Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tutorial of the Week

It's the new year & many of us find our thoughts turning to organization, especially if you didn't reach the goals set last year that would get your life organized. Not that I'd know anything about that ... say where did that huge pile of receipts under the desk needing to be shredded come from?

One part of your life that you may not think about re-organizing are your photo files but trust me, it can come in handy to take a look back at all your files & do a little sorting. After all in the age of digital cameras we take more pictures & videos than ever before, filling up our hard drives to capacity. Sure you can get a bigger hard drive but when you're trying to find a picture quickly organization is key.

As with my tutorial a few months ago about organizing your scrapping stash, these are just things that I have found useful. The Stephanie MethodTM is not for everyone but if you discover something useful from my ramblings, then I've done my job! This is going to be a multi-part tutorial as it'll be about three miles long if I didn't break it up. To start out we're going to talk about getting photos sorted, then next week about how to get those 1,500 pictures you took one month down to a more reasonable number [yes, I have taken that many in a month darn that rapid fire feature!], then how to rename the files to finish off the process.

To start off, find an sorting method that fits you best. You could sort by events like holidays, vacations, etc or just by date. Whatever sorting method you chose make sure that you like it & you stay consistent as you get everything sorted; after all, if you change your method half way through it'll just make your life more frustrating & we're trying to lessen the frustration. I like to sort photos by year rather than event, it fits my way of thinking better. This is what my Picture folder looks like, as you can guess the year 2000 is when we got a digital camera so the years before 2000 are grouped by decade & after 2000 are grouped by year.

If we go into my folder for the years 1940-1949 you'll see how I organize the older photos. Each photo is labeled with the year [& month/day if known] along with who's in the picture & where it was taken.

Labeling pictures this way does make for some long file names which can make your computer grumpy. An alternate way of labeling the pictures would be to assign each photo a unique code & then keep a separate document where you list all the important details. Another way is to right-click on the photo & in the window that pops up you can put all the information you'd like in the comments section. That's my Papa on his & Grandma's honeymoon, wasn't he handsome?

These methods will help not only you remember who's in all those pictures but are a great way to not lose your family history for future generations. I can't tell you how many old pictures are at my parents house that we have no idea who the people are, it's quite frustrating!

Taking a look in my 2011 folder, you can see how I sort things out for more recent pictures. When I download pictures off my camera or phone, I dump them into a folder for the month they were taken. I also put all the pictures I get from grandparents & other people in the correct month's folder; if I've got a bunch of pictures from several months at once & I don't have time to sort, I drop them into the Misc folder until I've got time for sorting.

Next week we'll cover how to sort through all those pictures to get rid of the duds, it'll take some work but it's worth it!

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