14 January 2012

Organising photographs

I can't help it, it's another organising post! One that's been requested: how I organise my photographs. I've broken it into two parts: physical prints and digital files.

Physical prints

I never get prints made nowadays, and haven't for years - I'll explain why later in this post. But in the past, the first thing I would do when I received prints was write the date and names of the people in the prints (and sometimes the place) on the back. (I know there are special pens for this purpose but I always just used a ballpoint pen, being sure to only press lightly.) I do this because if a photo ever comes loose and falls out of an album at least my descendants will know who is in it and when it was taken.

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In case you wanted to see the other side of the above print, here it is - awwww!

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The photos would then go into albums immediately. My photo albums are all in thick plastic-coated ring binders (from Amazon - here is a link to them) and they live on the Expedit bookcases behind our couch.

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These are some of the boys' scrapbooks - every photo of Daniel from his first 4 years (almost completed), and every photo from Noah's first year (almost completed).

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These are our general photo albums. Some hold multiple years, some only one, depending on how many pictures I took that year:

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I used to scrapbook every photo so when I received the prints I'd slip them into the plastic page protectors of my (ring bound) scrapbooks, planning layouts so I didn't accidentally end up doing a double-page spread, single-page spread, then double-page spread. Oops, what would become of the extra single page? Planning out the scrapbook prevented this from happening.

Here are some pictures awaiting scrapbooking and only because I want to finish Noah's first year scrapbook. (Why yes, he is turning 7 in March, why do you ask?)

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Some of the photos in our general albums are scrapbooked:

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When I stopped scrapbooking a few years ago and switched to just sticking the photos onto neutral cardstock in the same albums. I use regular glue stick (it's luckily acid-free and doesn't damage the photos).

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Some have the date stamped in the corner of the page:

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Others have it hand-written:

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Aww, look at Daniel!

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Some pages have short descriptions included with the photos. These pictures were taken after I sold my first business (an online scrapbooking products store) - this is all of the remaining stock, in our car, on its way to the new owner.

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The beauty of this system is that if I ever do want to scrapbook the photographs I can pull them out, create a layout with them and slip them back into the same slot in the album.

Here is an instance where I have a scrapbooked layout next to plain photos on cardstock.

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I could really have become hung up on creating the "perfect" photo albums, choosing matching cardstock throughout, consistently typing captions, etc. I could have let this perfectionism paralyse me ... and my pictures would still be sitting in a box.

Remember the quote, "Perfection is the enemy of completion." You know what? My albums aren't perfect ... but I am okay with that. Because they do exactly what they are supposed to do: showcase our memories in a way that is accessible. They may not be perfect, but they are done.

Okay, I mentioned above that I no longer get photograph prints made. It's because I have switched to Blurb books and I couldn't be happier!

The software is free and easy to use. You build your book offline using their templates and when it is ready you upload and order. I build our photo book throughout each year and when the year is done I order it. Done and dusted!

You can see them on the bottom right hand corner of our bookcase:

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Isn't that awesome? I have the entire story of our house-before-last (more details here) as well as five years' worth of photos in such a small storage space. Each book is 8x10 inches.

Here are the books laid out on the floor. Doing these books also forces me to take a family photo each year, for the cover:

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There are tons of templates to choose from for the pages, then you just drag in your photos. You can create pages with as many or as few photos as you need, and type in the date and descriptions.

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You can also include text-only pages:

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Or multiple pictures and no text:

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On the left-hand page here I wanted to record an anecdote about Noah (he had asked me what the crunchy bits in peanut butter were and when I asked him what he thought they were he said, "Metal?") so I took a photo to go with it:

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Each year I also create a slideshow, put it onto DVD, create a matching sticker for it and put it in an adhesive DVD pouch inside the front cover. I include a little sticker in the corner reminding me which song I chose for that year's slideshow. (Click here for the 2011 slideshow.)

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Ordering these books actually works out cheaper than ordering all of the pictures as prints and then putting them into albums, and saves me tons of time. They also take up a lot less storage space and are easier to handle. Love them. I haven't ordered my 2011 book yet but it's epic - literally twice the size as previous years! Last year was a big year. So our book ended up being 417 pages long (they only make them up to 440 pages long) and is the most expensive available (the prices vary depending on how many pages you have). I still think it's a bargain at NZ$145 including shipping (that's around US$115 / £75 / R925). Now I just need to earn some money so I can order it! If you click here you can get 15% off your own Blurb book - bargain!

