Managing the Photo Madness

Like most parents, I love snapping photos of my kids.  A large number of photos are taken on my phone, since that’s what I have on me most of the time.  When I’m more deliberate, I take my Canon along to get some higher quality shots.  And of course, to get one good shot, you have to take at least five photos because taking photos of kids is like herding cats.  I just tallied up my files for the last few months, and I take at least 200 photos every month.  That’s not counting months with big events like birthdays, weddings, Christmas, etc.  Whew!


I came up with a method to control the madness, and I just thought I’d share it in case it helps anyone else.

I deal with my photos on a monthly basis, so I don’t get too far behind (and then overwhelmed).  So once a month is over, here are the steps I follow.  [Note: You may be able to tell that I used to be a Type A software consultant before this stay-at-home mom gig.]

  1. I create a new sub-folder for the month underneath the higher-level year folder.Folder Screenshot
  2. I transfer all of the photos from that month into that folder, including from my phone and Canon camera.  Bonus: Plugging my iPhone into my computer once a month means it’s getting backed up regularly!  Make sure your iTunes is set to do this.
  3. I sort the photos chronologically, since the file names from different sources often separate photos from the same event.  Sort By Screenshot
  4. I go through the photos at a high level and narrow it down to the best ones.  I move the sub par photos into a “Rejects” subfolder for that month (I couldn’t think of a better name!), or you could delete them to save space.Reject Folder Screenshot
  5. Optional: I take this time to delete any photos from my phone that I moved to the “Rejects” folder.  I also delete any videos from my phone that I don’t expect to watch often (memory hogs!).  This helps keep my memory usage down on my phone.
  6. Ahhh…isn’t that nice?  You’ve probably weeded out at least 1/3 of the photos already!  Next, I go through and do basic edits on the photos like cropping and contrast.  I also add captions to the ones that need some context.  Looking at the photos at this level helps me weed out even more and really choose my favorites.  There are lots of free photo editing options out there, including PicMonkey.
  7. Once edited, I upload the photos to a Google Photo album that I share with family & friends.  This is my motivation for getting through all the prior steps.
  8. My final step is to back up my photos.  I cannot even imagine how crushed I would be if my external hard drive crashed, and I lost years of photos!  So I back mine up to Flickr, where you get 1,000 GB of free storage!  Everything is set to private in my account, so I’m the only one who can see my content.  Plus, they let you upload videos as well.

Ta da!  Your photos have been organized, edited, shared, and backed up for the month!  And now it’s easy to find the photos you need on your computer with the easy folder structure.  I’d love to hear your tips for managing photos, too!  Share them below, please!


I create an annual photo book as a Christmas gift for our parents as well as one to keep ourselves.  Having all of this done on a regular basis makes the photo book process so much simpler and faster!  I’ll share more on that in a later post.

Photo Organization Tips | Laguna Lane

7 thoughts on “Managing the Photo Madness

  1. Julie Gibson says:

    Very nice!! I think I am more OCD than that!! I separate mine by weeks and put them on big 4th flash drives. Gonna have to figure out where to keep those besides a baggie in my purse or nightstand. I also save everything to shutterfly, then it is there when I want to do books, puzzles etc. I need to find a way to get my videos on fed so I can organise them!! I think shutterfly does that but I am not sure. O will do a ‘s with all her firsts like Christmas 45th of july, rolling over etc.

    • lagunalane says:

      I used to separate by weeks when Devin was first born, but I consolidated after awhile. Glad you’re on top of your photos! I’d recommend checking Shutterfly’s policy to see if you could download full-size images from their site in case something ever happens to your local files. Some sites don’t allow that or charge for each download.

      • Julie Gibson says:

        Ahhh, good idea! I will check into that! I have to clear my phone every few weeks because it gets to 9% left of storage space or less. I have made it down to 2% before! Yikes!

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