Photo Organizing Tips for Parents

The trouble with so many family photos is that they look canned. You want these images to reflect you, your family and how you live. If you're not an avid outdoorsy family no need trucking it all the way to the Rockies to grab a shot. For more authentic snaps, choose a destination your family frequents often. Perhaps it's Westside Rec Centre, your favourite restaurant or an iconic community structure like Garrison Square. In a pinch, the local park or even alleys (think downtown with all that brickwork) provide an interesting backdrop. Just don't pose on any railway tracks. Not only is this dangerous, it's a ticketable offense!


Capturing family photos with digital cameras, smartphones and other electronic devices generates an overwhelming number of images to keep organized. Your first step to getting and keeping them all organized is to think about why you take family photographs. Do you like to share photos with family and friends online? Archive your family history into photo books? Create framed gifts? The approach to organizing, storing and retrieval of photos is influenced by how they are used. A photo book uses a selection of images that tell a story of an event, family vacation or a theme. If you print and frame photos you may be looking for one special moment that captures the heart. Based on your family priorities, you may wish to digitize film negatives for new uses in photo books or to share online.

Start Fresh
Develop a photo organization system that works for your family’€™s needs, and then start today with a new system. Use a cold or rainy day to integrate your archive of images into your new routine. If the backlog is too overwhelming consider the value of professional services to get caught up.

Automate your system
With kids every day is busy, so it’€™s not always easy to get images off of cameras and devices.

  • Confirm that your camera’€™s date is set correctly, to help with sorting photos chronologically. If your camera does not have a date feature, take an extra photo with the name of the event or date (like an invitation or poster) to help identify images later.
  • Centralize your digital photo location for ease of use and accessibility; download images from all devices to one computer and then copy to your alternate back-up storage.
  • Consider investing in a Wi-Fi camera or wireless memory card to automate downloading images to your main computer. Alternatively, schedule reoccurring appointments on your calendar to alert a camera download session.
  • In your computer create a folder for each event, including the date and description for search ability. Label digital files based on what makes sense for your memory’€”what comes to mind first’€”group by theme, event or individual.
  • Plan ahead. Create a series of folders for each recurring family event or person that may be photographed throughout the year, and quickly copy photos into the appropriate year as you go.
  • If you use photo software for organizing images take advantage of features such as keyword tagging to make images more searchable (ex. for individuals, places, events)
  • Write down the steps for your new photo organization system. Include guidelines for naming folders and files. Post it next to the computer for easy reference. The checklist will help multiple family members communicate, so critical steps in the process aren’€™t missed, like accidental deletions! Guidelines add security too, making sure images get backed up and memory cards are refreshed and ready for the next special moment.

Curate your family story
It is useful to edit as you shoot, those obvious blurry, eyes-closed and duplicate photos. A great way to edit is to view all the images from a series or event and select your favourites. View the photos as a group, instead of looking at each one individually for a delete, and look for the gems that stand out. Keep the photos that best represent the moments you captured and touch your heart. Let go of the rest’€”one picture can tell a thousand words!

Honour your family photos by sharing and preserving your precious moments together. There are many ways to get photos off hard-drives and out of the cloud:

  • Digital picture frames’€”connect your latest memory card for an easy slideshow of favourite moments.
  • Get creative with a family photo wall in your home.
  • Try using an online service to print photos’€”save time by uploading selections from your computer at home and having prints delivered’€”no driving, parking or car seats necessary! Organizing photos should be as enjoyable as taking the photos.’€”


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