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Memory keeper: how to organize your family's photo

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

In this day and age, we take so many pictures. Armed with our cell phones with top of the line cameras, it's much easier to document everyday life with photos and videos. New technologies also offer us a chance to use high quality cameras for a fraction of the price and size with amazing results. Point and shoots, DSLRs, Mirrorless, Sports; the choices are endless!

In 1947, Architect Mies even der Rohe coined the saying Less is more, in reference to the strength of minimalist design. The same can be applied to photography: through an abundance of family photos, true jewels often get lost.

Here is a look at how I organize family photos taken on my DSLRs:


The key to successfully organizing your photos is maintaining good habits.

Throughout the week, I often pick up my camera; sometimes to capture a few unexpected moments here and there or for a whole day when we are out and about. No matter the number of photos I take, I always make sure to upload them onto the computer before I go to bed. I'm always curious to see what I captured, but also, I don't like having them sitting on my SD card. It feels like clutter! I feel more at ease knowing they are saved on the computer (our puppy may or may not have eaten one of my cards in the past!;).

How do I organize my photos?

I start by creating a Personal Photo folder for the year with 12 monthly subfolders. When doing a new upload, I add a new folder in the correct month by date.


Now that I've got all my photos on my computer in the correct folders, it's time to start to go through them and decide. It's always hard to get rid of photos of our family, but it's important to look at removing as a useful exercise. If you have 50 almost identical photos, you won't be able to appreciate the truly special ones!

I accomplish this task in the 4 following steps:

1. To start, I focus on the obvious "missed shots", these are the ones with: soft focus, closed eyes and that are majorly over or under exposed. To remove efficiently, I use two types of software: Photo Mechanic when viewing a large quantity of images and Adobe Lightroom when only dealing with a few.

2. I then go through the remaining photos slowly, rating them with stars. This system allows me to notice the shots that have weaker compositions and that are less emotive. Once these are removed, I'm done for now. I put the gallery away for a day or two. My objective is to be able to look at the remaining photos with fresh eyes so that I don't make any snap judgments.

3. I start to lightly edit the remaining photos in Adobe Lightroom. Something as simple as a different crop can completely change an image. Through this process, the strongest images become obvious. I export my final edits into a folder called FINAL HIGH RES.

4. If additional edits are required, I open these files into Adobe Photoshop but save the new edited files under a different name.

Following these 4 steps, I usually end up with only 1/3 of the photos I originally started with.


Throughout the year, I print photos here and there to update frames around the house. I generally focus on printing when December comes around; it's time to pick the best photos of the year to make calendars for the grandparents, as well as fridge magnets for gifts. I go through the monthly folders and copy my favourites into folders called "Best of". This exercise helps me narrow things down for the big January event: printing our yearly photo album.


Organizing your family's photos takes hours and is a lot of work. It's also completely worth it! Slowly but surely, you will find your footing and the process will be easier. There's nothing like looking back at those photobooks and remembering past adventures. You are your family's archivist, a one of a kind Memory Keeper.

I'm here to help! Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Have fun!

I hope you found these tips helpful!

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