Tara Bone, contributing writer

 

 

How many pictures and videos are on your camera roll right now? Are they saved and organized safely? If these questions are easy to answer, you are one of the lucky few who have a system of saving digital memories. If these questions wreak panic (like they did for me), take a deep breath and know there’s help for us and the thousands of photos and videos on our phones.

What follows are tips to help you take control of your memories. There are dozens of ways to go about this process that depend on personal preferences and situations, but here’s a place to start.

Local expert Krista White from Memory Lane Productions has spent years researching best practices when it comes to organizing digital photos and videos. Her suggestion to someone who has no idea where to start is “start with the end in mind.”

She says to ask yourself why you’re capturing pictures and videos and what you’re going to do with them. For their family, they make a yearly Shutterfly book and yearly highlight videos (which is a service Memory Lane provides). Decide what you want to do with your memories (for ideas, see Cache Valley Family Magazine’s Fall 2022 “Family Matters” article).

Krista also says to break the process down into smaller chunks and she offers hands-on, 2-hour workshops that define the process and empower participants. Workshops are offered every month, limited to 10 students, and cost just $30 compared to pricier online courses.

Because the process can be overwhelming, a Memory Lane Workshop offers support and local answers to questions (see @memorylanepro on Instagram). Another service often recommended by bloggers and documenting pros like Becky Higgins is “Backup Boot Camp” by Miss Freddy, an online course at missfreddy.com.

IN THE END, AN ORGANIZED DIGITAL MEMORY SYSTEM CAN LOOK LIKE:
1. One or more external hard drive backups of all organized photos and videos.
2. A cloud-based backup service. Choices include iCloud (Apple), Dropbox, or Google photos. Krista recommends Dropbox because it’s cost-effective, automatic, and features a user-friendly file structure. (Although Krista doesn’t believe this is necessary if you’re trying to stay on a budget because of the yearly fees that can increase).
3. A hard copy yearly photo book and highlight video.

EXECUTION STEPS:
(Can look different for each person depending on preferences.)
1. Make a plan. Begin with the end in mind. What is your end goal for your memories? How do you want your files organized? By year, month, or event?
2. Bring photos together. Gather files from phones, computer desktops, memory cards, and old computers onto an external hard drive.
3. Eliminate duplicates. Organize photos into chronological order.
4. Backup. Store photos on a cloud storage system and/or another external hard drive.
5. Ongoing maintenance.
There are shortcuts offered on Miss Freddy’s course to make some of these steps easier.

Consider these recommendations as you embark on this project: • Talk with your spouse or partner about where they’ve saved photos or if they have a digital organization process started.
• Krista doesn’t recommend using a duplicate deleting app because they automatically choose the “best” duplicate to keep and some make the process more complicated.
• Recommended external hard drives: Seagate Portable 2TB or WD 2TB Passport Portable (available on Amazon).

Bottom line: Don’t be discouraged. There are resources available to help and Krista is passionate about teaching and helping clients untangle their digital messes.

“I’m going to put the tools in your hand and you’ll be successful,” she said. “This is possible..”

SHORT-TERM PHOTO MANAGEMENT
Establish a short-term photo and video routine. Do yourself a favor and make the digital organization process more manageable. Fewer photos = easier documenting and photo organization.

Spend a few minutes each day or once a week deleting duplicates, poor pictures, or pics of your kid’s nose. Becky Higgins with Project Life offers great advice on this topic. She calls is the “Daily Delete.” She recommends you don’t agonize over what to delete, she says don’t overthink it, but rather ask yourself: “Will I be glad to have this picture in five years?”

Share photos with friends or family. Set up shared folders with family members, i.e., a folder for each child they can access anytime. When you text photos they lose quality.

PRO TIP:
You should always back up your photos in multiple places.

First, make sure your phone is backed up. This is easy and, if you have an iPhone, once the iCloud Backup is on, you don’t have to do it again. Here’s how to set up iCloud Backup on an iPhone:
1. Go to Settings.
2. Tap on your account > iCloud > iCloud Backup.
3. You will receive a notification when a successful backup has taken place, usually daily when connected to WiFi. For more information see support.apple.com/en-us/HT207428.