Getting Your Digital Memories Organized

It’s the new year! Congrats! You’ve made it through another year with your sanity attached {maybe}, and it’s time to get down to new business for the upcoming year. The last thing I talked to you about was capturing great photo memories. Did you learn anything? I hope you did. I want capturing memories to be a big priority for the world and would love it if it’s special to you. If not, that’s cool; we can still be friends.

Now that it’s a new year, your computer hard drive is probably busting at the seams with photos and video you captured in 2015, right? Right. Because you love taking photos and videos just like I do. Friends, remember? Right.

So now that you have all these photos living in the digital world, what in the world do you do with them? It can be overwhelming, believe me. I mean, I have about 10,000 photos from the year and about 500GB worth of video. I feel you, sister. {Or brother. Because brothers could be reading this too.} But I’m this weird creature who gets some fulfillment from organizing my digital life. I’m always looking for apps and software to make workflows and my computer life easier to manage. After all, aren’t we living a lot of our lives staring at a screen…whether it be for work or personal pleasure? So why not find ways to help make the process of organizing our digital memories easiest and most effective?

As a digital organization nerd, a photo lover, and computer geek, I’m here to share with you some tips this new year for saving last year’s photo and video memories.

Tip: For photo workflow, I swear by Adobe’s Lightroom software. So if you’re in a place where you can invest in it, I HIGHLY recommend it! And if you are a Lightroom user, let me know if you’d like some workflow and editing tutorials in the future because like I said, ***NEEERD HERE***.

Okay, here’s some of my tips for getting your digital memories organized.

Getting Your Digital Memories Organized | Houston Moms Blog

Ideally, cull {pick the best pictures} as you go.

Here’s what me taking pictures looks like: I shoot the pictures. I put the photos on my computer and organize the photos I’ve taken.

I have a parent folder with the name of that year. Then I sort the photos by date they were taken with the folder specifically named YYMM-DD EVENT. That way I can sort alphabetically and the folders stay in chronological order. And then I just put the pictures from that day and event into that folder. Like this…

Getting Your Digital Memories Organized | Houston Moms Blog

Once I do that, I import those folders into Lightroom, and I immediately go through all the photos from those new folders and pick out my absolute favorites. If you don’t have Lightroom, that’s okay; there is other photo workflow software you can use like iPhoto or Bridge. I just find that it’s easier to sort through photos when you use a software {as opposed to finder view} so you can see them all at once to compare and easily select your favorites.

Ideally, you’ll want to do this as you go. But I get that most people aren’t as obsessive compulsive about it as I am. {Really, I have a problem.} So if you haven’t gone through your year’s photos to pick out the best ones that you may want to print or add to a book, think about taking a day to make that your goal!

Get your photos off your hard drive and print them!

You don’t have to print them all. Oy! I can’t imagine printing my 10,000 photos from 2015! Heck no! We’ve picked our favorites already, remember? Once you’ve gone through all of your photos and picked ones that you would want printed, print them. I mean, PRINT. THEM. Sorry for the all caps, but I’m so serious about this. Photos are not made to live in a computer. They’re made for holding and touching and feeling or even looked at on a wall or smelling…if you’re into that. If there’s anything I’ve learned from working in the photography industry and being an avid photographer myself is that if photos live on a computer, the chances of you looking at them are pretty much zero percent. You can print trusty ‘ol 4×6’s and put them in a photo album, or you can make photo albums through a bajillion websites – Shutterfly, Blurb, MyPublisher, iPhoto, Pinhole Press, Mpix…seriously, there’s a bajillion.

Make it a goal to get your photos from last year printed in some manner so you can enjoy them for real for years to come.

Back it on up!

I’d suggest investing in one or {preferably} two external hard drives, and let me tell you why: My philosophy is that technology will fail not “IF” but “WHEN.” So I always think, “WHEN my computer hard drive fails, I at least have my photos saved in two places.” Now, I may be a little OCD, but if you have your photos only saved on your computer hard drive, and your computer hard drive only, I want you to look into my eyes. Seriously, look into my eyes right now and hear this truth: Please, for the love of all “Baby’s First Everything” get those photos and videos backed up onto an external hard drive P.R.O.N.T.O. Your computer’s hard drive could die tomorrow and you may have no way of recovering all those photos you’ve taken, and you’ve lost those captured memories. So at the very least, get an external hard drive and copy all of the year’s files over to the new drive so you have at least one back up in case your computer’s hard drive goes terribly wrong.

Oh, but friend, I’m going to take this a step further. Prepare yourselves…

Why take up room on your computer’s hard drive with old photos? I mean, you’ve already printed out your favorite ones, right? *wink*

So there’s no need to keep them on your main drive. Clear up space on your computer’s hard drive. Once you’ve copied over all your files onto an external drive, splurge for a second external drive as a backup and copy them to that one. Then clear off your computer’s hard drive to give it an extra speed boost and to clear up space for other files like Adele’s new 25 album. Haha!

The reason for the second drive is because my motto is to always have my important files backed up to at least two other places. Now, I’m hyper OCD about all of this stuff, so I have my files in the Cloud AND on two external drives. But I don’t expect that from everyone. No pressure. But just in case one external hard drive goes splat, you have a backup.

These things have happened to me. I speak from experience. But thank goodness I have backups of my backups, or I would have been screwed. So I’m sharing this experience because there’s nothing worse than that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you lose something precious.

Now, reading this I don’t want you to feel pressured, or less-than, or panic that your digital files are going to self-destruct at any moment. It’s just important to me for people to be able to preserve their memories for generations to come. And because we live in a digital age, that means we have to be diligent about technology. I mean, think about how precious it is to see a photo of your parent or grandparent from when they were young. I know I treasure those photos. And I want all of our kids and grandkids to have those photos in the years to come, so they can get a glimpse into what our lives look like at this day and age. And how fun is it to snuggle up with your kids to look over family photo albums to relive those special memories? It’s one of my favorite things in the world, which is why I’m so passionate and want to share that passion with you.

So how about it? Let’s make it a goal to get those photos printed and saved from 2015 and begin working on taking care of 2016’s memories as the years moves on!

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Hannah B
A native Houstonian, Hannah adores everything about her home town…except for the humidity. So when she married Aaron in July 2008, an indoor wedding was necessary to protect this ginger from the frizz of summer. After 8 years of marriage, 4 of those battling through infertility, they welcomed twins Cason and Grace into their family through the miracle of adoption in December 2013. A graduate of the University of Houston with a degree in theatre and a creative writing minor, creating runs deep in Hannah’s veins. Her goal is to live a fearless life where she works hard creating projects and ideas that make their home in her wild imagination. She loves making videos for her YouTube Channel, taking photos and writing for her blog Everything Sunny Always, and creating digital artwork. When she’s not creating, you can find Hannah at any local coffee shop fueling her adoration for a gourmet cup of joe or stuck in traffic on the Houston freeways belting Adele or practicing her future Emmy speech.


    • For desktop storage I have two WD My Book drives that are 3TB. I have a WD passport that I use as a portable drive that’s 500GB. I’d check to see how big your files are where you have them stored now, and buy an external drive based on that size.

      Raid is also a great brand, although a little more pricy. And I’ve had a Seagate drive before that also worked well.

    • For desktop storage I have two WD My Book drives that are 3TB. I have a WD passport that I use as a portable drive that’s 500GB. I’d check to see how big your files are where you have them stored now, and buy an external drive based on that size.

      Raid is also a great brand, although a little more pricy. And I’ve had a Seagate drive before that also worked well.


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