Organizing Your Digital Vacation Photos Series-Step 2: Gather, Transfer, Back Up

Welcome back. To start off, I want to share some background about the picture in this post. It is from an amazing winery in the Alsace region of France I had the privilege of visiting while on my Viking river cruise down the Rhine. The owners were very welcoming and shared interesting facts about the history of French winemaking and of their winery. And, of course, the wine was fantastic! I adored that part of France and hope to go back there someday. If you get the chance to visit France, I highly recommend including the Alsace region in your itinerary.

So back to the business at hand, I hope you got a chance to create and play around with your folder structure from Step 1 so it makes sense to you. We all don’t think the same way or organize our life or house the same way. So why should organizing your picture folders be any different? And just a reminder, if you don’t like the way yours is set up, you can always change it later.

If you’re good to go on your folders, let’s get started on Step 2: Gathering, transferring and backing up your digital pictures!

Oh my! Here’s where the majority of us get stuck in our picture-taking practices. Every day, there are 3 billion pictures uploaded to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. But how many are transferred or downloaded to a computer for safe-keeping or getting printed? Who knows? But not many. If you seldom get past just sharing some of your photos, you’re not alone. Most people do nothing after an initial quick look or share via social media.

What a shame that so few pictures are valued enough to be properly saved and preserved. But if you’re participating in this series, then you’re one of the few who truly appreciates and values your pictures! That makes you special. Maybe one in a million. (Or just old! You grew up in the film camera era, and due to the expense of every photo taken you know how special each and every one is.)

And here you are! Taking the time out of your busy schedule to organize your digital pictures. We share a bond now. I might not know you personally, but I do know that you’re a loving and caring person. How could I know that? Because you care deeply, not so much really about the actual pictures, but about the people in the pictures. It’s about the shared experiences with friends and family. They mean a great deal to you and you want to make sure those captured moments are never lost. They’re meant to be shared now and in the future. How wonderful it must be to be your friend!

Organizing your vacation photos means you need to get them off your phone, camera or tablet and onto your computer. Ugh! Seems like so much work. But it’s really not. (Wasn’t is so much easier years ago when you took the roll of film in and let someone else do the work?! )

In this lesson, I’m giving you the foundational steps you need to accomplish this task regardless of which device you’re using. Because there are different types of phones, tablets and cameras, I can’t give you the exact steps for your particular device. But the information here is basic enough that you can use it to successfully get your pictures where they need to be.

Follow me through the steps below to get all your pictures in one place. Whoo hoo!

You’ll find three sets of instructions: transferring from a (1) phone, (2) SD card and (3) iPad. Scroll down to find the one(s) that apply to you. These instructions can be used to help guide you when using a tablet also.

Transferring Pictures from Your Phone

1.Connect your phone to your computer via the USB port.

NOTE: Check your phone to ensure that it is being “connected as a media device.” On Android, slide down from the top of the screen to display the Notifications panel.


2. Open an Explorer (or Finder) window, then under Devices and drives, double-click your device. Two folders will display.


3. Double-click Phone. This is the phone’s internal storage and where your photos are automatically stored. The DCIM (Digital Camera Images) folder displays.

NOTE: Card is your SD card, if you have one installed in your phone and use it for photo and video storage.


4. Double-click the DCIM folder.

NOTE: Whether you use a digital camera or the camera app on your Android or iPhone, your pictures are automatically stored in the DCIM folder.


5. Double-click the Camera folder. A list of your digital pictures displays.


6. Resize the open Explorer window to make it fit the left half of the screen. (You want two Explorer windows open side-by-side.)

7. Open a second Explorer window and resize it to fit the right half of the screen as shown in the image below.

8. In the Explorer window on the right, navigate to the “temporary” folder you set up in the previous lesson. For example, 2016 Photos-Devices folder.

9. Click in the left Explorer window and select the photos you want to COPY to your “temporary” folder. DO NOT MOVE the files. To select all, press Ctrl+A on the keyboard.

10. Click Copy (or press Ctrl+C).

11. Double-click your “temporary” folder to open it, and click Paste (or Ctrl+V). A Copying dialog box displays.


12. Wait for the files to finish copying. If you have a lot of pictures, this could take a bit of time.


13. If you use an SD card as well to store pictures on your device, navigate back to the Card folder and repeat the steps to copy the desired picture files to your “temporary” folder.

Transferring Pictures from Digital Camera SD Card

1.Insert the SD card into the card slot on your computer or external card reader.

NOTE: If the Explorer window doesn’t open automatically and display the DCIM folder, then open an Explorer window and double-click the drive where your card is.

2. Double-click the DCIM folder. The camera’s folder structure displays.

3. Double-click each folder one at a time, and using the instructions above starting with Step 6, select, copy and paste the pictures into your “temporary” folder.


Transferring Pictures from Your Ipad

1.Connect your iPad to your computer via the USB port.

2. Under Devices and drives, double-click Apple iPad.

3. Double-click Internal Storage, then DCIM, then 100APPLE.

NOTE: Whether you use a digital camera or the camera app on your Android, iPhone or iPad, your pictures are  stored automatically in the DCIM folder.

4. Using the instructions above for transferring from a phone starting with Step 6, select, copy and paste the pictures into your “temporary” folder.

Downloading Pictures from Online Accounts

If you have your pictures uploaded automatically to a social media, cloud storage or photo sharing site (or you upload them manually), and then you delete them from your device, you’ll need to download them also to your “temporary” folder. Follow their instructions for downloading.

All Your Photos are Transferred. What’s Next? Backing Them Up!

At this point you have a copy on your device (or SD card) and your computer (and maybe even in cloud storage too). So when is it safe to delete the photos from your device, SD card and/or the cloud? After you have your “temporary” folder backed up in two places.

This backup of your “temporary” folder will also be a temporary one. You want your originals in two places so you have them in case something goes wrong such as a hard drive crash, computer issues, accidental deletion, etc. You will delete your backup folder once you get your original pictures organized and renamed.

To make a backup: Simply copy your temporary folder to a CD/DVD, another drive such as external, portable or flash drive, or to a cloud storage account.

Once that’s done you can safely delete the photos from your device(s) because you’ll have the original copies on your computer and in a second location now. They can’t get lost or damaged. Plus, your device again has lots of free space for you to take more pictures!!

Great job. You did it. You accomplished what most people never do: get their pictures all in one place and safely backed up.

It wasn’t that difficult or scary, now was it? If you want to share, leave a comment about any fears, concerns or apprehensions you had before you started this lesson, and how you feel now that it’s done.

Coming Up

In the next Step of this series you’ll learn what to do with all those pictures you’ve consolidated into one folder. This next step is critical so don’t miss it. It will be available in the next few days.

If you aren’t currently following my blog, please consider doing so to not miss any of the upcoming lessons.

See you soon!







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