Digital files

So the Blurb books takes me nicely to talking about digital files. As you have noticed from the ones I share on my blog, I take thousands of pictures a year (2,192 last year, to be exact). I need to be organised with them and this is how I do it.

Firstly, I download them from my camera frequently - within a day or two of taking them. I edit each one and save them onto my hard drive. By doing so, I don't run the risk of losing them if my camera card goes corrupt or I lose my camera, they are available for backup, I can blog them, and I can start building my Blurb book so it's not one huge task at the end of the year.

The most important of the above reasons is they are available for backup.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BACK YOUR PHOTOS UP!!!

Sorry, was I shouting? I feel kind of strongly about it. I'd hate for you to lose records of precious memories if your computer crashes. And yes, it can happen to anyone. Even you.

Grant frequently backs up our hard drives onto an external hard drive.

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I also write the image files to DVD. Here's an old one.

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And I store them online. I still need to find an inexpensive and reliable online backup facility, so in the meantime I store them with Photobox, the company I used to order photo prints from in the UK. Every time you placed an order with them you got extra storage space.

EDIT: Thanks for the suggestions - we are currently on a capped bandwidth ISP so we have purchased a second hard drive which Grant keeps in his locker at work rather than backing up online.

Okay, that's enough about backing up photo files. (BACK UP YOUR PHOTO FILES!) Sorry, okay, now I'm done.

As mentioned above, I open, edit and save every single photo I take (I shoot in RAW). Here is how I save them. EDIT: I've been asked if I keep my RAW files - no I don't. I only keep the edited jpegs.

On our computer we have a folder called "My Pictures".

Inside that folder I have more folders - one for each year and some extras (the "Documents" one contains scans of our passports etc, "New from cam" is a folder where I can just drag in pictures from my camera with the intention of editing them later, "Slideshow files" contains templates for our yearly slideshows).

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Inside each year are folders for each month, and one for the slideshow files.

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Each photo file is labeled with the date in reverse order (YYYY MM DD) and a brief description and a number (01, 02, 03, etc).

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Here's how September's file looks:

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This was October:

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Doing the date that way means that they will also appear in correct date order. Adding a brief description makes your images searchable. Want to find the photo of you singing karaoke but can't remember when it was? Run a search on your computer for "karaoke". It'll turn up.

So that's how I organise my photos. I hope some of this has been helpful. I know what it's like to feel overwhelmed by all of your photographs! Just keep in mind the entire point of taking photos in the first place: you want to capture and record memories and occasions and enjoy them later. Which you can't do if they are stuck in a box somewhere or lost on your computer or, heaven forbid, lost forever due to hard drive failure. (I didn't tell you to back your files up again! But you should!)

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(See how much more manageable the Blurb book is?)


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149 comments:

  1. Wow Jen! You are incredible :) I love how organized you are and that you back up your photos- so important. I use my external hard drive for that, too. Works like a charm!

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  2. We use carbonite.com. It automatically backs up our files (not just photos) and I can access them from anywhere using the app on my phone. I think it costs around $60 a year. Totally worth it.

    I need to do those photo books. You are amazingly organized. I take a lot of photos and they only get viewed by me because they're only on my computer.

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    1. Just a caution. If you don't tell Carbonite to back up certain files it wont. My external hard drive broke and thousands of pictures were lost while I blissfully thought Carbonite had backed them all up. Check it out! BTW,got my pictures back for two THOUSAND dollars.

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  3. I found this post via Pinterest and am so glad I did!!! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that is still working on scrapping the first year of baby pictures while the child is in school! ;) Just yesterday I was debating whether it's worth it to keep dating and labeling each picture, then I read your post about it ~ I think I'll continue! :) Thanks for this post! It's been most helpful!!!

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  4. How much do the books run?

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  5. Oh Jen you are awesome. Have I told you that before? I am so jealous of your organization!! I am going to the Blurb site today to look around and I will start right now organizing my pictures. I have about a MILLON (might be a slight exaggeration)in boxes. My boys are 40 and 36. But I would still love to do this. And for the grandkids. Thank you so much.....

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  6. That was a great read, thanks for sharing Jen and it was great to see your scrapbooks again. I'm looking into a blurb book at the moment to print off my blog entries!! xxx

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  7. I have probably thousands of photos on my external hard drive that only I see, so I love the idea of the blurb books. I really will do one this year, it'll be so easy for us to just pull out a book instead of hunting down the photos on the computer.

    Have always loved your organising tips.

