Spring cleaning your tech: 5 tips for organizing photos

I consider myself to be a fairly organized person, but I admit to pushing photo organization to the very bottom of my list. That means I’ve got a zillion photos on my DSLR and smartphone, and the rest are scattered about my computer in oddly named files that seemed like good titles until I went to try to find them.

As it turns out, organizing photos isn’t rocket science and it really doesn’t take that much time. So I’ve put together these five easy ways to get those photos in order before your kids are old enough to do it themselves.

1. Get those pics off your camera: If you take a lot of photos, then you might want to schedule a designated time to upload your photos from your device to your computer. Pop it in your calendar along with your other appointments, or make yourself feel better about that hour of guilty pleasure reality TV by multi-tasking.

2. It’s all in the name: Here’s a smart idea–consider creating a file system based on events (“first day of school” “Carolyn’s shower”) rather than years, since your computer will automatically include the date in the file details. Then create sub-folders by year or your kid’s name for easy tracking. You’ll find it much easier to label your individual photos this way. Promise.

Eye-Fi Wireless photo uploading

3. The cloud is your friend: Once you get your existing photos organized, consider using a device that allows you to save your photos right to handy sites like Flickr. Think the Eye-Fi card (right), a camera with wireless, or settings on your smartphone that let you back up to the cloud. This way, you can access them anywhere, and you can utilize that service’s organizational system to help keep track.

4. Get a manager: Plenty of awesome programs, like Picasa, can be downloaded or installed right to your computer to manage your photos (and edit them too!) as soon as you upload them. Then you can easily print out the albums or just create organized online albums with a few clicks of a button.

5. Back that thing up!: Wherever you decide to keep your photos, you want to be sure they’re backed up. If you don’t have a trusty external hard drive, start with a flash drive for each year of photos (or each kid) stored in a fire proof box.

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Cool Mom Staff

We spend our time looking for cool stuff so you don't have to. Hope this one fits the bill.


  • Reply March 28, 2011

    Zinglewaga Dad

    Great tips – really have to get one of those Eye-Fi cards – they sound awesome.

    Regarding backing things up, I really recommend people look at an automated online backup service.

    We used to try backing up to DVDs, external drives etc, but it was too much effort. And I don’t think online photo sharing sites like SmugMug, Flickr etc are really a replacement for a real backup. We used Mozy Home for about a year but let our subscription go when we bought a new PC as the options for managing multi PCs devices didn’t seem sufficient.

    Last weekend I made it my goal to get a new system in place as we felt really exposed with about 7 GB of family photos not backed up anywhere. I checked out a lot of the services in this review (http://online-data-backup-review.toptenreviews.com/).

    In the end we opted to try a trial of SugarSync. It seems to have lots of great options, like allowing you to sync photos between lots of different devices as well as backing up. We have so many computers, devices in our house these days it’s crazy and we and the kids seem to have different opinions on which is the master PC!

    Jury is still out on whether it’s a good solution – still backing up our music and photos but looks promising.

  • Reply March 28, 2011

    Meredith Hertzler

    I will second the above commenter. We also use an online backup service called BackBlaze. 2 years ago, my computer totally died. In 2 days, I had a back up drive FedEx’d to me with all of my files on it from my previous computer. I plugged it in to my replacement and had everything instantly recovered. Plus, I now have an extra back drive to upload some other stuff on should I need it.

  • Reply March 29, 2011


    be careful about Picassa. Whenever I have tried to make a photo book for over 40 pics I am told it cannot be done by the Picasa vendors (all the big ones. this has occurred after I havespent a couple of hours carefully arranging them to be transfered. If anyone knows if this has been changed, do tell!

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