Day 1: Organize Your Digital Photos in just 15 Minutes in 15 Days in 2015 (#15in15in2015)

Happy birthday to me! No seriously, today is my anniversary of another batch of birthday-cake photo opps! I thought it’d be fun date to kick off my new PhotoOrganizingPro blog & my new mini series (#15in15in2015). Another reason to eat cake & say cheers with a raised glass, right?

my1stbday-eatcake-1973
My 1st birthday cake photo opp! I look pretty mesmerized by the candle. Imagine how much I’d stare at all the light from 43 candles?!

Truth be told, the timing is also tied to January’s ambitious New Year’s resolutions & National Get Organized Month. Although I delayed it near the very end, after your overly ambitious rose-colored glasses view of other resolutions has been dimmed by reality & you’ve already skipped some days at the gym, yelled at the kids & ordered take-out instead of using your crockpot once a week.

Because what I’m proposing may only start with 15 minutes over 15 days to organize your digital photos, but managing your digital life is a LIFELONG HABIT! Before you roll your eyes & think you’ve accidentally landed on another “eat kale daily” smoothie blog, I’ll drop the preaching & get into the good stuff. But I’m not kidding that you’ll have to do a little upkeep on a regular basis…otherwise you’ll need to do my #15in15in2015 program a couple times this year. You over-achiever, you.

Despite the fact that today is MY birthday, I’m not just letting you all eat cake & do nothing hard. That comes at the END of the 15 days — yes, by Valentine’s Day you are enjoying the sweet taste of success knowing your JPGs are in order!

Imagine celebrating with your favorite splurge chocolate treats without a second thought of guilt because all your photos are finally off your phones and cameras at long last, and actually sorted into organized, labeled folders that are even backed up. Shut the front door. And pass me the sea salt & caramel seahorse-shaped Godiva please.

background-21751_1920
Come Valentine’s Day, I give you permission to enjoy all the chocolate you can eat as a reward for getting your digital photos organized!

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

MAKE SPACE. While this may seem like a common-sense point, I’m stating the obvious for those of you who did not have it dawn on them earlier. If your hard drive is maxxed out already, you are at greater risk for drive failure, and probably insanity from working on a slower, overloaded machine.

Analyze the available space on your main/primary computer’s hard drive. You’ll need enough room to put (hopefully ALL?) your photos on it first to use as your workspace for organizing and sorting. Then you can safely (& thoroughly) archive them and then confidently delete the files to reclaim more room. Before you start this process, you can take a FEW QUICK minutes to delete files you KNOW you don’t need. Don’t spend hours on it. Or search out hidden files to delete. In fact, if you aren’t 100% sure, DON’T delete! It’s easiest to pull off large videos/movie files and music onto flash drives as a backup or at least a teflash-drive-40301_1280mporary move for the next two weeks as we work through the photo organizing and archiving process.

storage-24914_1280If you absolutely cannot free up enough space on your computer’s hard drive, I recommend using an external hard drive (EHD) for this process. You can buy/find one large enough to hold your entire collection for a rather economical price. You’ll have to make a few adjustments to my steps along the way but you should be just fine. And you’ll already have an external backup done. Well, sort of.

DIGITAL = NO PHYSICAL CLUTTER
But you know one really awesome benefit of being in a DIGITAL organizing class instead of one dealing with physical print photos? This digital one doesn’t take up ANY extra space outside of your usual existence! Technically, it’s just a bunch of 1s and 0s on your computer’s hard drive, although you mostly see a long list of nonsense filenames like P1057247742.JPG and IMG_8396.JPG and DSCF2705.JPG.

No need to unearth boxes and totes from the basement, attic, garage and Aunt Edna’s house to take up tons of space in your home office or spare bedroom. No need to spread them out all over the kitchen table so you can’t feed the family until you’re done sorting. Or feeling frustrated or rushed when you have to shove them all back in the box in a hurry just to make a meal or do homework. No mess. No rushing. No clutter. No chaos. No upset family members or spouses (at least over the photo organizing mess or clutter anyway!).

photo-256887_1920
None of this mess for you! We’re only dealing with digital! So if you’ve already scanned your old print photographs, fabulous! Then we can sort & organize them right along with your newer digital snapshots. If not, stay tuned to this blog for future assistance on dealing with prints. Or contact me ASAP for a scanning & sorting quote.

So enjoy the ease of working with digital files vs. print photographs in this way. Does it have disadvantages? Sure, but we’re not going to discuss them because I’m only asking for you to give me 15 minutes for 15 days and I have a no whining policy.

After all, anyone can handle doing something slightly uncomfortable for a 15-minute stretch, right? And it’s only 15 days in a row! Could you keep going after that? Knock yourself out. I may even throw in a couple bonus days at the end, but this isn’t a year-long ordeal or anything. Not even a 30-day commitment. So cowboy up, folks. You can deal.