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  8. You are AMAZING! I wish I had been more organized in the past. I've been trying to get a handle on it for awhile but it is overwhelming. You've given me some great ideas :-)

    Sandra

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  9. Thanks for this amazing blog post. A 2012 goal is to sort out our family photographs. I know the importance of back up first hand after losing almost all of our photos last year. Fortunately some were recovered by my IT whizz brother but I do now have to sort and re-file & name them all. I love the photo books, annual slideshow and descriptions. You have given me a really good idea of what I want to do now. Thanks!

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  10. I can't remember how I found your blog, but since that day it became part of my routine to came here and spend some time reading and admiring your posts and photos.
    This post is really especial, and I must start to organize all my family photos again, just loved your tips.

    Have a great week.

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  11. So inspired by you! Bookmarking this article for future reference. I use Flickr for off-site back-up of my photos... $25/year is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

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  12. Brilliant post Jen! As are the reminders to BACK UP! :) So important, we all know it's necessary but seem to think we'll do it when we have some time.Do it NOW! Thank you for sharing and the inspiration, as always. :)

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  13. Thanks, everyone.
    Suzy, thanks for the recommendation. I did remember after I posted though that we are on capped broadband so wouldn't be able to do online storage. We've decided to get another external drive for my husband to keep in his locker at work.

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  14. This is amazing. I'm a kindred spirit when it comes to photo storage. I'm very particular. I used to scrapbook but now I just print all my pics 4x6 and put them in albums. I only do this about once a year. I did the digital book one year, but haven't been able to keep up with that. Someday, when I'm in a nursing home :)

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  15. Great post! Thanks for the inspiration. I do a lot of similar things as you but I still got some good ideas!

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  16. What awesome ideas!! I am in need of making photo books for my family. I never thought to use Blurb!!! Also, I use Mozy for my online back-up & it is inexpensive & awesome. I had my computer crash and I was able to restore all my files on my new computer! http://mozy.com

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  17. THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this!!! I have been trying to figure out how to organize my photos and wanted to do a Blurb book but wasn't sure where to start. You have given me hope! I also love the slideshow and how you have a file for it to add to throughout the year! Way to go!!! Thanks again!

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  18. It's true, once I discovered that pictures were "supposed" to be in colorful pages with pretty card stock and trim I did a few great ones for gifts, but my own pictures are still in boxes until I have time to scrapbook. Hum, I think I shall try your notebook method and at least have them in a way that they can be viewed without finger prints and them getting out of order.

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  19. Wonderful post! Please back up your backup too and leave it offsite. Some great ideas. And yes I love Blurb. I'm just very impressed at your fab scrapbooks and I love your clean design

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  20. Thanks.. I'm so overwhelmed. I'm also a photographer and have 65k images of the boys from last year. It's crazy. They rated etc in Aperture on my mac, but still!!!!!

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  21. PS for your blurb books (which you can also use as a download from your blog).. what size files works best do you think since you've made so many

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  22. What is the website where you get your books made? I've never found one that can male a 440 pager!

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    1. It's blurb.com - check them out. I have only good things to say about them :)

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    2. I use a site called mixbook.com and I love it! Very customizable and it is online software so I don't have to download any software and I don't worry about loosing my work if for some reason my computer crashes. They have awesome templates or you can start right from scratch. They may be more pricy compared to blurb but I like them and my books come looking wonderful.

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  23. So, I might be crazy, but I thought last time I read this post you ad a note about another company besides blurb that other people liked. I don't see it now. Was I just crazy?

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    1. (Have emailed)
      Perhaps you're thinking of My Publisher?

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  24. Thank you so much for your ideas, instructions, and inspiration. Wow, three I's. lol I have thousands of pictures on our computer and I want them in a book so we can enjoy them but I don't want it to cost a lot and I want it simple. I love the idea of the blurb book. How expensive are they? Is the site blurb.com? I will definitely check it out.

    I ran across your information on pinterest so thank you.

    Mae

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    1. Yes, it is blurb.com - it's linked above (the word Blurb appears in blue and is a link to their site).

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  25. You are my mental twin. You organize your photos the same way I do and I've started printing them on blurb too. When I tell people to do it that way they don't like it. Not sure why.

    I was just going to mention did you know you can name the files like that automatically? I use xnview (it is free online) and do a batch rename. It picks up the date from your camera then you can add the description on. I used to do it one by one and it took forever.

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    1. That's funny, everyone who sees my Blurb books absolutely loves the idea.
      That is great that you can batch rename, that would be very handy. Because I shoot in RAW I have to open and edit every single photo anyway, so it's not a big deal to rename each file as I save it but maybe I'd use that for our point-and-shoot camera images. Thanks for the tip.

