Returning from Vacation is Hard. But Viewing Your Photos is Fun!

Welcome! If you’re reading this, it means you have vacation or another group of photos you’re ready to get organized. Or perhaps you’ll be vacationing soon and want to prepare for getting them organized upon your return home. Either way, you’re in store for viewing your captured memories and getting them organized at the same time. Now that’s a time saver!

This series will focus on using a personal computer to organize photos. It’s impossible to do much organizing on small devices such as phones and tablets. Many of these devices will automatically create a timeline by date or location (if you have the Location setting on) for easy viewing, but the long, nondescript filename assigned automatically does little to help you find the picture you want a few years from now, whether it be on your device or computer or in cloud storage. Plus, your device can only hold so many photos and then you need to delete or move them elsewhere. If you don’t transfer them, you just end up with a digital graveyard full of photos surely to be lost or damaged at some point. If you’ve ever lost photos before, you know how painful it is. You simply can’t recapture those moments.

Cloud storage services are a great place to back up your photos and they do offer the ability to create folder structures, but not rename multiple files at once. Can you imagine how long it would take to rename every photo one by one? Uh, you don’t want to do that. Plus, some don’t allow you to edit the filename at all! So this is not an ideal place to do any organizing. (Some cloud storage services are awesome at categorizing your photos automatically. But unless you’ll always view your photos via their site, which is unlikely in this ever-changing world of technology as companies go out of business or stop supporting a service frequently, then that’s not where you want to preserve them. I’ll discuss more on the pros and cons of cloud storage services in the future.)

Organizing on your computer means you can SEE the photos, a help for those of us over 40 years of age who need to view them on a larger screen, create unique folder structures, and batch rename photos with personalized filenames for lightning fast organizing.

As we work through this series together, I’ll be using a Windows® operating system to do my organizing. If you use a Mac® computer, you can follow along and just substitute the “Mac way” of doing the same thing.

Step by step you’ll learn the basics for creating an organizational system that works for you. How I organize my photos might not be exactly how you want to organize yours. No problem. I’ll be sharing various options so as we travel along this path together you can choose a different way that suits you. There is no one perfect way. And if the folder or filename structure doesn’t work for you as you begin to use it more, you will have the knowledge and skills to change it easily.

I’m not going to sugar coat the organizing process and tell you it will be easy as pie. You know that anything worth doing involves investing some time and effort to reap the rewards. (In a previous post, I discussed motivators and asked you to determine what yours are. You’ll need those. They’ll be your driving force to get you to the finish line.) But I can say with confidence that once you get the hang of the process, you’ll find organizing fast, simple and rewarding. You’ll no longer struggle with anxiety or get stressed about how you’ll manage the thousands of photos you’ll end up taking.

Taking photos, capturing all the special moments in our lives should be fun, not stressful. And speaking of fun, check out what you have to look forward to in the very near future!

8 super amazing benefits of having organized photo files:

  1. Quickly find photos by date, location, person, event, etc. (Perfect for pulling together a last-minute slide show or video for a birthday, graduation, wedding, anniversary or memorial.)
  2. Share photos that have relevant filenames so that the recipient knows what the heck the subject of the photo is—and you will too. Just say “No” to 20160402_203435.jpg! Your family and friends will thank you for your attention to detail—plus, they’ll be envious that you’re so organized while they’re not. Additionally, your filenames stay with your photo forever, regardless of where you view them—Window or Mac platforms, online photo sites, photo programs, social media, etc.
  3. Easily group and upload all your photos in one fell swoop to online photo printing or sharing sites. Printing photos is still the best way to share and preserve them.
  4. Make photo gifts in a flash through sites like Shutterfly and Snapfish because you can find what you need when you need it. Create an amazing photo book of your vacation (or other event) without having to find and upload photos from here and there and everywhere on your different devices.
  5. Eliminate memory and storage issues on your devices. Avoid corruption of photo files also.
  6. Safeguard your photos. Quickly back up your photos to flash drives, external drives, DVDs and the cloud for safekeeping. No more losing precious photos from lost or broken phones or tablets, a computer crash, system upgrade or accidental deletion.
  7. Access your photos at will without an Internet connection when you store them on your computer or external drive vs. online storage sites.
  8. Retain the original resolution of the photo. Some photo storage sites reduce the resolution resulting in lower quality. Why take photos in HD and end up with standard quality? It’s bad for viewing and printing.

So that about sums it up—for now. The first step to getting organized will be coming up in the next few days. This will be a “fluid” series vs. an already designed tutorial. We’ll be working together sharing ideas, pitfalls and successes. You can use the comment section for questions, sharing information or stories that will be helpful to others. Feel free to introduce yourself as well. I encourage everyone to get actively involved. It’s more fun that way.

See you at Step 1!

By the way, the photo above is from my recent vacation in Amsterdam. Notice the buildings leaning? And the hooks at the top? Check out why here. It’s interesting. And the photos you’ll see on that site are many of the same ones I took. Gee, and I thought I was being original.

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