WHY TAKE PICS?
First let’s touch on why we take photos. Duh, because we don’t want to forget the moments, right? I’d also say because we can. Today, almost every one of us owns a high-end digital camera thanks to our smartphone, except for those few folks with flip phones. (I mean, really, people, why bother?!) Most families also have at least one point-and-shoot pocket camera, if not a fancy-pants DSLR too.

That wasn’t the case “back in the day.” Anyone remember film? With limits of 24 exposures? For you youngsters, it’s why your iPhone stores your pictures in a Camera ROLL, because film from the olden days came rolled in a small canister. Seriously. Google it. And I won’t get into the woes of the world not printing any digital photos but you know it’s a fact. Can you hold up to the screen the last 4×6 you printed? Yeah, I don’t see anything. Point made.

smartphone-597263_1920

These days we’re seeing trends that the “real” camera is often left at home (or even in the closet), leaving our ever-present smartphones to capture our regular daily life & often our major milestone moments as well. After all, we usually have it with us ALL the time — even in the bathroom, which can be a bad thing, and that leads me to my next point.

WHY SAVE PICS?
Why on earth do we need to bother with backing up digital photos? Because, heaven forbid, what if the worst happens?!? Remember the bathroom where we usually bring our phones? In that instant moment of regret with the “pants pulldown backpocket kerplunk” or any other number of digital disasters awaiting our JPGs, such as accidental deletion by the toddler you’re trying to entertain the backseat/church/checkout line (or really anywhere). Or the devices we’ve lost or “left behind” at the park/bar/Walmart (depending on your stage in life).

man-475557_1920Whether it goes for a swim, takes a dunk, gets splashed, or just goes dead into brick mode for no apparent reason when updating, sometimes the tech geeks at the cell phone store can save your digital butt IF you were being backed up by accident (Hallelujah for Big Brother!). Otherwise you’ve now become “A Statistic,” a sob story, and have learned a hard lesson learned about archiving, a.k.a. backing up your butt, formerly called CYA (Google it if you must).

DAY 1: 1/30/15: 15 MINUTES!
Set your phone’s timer or stopwatch for 15 minutes & ready, set, race! Run like a mad woman (or man) all over the house to GATHER ALL (yes, I mean ALL) digital photos! In whatever way they exist. Yes, I mean allstopwatch-25763_1280. Even the ones from 5 (or more) years ago.

Start with the Cs — every computer, camera, & card (memory). Don’t forget the cables & cords for all those. Now we need the Ds — drives (flash/USB/external) & discs (CD/DVD), even those blank ones you’re not sure about. Last but not least, get the Ps — phones, (i)pads, phablets (or tablets, I just had to be phunny). (I realize that some family members may require a bribe or be asleep before giving up their device for a download session so you might have to schedule your workflow accordingly.)

macbook-577758_1920

HIDDEN HOARDING
Now you see the task before you. Well, technically you can’t SEE the problem because one of the benefits/challenges of digital hoarding is that it’s hidden! We can’t look at our neighbors and “see” if they have a digital photo-hoarding problem. Although chances are quite good that they most definitely do!

Because it’s essentially invisible, we can hide it from others and we can even hide it from ourselves for the most part. Buying flash drives in bulk and stocking up on external hard drives because ours always get full are the only signs of a possible problem.

GUILT-FEAR-REGRET
Don’t even get me started on the crushing feeling of guilt we have for not doing “something” — anything! — with our zillion JPGs! Or the FEAR we have that “something” BAD is going to happen to them before we ever get around to backing them up the way we know we should but never seem to do anyway.

We live on the edge of regret praying we never have that sad tale to share while playing Russian Roulette with our own children’s precious childhood memories and family heritage, knowing that we’re one accidental click, coffee spill, lightning strike, flood, tornado, fire, theft, or [insert other calamity here] away from vaporizing our valuable memories.man-65049_1920

Whew, anyone sweating yet? Heart palpitations? If not, you’re totally UNDER-estimating the seriousness of this situation. I’ve talked to so many mothers who’ve lost their child’s photos and there isn’t anything that can “fix” that. No do overs there. Well, unless you’re these guys but they had the originals for reference.

I-INVENTORY
While you have all this tech hardware handy, take a piece of paper (yes, paper or stone tablet if you want it to last longer) & write down an inventory of these devices just so you know what you have & what you need to check for photos on a consistent basis in the future. (See, I warned you I’d talk about doing this in the future!)

JPGS ON A PC (OR MAC)
On your main computer, locate the PICTURES or MY PICTURES folder. Whether you have a Mac or PC, it’s likely to have one of these already. It’s a good idea to use this file-157955_1280default location as it’s a common sense spot, aptly named & well, there isn’t really a good reason NOT to!