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  26. What an awesome and inspiring blog post this is! I so admire that you have all those Blurb books made. I have the ambition too, but so far I've only managed to finish one, the 2008 year book, also published through Blurb. But soon, soon I will do another one. :-)

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    1. Thank you - your book looks great!

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  27. For $25/year for a pro account, you can upload JPEGs to flickr. Works great for us!

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  28. Hello, I just checked out the blurp site. What kind of paper do you use or suggest to use for the books? Great ideas! THANKS!

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    1. I just order the regular paper. It's a good weight.

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  29. What an awesome book! I loved looking at all our photo albums when I was little and I'm sad I don't have any for my kids.....well, I did, but all the photo spots in my album became unglued and I have yet to get a new album!! They are all just sitting in a box in my closet. I am going to HAVE to do this!! Just one question. I have all my old pictures from before the digital age. Would it look dumb to scan them?

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    1. I don't think it would look dumb at all. Depending on your scanning skills they might lose quality ... or you could actually restore some that have discoloured or faded. Either way, the main inhibitor (for me anyway) would be the amount of time needed to scan them all.

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  30. I found you on Pinterest & all I have to say is Thank you! I absolutely LOVE Blurb. (It makes my life so much easier.) But I really like your idea about making a slide show of the year & your tips on how you organize your pictures. This is all very helpful. Thank you so much!!!

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  31. I saw this on pinterest also-and I am so excited to read your good ideas! I have been cleaning out my Mom's house and she had SO many pictures of all her grandchildren. They were somewhat organized--but still overwhelming! I am determined not to do this to my kids, so I am working on getting my own photos organized. These are great ideas-thank you for sharing!

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  32. Question: Found your post through pinterest also -- what kind of paper material do you use when you print out on Blurb? I am searching to see if they provide paper material samples so you know which kind is best for your needs. Just the regular plain paper? How thick is it? Is it glossy or just plain? How does it hold up with fingers touching it constantly etc? Have you ever used shutterfly? How does it compare? Thanks!

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    1. I just order regular paper, it is a good weight, maybe satin finish. It has held up fine. I've never used Shutterfly but perhaps if you Google for comparisons someone may have done one?

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  33. Love this, Jen. I constantly struggle with all of the different books I need in my life. Can you tell us more about the scrapbooks for your sons, please? Do you still do those? Or have you switched to the family books?

    I need to check out Blurb. I have always made my year book on Shutterfly but have a REALLY hard time trying to limit myself to 101 pages. And it seems more expensive.

    Also, LOVE LOVE LOVE the family portrait as the front cover. Awesome!
    Thank you!

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    1. Thanks!
      I scrapbooked every photo of Daniel from his first 4 years - although I haven't quite finished his last album.
      I did the same with Noah's first year (not quite finished yet either!) but stopped after that for two reasons:
      1) the boys were together in a lot of the photos so they didn't just fit one or the other album, and
      2) I'd switched to digital so I just started doing the Blurb books with all of our family photos in there together.
      If you want to see some of the layouts in my scrapbooks, hop on over here:
      http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/gallery/member/43825-jentlepea/projects/

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  34. Love this post! It's very helpful! I didn't read all the comments but I'm wondering if you've ever considered digitizing your negatives. I too have boxes of unorganized photos. I've thought about taking the negatives and going digital because then I could make a photo book like blurb and it would be quicker, easier and take up less space. The space issue is my #1 complaint against printed photos in books and boxes. Anyway, I just don't know of good resources to scan my negatives. Any suggestions?

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    1. I'm sorry, I don't know of any services to suggest, but that is a great idea. It would protect them too as you could make backups, whereas if there is ever a flood or fire original negatives and prints would be lost. I don't know if I could ever actually get rid of the originals though, so in my case it wouldn't really solve the space issue!

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    2. I used scancafe and loved it, affordable and my pics are on a DVD ;)

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  35. All I want to say is I LOVE YOU for showing me this! My life has been changed forever!

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  36. what software do you use to do the DVD slideshow or is that something you order?

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    1. I use ProShow Gold, which is the slideshow software I use for my photography clients.

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  37. Thanks for all the good ideas. Just wanted to let you know that ANY ink will eventually bleed through photos. I used to work at the photo archives at a local university and we would only mark things with pencil. It's the only thing that has proven over time to not ruin pictures. Just thought you'd want to know!

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    1. Thanks for the info, good to know. I had no idea you could use pencil; I know it's a no-no for paper as it fades and disappears.

