Organizing Your Digital Vacation Photos Series-Step 3: Master the Art of Eliminating Picture Clutter

Hello! Glad to see that you’re back and ready to continue with this next step.

To recap, let’s look at what you’ve accomplished so far:

  • Created your working folder structure that will help keep you organized for many years to come.
  • Gathered your devices, copied the photos into a temporary folder and backed it up so the originals are safely tucked away for the short term (in case of any boo boos).
  • You also deleted the photos from your device(s) so you have lots of space again to take more photos!

Wow, that’s a lot. Give yourself a hug for sticking with it. You’ve accomplished what most people don’t even attempt: creating a great foundation for organizing success. You’re on your way to eliminating stress and confusion so you can enjoy your photos the way you want. Kiss guilt and anxiety goodbye!!

So let’s get started. You’ll find this part of the series to be very freeing.

Copy Files to Your Vacation Folder

In Step 1, you set up a 2016 Vacation folder, or whatever else you named it. Mine is named “2016-03 Viking River Cruise.”

Simply COPY the files from your “temporary folder” into the Vacations folder. This is where you’ll do the rest of your organizing.

The “temporary folder,” as previously mentioned, will be there in case you accidentally delete some photos you want to get back (even though you could also retrieve them from the “Trash”). I just find it quicker and easier to grab a file from there versus getting it from the “Trash.” It is also great to have if you want or need to start over during the file renaming step of this series.

Now you’re ready to eliminate picture clutter.

What is Picture Clutter?

It’s what you end up with when you store every photo you’ve ever taken without being selective with them. Do you really need five pictures of a landscape that are nearly identical? A picture of your shoes? Thirty pictures of the same people at the same birthday party? Or a shot of something you have no idea what it is?  The answer is No!

Image files can be huge, especially if you use an HD or other high-resolution setting on your camera like I do. I want to create the best possible image and I can only do that if I use a high resolution setting. But, that means they’re taking up a huge amount of space on my devices and hard drive. I know you’re dealing with the same issue.

The way to resolve it is to delete the photos that are bad, duplicates, unnecessary or accidents. That way your organizing efforts are put to good use dealing only with the ones that you’ll use and that hold great value to you and others.

What’s the Best Way to Eliminate Picture Clutter?

It’s simple. Look at each file one at a time in a photo viewer.  Usually double-clicking on the image file will display the viewer. Then you can scroll through each one.

Why do it this way instead of using the thumbnail version in the Explorer (Finder) window? For me, it’s similar to trying to look at a photo on my phone’s small display: it’s just too small to see the fine details. I’ve thought a picture looked great right after I took it so I thought I was good to go. But when I viewed it on my computer’s much larger screen, I saw eyes closed, weird smiles, eyes looking elsewhere, etc. I was disappointed.

Viewing the picture in a larger format means you can see the detail, allowing you to safely delete the unnecessary or bad ones. If you usually take several shots of the same thing to play it safe, you can easily compare them and keep the cream of the crop.

Keep a minimalistic approach in mind during this process, especially if you have limited storage space. It will keep your collection manageable in the present and down the road.

When Should You Keep a “Bad” Photo?

When it’s the only one you have that captures that moment. Even if it’s slightly blurry, dark or whatever, you’ll want to keep it if it will help make your story complete or, for example, if it’s the only picture you were able to get of a loved one at that place or event.

One caveat: If the photo is of a person and the shot is such that it makes the person look unattractive or it would embarrass them if others saw it, please don’t keep it.

Celebrate Freedom

Okay, that’s it for this lesson. Pretty simple. You get to enjoy looking through your photos and doing a little light housekeeping at the same time. Doesn’t it feel good to get rid of some of the noise and clutter so you have a more manageable number of photos with which to work?

Next Up

Next we start renaming the files of all those beautiful vacation photos! This is where the magic happens. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your photos get organized and the fun you’ll have finding any photo you want in a matter of seconds. Very cool. Trust me.

I’m going to work hard to get Step 4 out next week. I’m working on a new way to present the information so if all goes well you’ll have it next week. Otherwise, it could be a little longer. But the information you’ll get in this step is well worth the wait.

See you soon.

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