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How to Organize Your Digital Photos

I have updated this blog post from 2013. I just ordered and received two photos books, which once again brings me completely up-to-date on our family albums! I am so excited, I thought I’d share with you. 

{This post includes My Publisher and Amazon affiliate links. I  was given no compensation for this post, these are simply products that I use and love.}

How to organize your digital photosMost of us have hundreds (if not thousands) of digital photos on our cameras, computers and hard drives. Managing them can be a bit overwhelming at times. Before digital photos, I kept all of my prints either in albums or stored in labeled photo boxes. For a long time after switching to digital I struggled with how to keep everything organized.  Today I am going to share with you how I organize my own digital photos.

1. Transfer digital photos from your camera. When I transfer my photos I make a folder with a descriptive name like: Enoch’s 14th birthday. I like a name rather than date, because it helps me remember where to fine specific photos (plus the date is already imbedded in the photos and I can sort the folders chronologically). For you, it might work better to just use the date. For client photos I label them like this: Smith Newborn 2014.

*I always, always back-up client images at this point. For my personal photos, I do it later in the process.

2. Cull!

This takes less than 10 minutes. When I view my photos on the computer, I quickly delete any out-of-focus images, blinking images, etc. Getting rid of photos right away saves storage space and headaches. No need to keep every image you ever take!

3. Sort for blog.

When I upload a batch of photos to my computer, I immediately decide which ones will appear on the blog and give them a 5 star rating. Once they are edited and resized for the web, I place them in a folder named something like: Enoch’s 14th Birthday blog. This folder stays in the original folder labeled: Enoch’s 14th Birthday.

4. Edit photos.

Next process  I any other photos I plan to keep or print from the event. Each batch of photos is already in its own folder with a descriptive name. Usually the blog post is completed first. The folder of edited jpgs go into another folder labeled: 2014 family album.

5. Back up

I back up the images on my hard drive and then upload to the  photo lab where I will eventually print them. I like having two ways to store my images. I use Unit Prints for my personal photos.

6. Add to books.

Once a week or so, I sit down and open the My Publisher software on my computer and add in the new photos. This takes literally 10-15 minutes. Once they are in the album, I can delete them from my computer.  This was I am always caught up.

7. Order prints (and photo books).

Prints are important! I print fewer photos than I did 5 years ago because I primarily use photo books instead of  traditional scrapbooking. However, I have found that simple 4×6 prints are the easiest way to keep my kids’ individual albums up to date. The kids love to have a few favorite prints themselves, and they sometimes still need them for school projects.

I use My Publisher for our photo books. I have tried several other companies and found My Publisher to be superior in every way (I’ll talk about why in a moment). I print our family photo books every six months. Each book usually contains around 400 photos!how to organize digital photos  I like to order the oversized 15×11.5 size with the standard linen cover, so I can enjoy my photos BIG. I take so many pictures that I publish the books in six month (rather than yearly) increments. how to organize digital photos 

I love the flexibility and page options with My Publisher. Here is our photo book next to a standard 4×6 photo so you can see how large some of the photos are.

how to organize digital photos  how to organize digital photoshow to organize digital photos

My Publisher books have thick, durable pages. The print quality of the photos is the best I have seen in any photobook.

The last book I ordered contained 407 photos and cost right about $100 including shipping. Not exactly cheap, but when you consider the number of photos (and the fact that our family album is completed and I am caught up) it is a bargain.

For the kids individual albums, I use Becky Higgins Project Life and Photo Pocket Pages. The Project Life system is amazing. The kit comes with pre-cut papers and notecards that fit right in the page protectors. This system allows you to be as creative (or non-creative) as you like. It is completely customizable.

how to organize digital photos

how to organize digital photoshow to organize digital photos how to organize digital photos

Every few months I sit down and get the kids’ albums caught up. It is so easy to do with Project Life. I simply insert my photos and add any journaling, cards, or small items that I have collected. When I am feeling especially creative, I make digital scrapbook pages and get them printed as 12x12s. These I slip into 12×12 page protectors.

This simple, two-pronged effort allows me to be caught up on both our family albums and the kids individual books. It makes me so happy to know my photos are ready to be enjoyed, not buried in digital format somewhere, never to be seen.MyPublisher, Inc.



  1. Mel

    Hi, do you have an individual album for each child?
    How many albums do you have for each child?
    Do you do one a year or just one throughout their lives?

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Each of the children their own scrapbook. I use these:
      Then for the family album, I use the My Publisher photo books. Some kids have one scrapbook (like our Liberian children who didn’t come to us until they were teens) and some have more than one. Once an album fills up, I simply buy a new one.

  2. Rebecca

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing! I have a question…if you don’t mind sharing…where did you learn how to take such beautiful pics. My dh just bought me a wonderful camera and I am wanting to take better pictures. I’m trying to figure out if I need to take classes at a college, watch youtube videos or just learn by trial and error. Would love to hear your thoughts! 🙂

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      You’re welcome. I learned from: my camera manual, books, LOTS of practice/experimentation and photography forums; mainly ILP and Clickin’ Moms- I’m an affilate for Clickin’ Moms so be sure to use my link 😉 I, personally, have never taken a photography or camera class, but lots of people learn that way too, of course.

  3. Marianne

    This has nothing to do with this post….I just got finished reading a blog I read….Kelly the Kitchen Kop ….today’s blog was on tube feeding…very interesting……but they linked to a YouTube video “The story of Just Food”….thought you would be interested in it….if you already had not know about it…….Marianne. —- I am not affiliated with them …just thought this would interest you.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      It is not a photo storage site…but since I know that is where I will eventually order my prints from, I “store” them there. All jpg images are backed up on an external hard drive.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      It is not actually a storage site, but since I know I will eventually order prints from there, I upload them right away. I backup all my jpgs on an external hard drive.

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