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    2. There is a pencil made for photos, very soft and dark. Creative memories used to sell one. Is very inexpensive. But most importantly I need to recognize you for finding your way to memory keeping. Thanks for inspiring us!

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  38. Thank you for the informative post. I have been wavering back and forth with the "right" way to move into the future with my photo storing. I played around with the idea of a digital book, but now I am sold. Great post! And I loved the quote about perfection...completely sums up my issues. I research and research looking for the perfect solution while my project remains un-started. My good friend says, "Progress over perfection".

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  39. Thank you for this post! I also use Heritage Makers Www.bringheritagehome.com to digital scrapbook. It really make life easy to go digital and you are SOO right that it is cheaper than printing your photos and putting them in binders that you buy with sheet protectors. I love Heritage Makers over some of the others because they have some cute artwork, LOTS of templates and tons of other products to make for gifts and things. Check it out and see what you think.

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  40. It is amazing how scrapbooking went from 11 X 8.5 to 12 x 12. It was only so we would have to buy all that 12 x 12 paper. I love 11 x 8.5 and am going back to it.

    I have also made some "topic" photo books with Shutterfly. I love them. I back my computer up to external hard drives and "click it" external hard drive back up system.

    Now after see how you manage all your digital files - I need to get busy and do that. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. It looks so easy and uncomplicated.

    Thank you so much for sharing with us.

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  41. I found this on Pinterest (pinned by my cousin) and love it. I have tons of photos and digital photos and love the way you organize yours. I will be following your suggestions. I have made a couple "topic" Shutterfly scrapbooks and love them. Hadn't thought about doing a years worth! My children are grown so it might be easier to single mine out per year for each of them. Then when I pass (someday) they can just take their own books. THANK YOU. Oh I use an external backup hard drive called "Click It" you plug it in and it backs up for you. I also use another external drive. Now I need to burn CD's. Lots of work but worth it. Right?

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  42. Thank you for the inspiration. Came here via pinterest tonight and within the last couple of hours have done a quick online search and found something called My cewe photobook, which seems similar to what you are using (I'm in UK) and have started to do an annual photobook for this year to see how that works out. Thank goodness it's only February or I would have been on here all night!

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  43. Wow what a great post. I love how you have organized everything so well. I found this on pinterest and am so glad I checked it out! Thank you for taking the time to do this post and for inspiring me to do this as well:) I think I am going to start the photobooks too!

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  44. The DVD idea is cute, but just be aware that DVDs that you burn yourself do not last very long. You will start to get corrupted files within 3 to 5 years, depending on exposure to heat and light. Make sure to have other back-ups!

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  45. Those are great suggestions. I love the detail about naming your photos. Wish I had seen that 5+ years ago, I always would name them withing the w/ a number in the front to keep them in chronological order. Your way is much easier.

    We store our external hard drive outside of our house. 1. I am glad we have it (our computer crashed last weekend) & 2. If something happens to our house the backup drive won't be destroyed too!

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  46. Great post, like many others i found you on pinterest. I was just wondering... how much time do you dedicate to downloading and editing. That is the step i always get stuck on. I can't find the time to download every time i take pictures so then i have too many to do and get behind... any suggestions on that? i have made shutterfly books... but only for our major trips, like you i found it much faster than scrapbooking. but you have to work online the entire time! Thanks for all your ideas! great!

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    1. I'd suggest setting aside 15 minutes or half an hour at least once a week (or more often if you can) and work on it then. It's a small, manageable chunk of time and if it's regularly scheduled you'll eventually get on top of everything.

      With Blurb you don't have to work online all of the time, which is one of the reasons I like it! You only go online to upload and order your book.

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  47. Thank you so much for this helpful lesson on organizing photos. They are the death of me, although I somehow manage to get a digital scrapbook done each year, so there is not as much guilt involved as some. It's a pain, though, as I search through all my files trying to gather them all. I'm going to be so much better (and I'll be sure to back up!) Thanks again!

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  48. Jen, one thing I always debate about is what to do to give to my children at some point since I have two. Are the Blurb books created/saved in such a way that you could reprint a more without having to recreate the layouts? Or do you plan to create a summarized book or 2 for each on their entire childhood at some point?

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    1. That's the beauty of Blurb - your book remains in your account (log in online) and you can order more copies. I don't know how long they keep it there but you'll obviously have your own copy on your computer as well, so you're covered!

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  49. Found this post via Pinterest and I love the idea! I have my photos saved by date but never put a discription in there, going back through and adding that for sure. I've made a few photobooks in the past, mostly from shutterfly and walmart.com but I'm curious if during your yearly books you added pictures from your children's births or if you just did a separate book? Trying to decide if I should include them all together or put those pictures in a book by themselves. Thoughts?

