In today's digital world of photography, it's now easier than it ever has been to take a lot of photos and share our memories instantly with others.
We post them to social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, email them, edit them, add filters and special effects to them, create photo books, send them out as postcards and more.
It isn't as easy to organize the photos we snap away using smartphones and other cameras. Today, we're overwhelmed by the sheer number of photos that we can take at any single event; both good and bad ones eat up memory on our devices and crowd out other important documents.
So, in 2013, let's resolve together to organize these thousands of photos in order to preserve them for the future and to de-clutter our computer hard drives. Many of us treasure the handful of grainy black and white photos of our ancestors that have survived generations.
So this new year, set aside the time needed to get your digital life under control so our grown children will be able to see what they looked like as kids, before the current technology is obsolete. Start by backing up photos to a DVD or an external hard drive, trashing the bad ones, printing the good ones and organizing them all by events or dates.
“That's a time management thing. You just need to set a time during the day when you're not going to have any other responsibilities,” said Eric Williams, general manager of Bedford Camera & Video in Oklahoma City, formerly known as Epperson Photo-Video.
More importantly, get them off your hard drive, even if you put them on a DVD. A tangible photo or album has more value, he said.
Here are some suggestions for organizing photos in 2013:
Delete photos that don't have much value to you or the ones with blurry children and other problems, Williams noted.
Go to a photo-printing website or service and upload photos to order a DVD of your latest prints. Like other companies, Bedford in Oklahoma City offers this service, and within an hour or so, you can pick up the DVD, he said. If you have square prints, Instagram-style, that you need printed in an hour, check out a new free iPad/iPhone application, Printicular. The app will let you upload square photos from your camera roll or from Instagram itself directly to any Walgreens, where you can go pick up your 4 X 4-inch prints.
To help you, use a good software program that makes organizing photos easy. Williams recommends iPhoto as his favorite, noting that the program can sort the photos by date or event and allow for some basic editing. (iPhoto is for Macs only, though; a free program that works on PCs is Google's Picasa, but there are others.)
Check out your favorite photo websites for other things you can do with your photos, whether you want to put them on magnets, coffee mugs or cutting boards, create calendars or simply order prints.
Find a place that lets you get even more creative: Aluminyze.com puts your photos on metal sheets, or you can order a quick photo book of 20 prints using the Mosaic by Mixbook app on your iPhone (heymosaic.com).
You can also order cards, canvases and prints of Instagram photos at http://instacanv.as.