Steps for Organizing Print Photos


Getting started is always the hardest part of this project! A lifetime of photos can be a little overwhelming! But it doesn’t have to be. Take a look at these six steps for getting it done.


Step One – Set a goal! What is your vision?

Do you want to organize the print photos so you can highlight family memories in a yearbook, a wedding video, a birthday party the list is endless….Will you be sharing the photos digitally to other family members..wil you make them available on-line so they can have access to any photos they might want for their use?


Step 2 – Gather all the photos together

Look for boxes, bins, paper sleeves, baggies albums, negative, prints, slides video, framed photos and any other places you might find the photos. Ideally, you should have a place to stack piles of photos. But, you can work in small batches…


Step 3 – Sort – Edit – discard duplicates

Make like piles by category chronologically and by subject or person such as mom, dad and children. Common categories include:

  • Family

  • Vacation

  • Sports

  • Events

  • Work

  • Holiday

  • Heritage

Quick Tip: when making piles place an index card with the title of the category above the pile so when sorting you can remember the category.


Step 4 – Eliminating

Consider eliminating photos with scenery, tourist sites that are random without people, or keep only a very few of the trip, try to keep only 20%


Step 5 – Scanning to preserve

Once the photos are categorized then start scanning them to preserve them.


Step 6 – Back-up

Print photos are a good backup, but be sure you store them in archival safe boxes. I also recommend you make a copy of your scanned photos to an external hard-drive as another security step.

You should have your back up stored in three places. Your home is susceptible to fire, weather and pipe leakage that could damage photos stored at home. Be mindful that the phone is not safe as the only source of back-up, you could lose the phone, the memory etc


Be sure to research any cloud storage before you accept placing your photos there. Some have limits with storage, with downloading to print and ownership of the photos.


Bonus tip!

Mollie Bartelt, has a good book “A Simple Guide to Saving Your Family Photos” The Association of Personal Photo Organizers,” of which I am a member, is a great resource for preserving photos.


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