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    1. Do you mean from their actual births? Or from birth onwards? I have a few pregnancy pictures, the birth (or rather, baby immediately after) and up to his fourth year for Daniel in separate albums, and up to Noah's first year. Everything else is just together with family pics in general albums.

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  50. Great post my husband is always asking me "Do you have to put every picture in the external hard drive?" I always look at him like he's crzy..uh of course. I would be loosing memories forever and thats the worst feeling in the world.

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  51. Backblaze is another great backup solution - automatic and very inexpensive!!

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  52. I use www.MyPhotobookStory.com to upload my files and create my books. It is all online, so my photos are safe and not on my computer. Plus the photobooks are 100% customizable. You can create a 12x12 for yourself, then make 8x8's for your family members.

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  53. http://www.imemories.com/ is a great way to preserve your photos as well. $5.00 a month unlimited storage. Love this blog post!!! Thank you!

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  54. I just saw your Blog Blooks on Pinterest and thought to myself...I bet she uses Blurb! WEll so I read your post and surprise...you do! Then I read on anyou andd to laughy even further cause not only do you and I both use blurb to print our yearly books but we organize our photos almost exactly! We must have been sisters in the previous life and the next one!

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  55. I am in AWE of you! Incredible!!!

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  56. You are a genius. You've given me a million ideas. Thank you for sharing your process!

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  57. Jen, ever thought of getting Lightroom to organize your photos? Especially if you shoot raw.

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    1. I thought Lightroom was just an editor.
      I'm wary of using software for organising, I prefer to just organise the original files by themselves so that they will be available in the future without having to use the software.

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  58. don't know if anyone has suggested but one of our back ups for photos is Shutterfly. They are a little like blurb where you can make photo book and other photo items but you can also upload unlimated photos for free.

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  59. Date and label everything... worth it! Just helped my grandparents move and found tons of old B&W family pictures. Everything that had been my great-grandmothers (bless her cotton socks) was dated and everyone was named. Some of these people my grandparents had only heard of and wouldn't have recognized! The rest of the pictures was like playing 20 questions. We figured most of them out, eventually...

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  60. Lightroom and similar things would just reference the folders you already have, but enable you to tag pics, sort by tag or keyword or name, etc. That kind of thing. There are some good free alternatives out there worth trying.

    ReplyDelete
  61. These are such good ideas. Thanks for sharing! And I know someone already said this, but yes the pen on the back of photos will bleed through and you'll have writing across the face of the photo you showed eventually. We found that with my husband's grandma's photos many of them were ruined after 30 years of pen on the back. You might want to scan the ones you have and make them digital too.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Hi Jen, Blurb looks awesome! Can't wait to use it! So many other sites don't allow you to do that many pages in one book.
    Question for you, once you back up your photos on your external drive do you delete them from you computer hard drive? you probably have so many photos they must take up so much space??
    Great tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only delete them once I have them backed up online, on two disks and it's been a good few years.

      Delete
  63. WOW! You are awesome, Jen!! I am going to work on my pictures this weekend!! I was going to decorate for Easter, but since it is Maundy Thursday - guess I will just skip that and organize photos instead (lol) "Perfection is the enemy of completion" is ME!! I am far from perfect, so I just never get anything done... Thanks for the encouragement!!

    ReplyDelete
  64. I saw you on Pinterest. These are great! I also want to do this but it is not within our budget yet (the photobooks and printing photos) but I do back up our photos and videos. They go straight to my hard drive. Then I also upload them on Shutterfly. No storage space limit. So far the ones I still need to make into a book are last year's events (son's 2nd birthday, second son's birth, and what-not). I only have one scrapbook so far, our wedding day! :P

    ReplyDelete
  65. WOW! I love how well your photos are organized...and I especially love those blurb books! I would never have even thought of doing a photo book that large. I've got tons of pictures that I want to print from the past few years (since my son was born) and I've been dreading how much it was going to cost to print them. :) But I'd rather pay the money to have them put in a book right away! Thanks! (found this on pinterest!)

    ReplyDelete
  66. Wow! I love this post. You have me sold on Blurb! I have been struggling lately with what to do with my digital pictures. I remember the days of flipping through my grandma's albums and looking through pictures, and now that we're so digital, that just doesn't happen anymore. I would love to have albums to flip through again. This will be the year that I get my pictures in order!

