How To

4 things to start doing with your digital photos

I'm Maria!

As a Certified Photo Manager and Digital Organizer, I ensure my client's files are safe and easy to find. Follow me for tips on how to get your digital life in order.

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If your photos are a mess and you’re not sure where to start, here are 4 things you can do to get your photos in a much better place.

Backup your photos to an external hard drive AND to cloud storage

To ensure the safekeeping of your digital photos, create backups on both an external hard drive and a cloud backup service. Why is this important? Because neither the external hard drive nor the cloud storage is 100% safe. Here are three scenarios that are more common than you think.

  • Your external hard drive permanently stops working without any warning or apparent reason. This can happen to ANY hard drive, no matter how new or carefully cared for.
  • Your home is broken into, and your computer AND backup hard drive are stolen.
  • You are permanently locked out of your cloud account either through too many forgotten password attempts or someone else attempting to hack into your account.

For a cloud backup I use Backblaze because it is easy to setup and backups happen automatically. If you are short on time but what to protect your computer files, Backblaze is a good place to start.

For backing up to an external hard drive, I recommend purchasing a new hard drive that is 100% dedicated to backups. Ensure you buy one with enough space; 2-4 TB is a good capacity. I like to use LaCie, Seagate, and Western Digital. Before you pull the trigger on a new hard drive, make sure the connection on the hard drive matches your computer. If your computer has a USB-C port, a hard drive with the older USB won’t cut it. Fortunately, many hard drives now come with a USB-C cable and an older USB cable, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find something that works. 

Not sure how to back up your photos? Download my free guide to get started!

Create three action albums

  • To print
  • To sort
  • Photo books to create

If you are short on time but want to start doing more with your photos, I recommend creating digital action albums. If you already have a few albums created, keep your action albums at the top of the list so they are easily accessible. Create one album titled “To Print” and put any photos you would like to print out and frame. Create another album called “To Share” and keep any photos you would like to share on social media or send to friends and family. The third album should be more of a folder containing a collection of albums. Name this folder “Photo Books to Create,” then create an album for each photo book you would like to create. The beauty of creating these albums is that you don’t have to add all the photos in one sitting. If you keep these albums in a place that is easily accessible, you can gradually add photos as you come across them!

Flag your favorite photos instead of deleting your worst

If you’re short on time, and really, who isn’t? A better use of your time and energy is to focus on elevating the important instead of deleting the unimportant. Every photo software has a way of marking your best photos. Once these photos have been marked, they automatically get added to a special album. Apple Photos and Google Photos call this album “Favorites”. This way, you don’t have to scroll past thousands of duds to find your gems. BONUS TIP: This same philosophy applies to your email inbox. Most email programs will allow you to identify the email addresses of your most valuable senders. Then, any new messages are highlighted in your email inbox and visible in a special folder. Apple Mail calls this process, marking your VIPs. I’ve also set this up for clients in Google Mail and Outlook.

Save space by selectively using Burst Mode or Live Mode

Burst mode, also called continuous shooting mode, sports mode, continuous mode, or burst shot, is a feature of smartphone cameras that allows you to quickly capture several photos. You can do this by holding down the shutter button. This is great if you take a group photo because you are more likely to get a shot where no one blinks. The problem is that many people accidentally take burst photos of still objects. This gives you dozens of near-identical photos that you then have to decide on the best one to keep. If you keep all your burst photos, you could quickly run out of space on your camera roll.

Another type of photo you need to be careful of is Apple’s Live Mode. This is turned on in the iPhone camera and is left on unless you turn it off. Live mode captures a still photo AND a mini video that brings that still to life. This is great if you are taking a picture of your child jumping into a swimming pool or a picture of your dog catching a frisbee. It’s less awesome when every photo you have taken for the past year is a Live Photo. These photos take up more space and will quickly fill up your storage space.

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Maria Mesick

Personal Photo Managment for creative professionals.

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