Memory keeping is not something that just happens. I think it is even more difficult today with all the technology we have. I regularly upload photos from 2 different cameras (point & shoot + dslr) as well as from my phone. Oh, and my daughter takes a bunch of photos on her phone too. And then there’s our facebook feeds, instagram postings, emails we send and receive, blog posts written, and so on….. – there’s a lot more to keep track of these days! We’ve never had so many ways to document our lives and I love that! It can all pile up on you though if you don’t keep up with a few simple tasks. I’ve streamlined these steps over the years and I’ve found some ways to make it all a bit easier.
For most people, it’s not very practical to be editing and uploading pictures every day. I use my roundup tool as a prompt to tell myself that this needs to be done at least once a month. It doesn’t matter what day of the month you use for a reminder, just make sure you tackle this step before you lose track of all those digital files. Here are the steps I take:
- Upload all digital pictures to my hard drive and clear off memory cards in my cameras. I like to batch import mine into Lightroom and apply tags, descriptions, and run Matt’s free preset on all my photos (Auto Preset for Portraits – even if they aren’t portraits because it doesn’t overdo it on the editing). If any of them need further tweaking, I can adjust the settings for that individual photo. I’m generally happy with the results I get and my photos are nice and pretty and ready to share. My digi friend Peppermint has a similar approach using one of Lightroom’s installed presets. She has a very helpful video tutorial on her site to explain how to import photos this way.
- File all photos for the month in a computer folder labeled with the month and year. I have a folder for every year of my life and in each folder is a sub-folder for each month of the year. Actually, only the digital photos are that organized because my computer can read the dates from the files. My pre-digital photos are still sort of a “hot mess” but most of them are at least filed in the correct year. If you label and tag your photos your photos as you import them, you will save yourself a lot of headaches down the road and it will be easy to file them for later use. You will feel so organized!
- Backup all new photos from the month on my external hard drive and also upload them all to Flickr. You can use any offsite photo storage site, but make sure you will be able to access the full size resolution of your photos. In my opinion (and after years of research), I’m convinced that Flickr is the very best option out there for photo storage. I usually do these back up steps every time I process photos and that’s the ideal method. It’s just become part of my workflow. If you’ve lapsed on this, here’s a good reminder to get these photos backed up in at least two places so you don’t lose any precious files!
- I’m a digital scrapbooker so I have a lot of files to unzip, organize, and file each month. Even traditional and hybrid scrappers will probably have quite a few computer files to manage as well with pdf classes and printables, photo actions, and downloadable goodies. Now’s the time to get all those files moved out of your downloads folder (or off of your desktop – shudder!) and into your organizational system. This is how I organize all my supplies. Here’s a link to the organization section on The Daily Digi where you will find a lot of helpful advice on this topic.
- All of my files and supplies are backed up to 2 different external hard drives. I no longer use DVDs because I have such a large collection of “stuff”. I also just started using an online backup service. I signed up for an unlimited yousendit account where I can upload zipped files for permanent storage. I upload a lot of my word and pdf documents to Google docs so I can access them from anywhere. I have an iPad so I also like to load some of my downloadable class pdf files into iBooks so I can learn on the go. I’m especially excited that the Digi Game Playbook comes in an iBook format as well now since this is one of my most used scrapbooking idea tools!
- Backup my blog. It's easy to do if you have one, just use Typepad backup or blogger backup. Some bloggers just copy and paste everything into a word file. I’ve really slacked in this area over the last year.
- Pick an area of focus. There are bigger projects I want to complete so I need to do a little more some months if I’m going to get those done. This year I’m focusing on organizing pictures from the past. This includes digital and traditional photos (many have been scanned). It’s a huge project! I just keep chipping away at it though and it’s starting to make a difference. I want to have an organized photo library for myself and to pass on to my kids and other family members. It’s an important goal for me. Find a memory keeping goal that is meaningful for you and make a commitment to work on it as part of your regular routine.
Do you use any of these tips for your own organization? Do you have any others that have helped you manage the memories of everyday life? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.