    ReplyDelete
  67. we could be twins! I too was a paper scrapper with books of pages that still need to be done, but the photos are in the page slot! ;) I also now only do blurb books....they are amazing! And yes, mine are well over the 400+ page mark AND I put our family pics on the front too! So fun! Thanks for sharing all this info....I have lots of people ask me how I do it, but you pretty much explained EXACTLY what I do! We even archive {on an external hard drive} exactly the same! :) Must be a "Jen" thing! And now I will just send people to this post....so I don't have to explain so much anymore! :)

    ReplyDelete
  68. Awesome info! I'm not quite as caught up on my digital scrapbooking, but I do use a lot of the same backup techniques, so I'm feeling good about that! As for online backups, I'm using Smugmug and CrashPlan these days. I love Smugmug for viewing and storing my photos online and I love CrashPlan because it is automatic. Also, Shutterfly allows unlimited free storage of your photos. I use them for my photo books so I have a lot of pictures there as well. Thanks for the great post! Consider it pinned!

    ReplyDelete
  69. Dropbox! by far the best online storage I have found so far, this link...

    http://db.tt/3uiE6Y5

    will give you a free storage account - I currently have 13.4GB free - you get a little more space free if you sign up with an educational email address (.edu/.ac.uk etc).
    Every year they seem to offer the chance to get more space for free - they have competitions/games usually in January-ish - recently they trialed a new Beta version and offered free space as an incentive to test it out etc. You can also get some space for free by doing the tour odf Dropbox, tweeting about it and Facebooking something - it tells you how to do it all.
    You can access it on your phone too (both iPhone and android apps) - when you download the software to your computer you get a file on your computer and one online that is backed up so you could actually have your photos stored in your 'computer' dropbox folder - accessible at all times as its on your actual computer then Dropbox will back it up from that source. Does that make sense? hope so.

    ReplyDelete
  70. (Found you via OrgJunkie.) I just started researching Blurb after reading this post. I do have one question for you - You say that you get 8.5 x 11 inch books, but I don't see that size on Blurb. They have an 8x10 or 12x12. Did they change their book sizes, or is their 8x10 book actually more like an 8.5x11 once bound? Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooops!! You are right, they do 8x10 and that is what I have! I'm sorry for the error and I will go and correct it right away.

      Delete
  71. I've been using blurb to "slurp" my blog posts and pictures in for the past 4+ years and I wouldn't ever want to do it any other way. For the price, the quality is unbeatable. BLURB ALL THE WAY! :D

    ReplyDelete
  72. What is the approximate cost of the Blurb books (for 400+ pages, most in colour?)

    Sorry if it was already mentioned and I missed it!

    ReplyDelete
  73. I am so excited to get my photos organized! Thank you so much for sharing how you organize yours! I served an LDS mission to South Africa so it was fun to see that is where you are from!

    ReplyDelete
  74. I found you on Pinterest, I'll tell you this you have the greatest photo organization skills ever! I have about 10.000 plus photos that all ended up in the same folder. I have to some how organize them into folders. I'm gonna try your method and see how it works for me. It's gonna take me forever.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Hello! I'm curious, what font did you use throughout your books? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe it was Trebuchet for dates and Georgia for the text.

      Delete
  76. Thanks for the ideas! I upload my photos to snapfish.com You can create books there and they give codes for them to be half off usually once a quarter! Picaboo is a great one too.

    ReplyDelete
  77. I found this post on Pinterest also and love it. It is always nice to see how others do things. I also shoot in RAW. After you edit and save your files in JPEG, do you also keep the RAW files? I am always nervous to get rid of them so I have years of RAW files that are way too big. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope, I never keep the RAW files. In fact I put my card into the card reader attached to my computer and edit them straight from the card and then reformat the card in camera once I have saved the jpeg onto my hard drive.

      Delete
  78. Like so many others I found you on pinterest :0 great great advice here~! I'm curious...what size blurb books do you do??

    Thanks,
    jorjohnson43@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  79. Sorry!! I just found the answer to your book sizes in the other comments :)

    jordan

    ReplyDelete
  80. I back up all of my data to an online/offsite data center with Mozy (http://mozy.com/ or http://mozy.co.uk or...whatever it redirects to LOL) and I LOVE it. The backups occur automatically and I never have to worry about it!