DOWNLOAD/DUMP/TRANSFER
Whatever you want to call it, we can’t do much until you get this step done. Plug in the cable or the memory card to let the computer read the device so you can find the photos and copy/transfer them ALL to the main hard drive. Don’t take the time to judge now. Just dump them into that main PICTURES/PHOTOS folder.

Using your Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Windows), if you search/sort by JPG filetype or name, you’ll likely find all you need. Granted you might end up with a few strange extras from software programs too, but at least you’ll get all of yours. If you find various folders of all kinds of names and labels elsewhere on your hard drive, just throw them all into the PICTURES folder too. Make sure EVERYTHING resides in the same main location. We can rename folders later; it might save you some time if they are already sorted and grouped by topic. A girl can dream can’t she?

keyboard-338505_1920

attention-303861_1280WHOA WARNING!
DO NOT DUPLICATE the ones already on your hard drive! Just MOVE them into the right spot. You are COPYING the image files from the camera memory cards, phones, flash drives and such onto the main computer hard drive. These will stay on the original device until you choose to delete them. You can do this right afterward if you are confident that your files are already protected in AT LEAST TWO DIFFERENT ways (type/location), which is doubtful unless you’re already a semi-pro at this stuff. Otherwise, you should wait until I advise you to do this later in the series. Once they’ve been sorted and organized, you’ll WANT to delete the other originals as they will only mess you up if you download/transfer them again.

FOLDER FUN
Inside the main PHOTOS folder, create a New Folder named 2015. If you already have any photos taken during January 2015 on your computer, please drag (move) them into here. DO NOT COPY THEM! You don’t want to end up with twice the trouble & half the hard-drive room! Highlight the batch & right-click (or click & drag) to move/send them to this new folder.

pictures-145961_1280

Isn’t it convenient that I timed this so that most of your first month’s photos are already shot and ready to be downloaded into the 2015 folder? I’m sneaky smart like that. Now you’ll maybe have just a few more photos from today (30th) and tomorrow (31st) to transfer in and you’ll be ready to pull all these into their own January folder inside the 2015 folder.

However, this is all we’re going to attempt for Day 1! Although I assume a few of you might guess tomorrow’s task & try to jump ahead by making a “January” folder. But I’ll bet 95% of you will do it wrong. Trust me. You can wait until I show you the very best way. Relax and know you’ve accomplished enough for your first session & have begun the hardest part of any major task — the first step — starting! You’ve overcome the hugest hurdle of inertia!

In summary, your DAY 1 DUTIES:

  1. ROUND-UP ALL PHOTO-TAKING & -HOLDING DEVICES
    TO MAKE A HIGH-TECH HOME BASE FOR YOUR DIGITAL LIFE.
  2. LOCATE THE MAIN “PHOTOS” FOLDER
    ON YOUR PRIMARY COMPUTER’S HARD DRIVE.
  3. DO A DIGITAL DUMP OF JPGS FROM ALL DEVICES INTO IT
    & MOVE ALL OTHER IMAGES INTO IT AS WELL.
    BONUS: IF YOU STILL HAVE A FEW MINUTES OR ARE FEELING AMBITIOUS,
    MAKE A NEW “2015” FOLDER & MOVE ALL JANUARY PICS INTO IT.

TALKING TIME LIMITS
clock-452552_1920Obviously, I said you should spend 15 minutes at this task but without knowing how many photos you have — or how many devices, or even how slow your computer might be at transferring them, I’m not 100% sure if this will take a few minutes or a few hours for you. If it’s the latter, let it work and go do other things knowing this is definitely a long overdue task for you.

SAY A PRAYER
No clue if you’re a religious person and this isn’t really meant to be a faith-based point but if you just put ALL your photos on your computer — all your eggs in one basket — it probably goes without saying to be extremely careful and kind to your computer. Don’t do any updates/upgrades to software or systems right now. Don’t decide to take the laptop to the beach or work poolside. Don’t drink coffee (or any liquid) next to it — at all — for any reason! Don’t let the kids download new games or play on it. Take every precaution possible until we’ve organized your photos and then safely archived them using at least two methods besides this hard drive. And let this sentence release me from all legal liability should anything happen to you unlucky folks. Til tomorrow…photos-315170_1280

© Brenda Kruse and PhotoOrganizingPro.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brenda Kruse and PhotoOrganizingPro.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

4 thoughts on “Day 1: Organize Your Digital Photos in just 15 Minutes in 15 Days in 2015 (#15in15in2015)

  1. I see you don’t monetize your blog, don’t waste your
    traffic, you can earn extra cash every month because you’ve got
    high quality content. If you want to know how to make extra $$$,
    search for: Mertiso’s tips best adsense alternative

    Like

  2. I have noticed you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic,
    you can earn additional bucks every month. You can use the best adsense alternative for any type of website
    (they approve all websites), for more details simply
    search in gooogle: boorfe’s tips monetize your website

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s