How to Organize Digital Photos

Last Updated: March 7, 2019

It’s all too easy to take photos these days. With a quick swipe and a few taps on your smartphone you’ve created an entire photo gallery. That speediness results in quantity over quality. 

If you find yourself with a device full of forgotten photos, and a “Storage full” warning message, check out our top tips for how to organize digital photos and declutter your camera roll.

1. Create One Photo Hub

The first step to organizing your photos: figure out what you’re working with. Collect all the devices where you have digital photo storage. Smartphones, computers, laptops, digital cameras, memory cards – you name it. Transfer all of your photos to one central location – most likely a home computer.

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2. Organize & Label Your Photos

To organize your digital photo library, sort all photos into folders by year, then by month or season. Come up with a label convention and use it consistently to create sub-folders within for special occasions, locations, or types of images. Organizing photos into properly labeled folders will make life way easier when you’re looking for a specific photo to print, share or send.

2019-Jan > Family Snowboarding Day
2018-June > Kids + Baxter on the Beach

TIP: You know all those “reminder” photos that you take? Screenshots of addresses or directions, and snaps of receipts or notes? Delete any you don’t need anymore. Drop the rest into a “Reminders” folder for the month – just in case.

3. Delete, Delete, Delete

Photo hoarding is a tough habit to break. Start with the easy stuff: once the photos are transferred to the central hub, clear out the originals from the devices. Let your memory cards breathe a sigh of relief.

Now it’s time for some critical selection. Chances are, you’ll find that only about 30% of your digital photos are worth holding onto. Question yourself:

  • Is it in focus? Are peoples’ eyes open? Is it framed well?
  • Is it a duplicate – or do I have another picture that better represents that moment?
  • Would I ever print this picture?

Only keep the best photos from any batch. When you’ve narrowed it down, be sure to back-up your photo library with an external hard drive or take advantage of the unlimited photo storage online in your Costco Photo Centre account.Organize your photos, create annual photo books CA4

4. Print Your Best Moments

What’s the point of taking great photos if you never look at them again? As you sift through years of photos, the ones you love are worthy of photo printing.

For a stunning addition to your coffee table, sum up each year with an annual photo book of your best shots. Or, stay organized year round by creating a custom calendar, selecting one great seasonal photo for each month. You choose the starting month, so you can order any time.

5. Change Your Mindset

Now that you’ve seen all the work that goes into organizing a photo collection, perhaps you’ll change your photo-taking habits for the future. Don’t just tap the shutter because you can. If you pause and make small adjustments to improve the lighting, the angle, the backdrop – you’ll spend less time deleting your photos, and more time appreciating them.