    ReplyDelete
  81. I find Blurb to be somewhat bulky and limited. It crashes often - I do almost all text only - blog to print but then you have to reformat it. I love the idea and love the books but just not the actual process. Hours reformatting and often adding pictures then it crashes and it didn't actually save my most recent changes (like it says) after all unless I do a manual save. Does yours not crash?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am still using an older version of the software and I've never had a problem. A friend of mine had a problem with the newer software not showing all of the layout options. I think I'll wait before upgrading! I'd suggest uninstalling and reinstalling again from scratch and seeing if that helps. Oh, and mine automatically saves as well (but I tend to save after making any changes anyway).

      Delete
  82. This is AWESOME! I have tried to make these types of books a few times, but I have always had to work while online. This made it very difficult and when the web page froze (happened often) I lost everything! THIS IS PERFECT FOR ME!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  83. Jy het my dag gemaak vandag!! Thanks vir dit, al my fotos is op cd en op die pc en my dogtertjie is al 3 en nog niks geprint nie. Die post was 'n wonderlike inspirasie vir my. Vreeslik dankie
    Groete uit Aus

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ek is so bly! Ek hoop die idees sal vir jou help.

      Delete
  84. LOVE your post! for the images presented in your DVD, do you include only the photos used your Blurb book, or do you also add others that did not make it to the blurb book? TIA!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's kind of the opposite - I include pretty much every photo in the Blurb book but only a select few in the DVD slideshow or the show would be way too long. I set it to one song (usually) so it has to be short enough. So instead of 20 pictures of us at a particular beach, for instance, I'd only include my favourite 1 or 2.

      Delete
  85. Found this via Pinterest. This is awesome. Thank you!!

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  86. Photo organization is at the top of my list this year (although it is June and I haven't started, so that isn't so good!) I love the idea of the bound books by Blurb - fantastic! I have a question though - the binders from Amazon - are they just regular three ring binders or are they special photo binders. I have a ton of prints (before the digital era) that need to go into albums and I am trying to find an inexpensive solution! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are just the regular binders and plastic page protectors and cardstock!

      Delete
  87. Wow wow wow, you are organized :) I am behind on my scrapbooks too... My current ends with me just getting married - which was 5 years ago. I bought a 8x8 book for my daughter, she's now 17 months and I haven't even started (but I did order hundreds of photos).

    Your tips are great for many more casual photo takers. Honestly though, I take 100s a week sometimes 1000s. My daughter is just so cute ;) I don't want to forget anything! I use Shutterfly b/c they allow unlimited storage and unlimited sharing, and if you want your photos back, you can buy an archive CD. So if I ever lose it all, I can go to Shutterfly! I burn them on DVDs, usually I have multiple for each year b/c my camera takes real high quality photos and videos which take space.

    I just love shutterfly. I order all my prints and photo books there. Also have multiple share sites - one is the one with only the photos I wish to share with my family. The other is eventually going to have everything and my intent would be to tag people and things so I can easily search the site for those photos. Right now I have so many photos from the last 17 months alone that I get lost! Gotta get organized.

    Anyway, thanks for the detailed blog and tips :) I think I got a few new ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  88. Hello!
    LOVE your books and like many others, I found you via pinterest. I wonder though, have you considered Creative Memories for you photo needs? They have two software programs that do exactly what you are doing, but would save you time. (I would think) The main one I think you would benefit from is the Memory Manager. Here is the link: http://www.mycmsite.com/sites/amberbenike/Content/Shop/Product.aspx?pr=InspectOffering&s=642054&dpr=BrowseCategory&ds=/Hierarchy/Digital%20Solutions/Software/Software

    The other is StoryBook creator. It has a wide variety of options, but this is the software you'd use to create the books. There is a free basic trial, but the full version has full creativity. Or simple drop and drag options. Here's the link for that, http://www.mycmsite.com/sites/amberbenike/Content/Shop/Product.aspx?pr=InspectOffering&s=647309&dpr=BrowseCategory&ds=/Hierarchy/Digital%20Solutions/Software/Software

    ReplyDelete
  89. Hi!

    I am another BLURB user, and I LOVE BLURB. I have used My Publisher.com, AdoramaPix, and Blurb. I do not care for the finished product from MyPublisher.com, and I really like AdoramaPix lay flat books for special occasions (my kids' weddings). I have been doing an annual photo book in Blurb since 2007 and I store my photos by date the same way you do (YYYY-MM-DD). I keep the last three years worth of photos on my computer hard drive in a RAID configuration to protect them from disk failure. I archive all of my photos on a 12 TB RAID 5 server via home network.

    My most recent undertaking, 2012 All Wrapped Up, is being done in volumes. I have already shot over 10K photos this year and still have a trip to Newfoundland and a new grandbaby to look forward to. Needless to say, only my favorite photos make it into the books, but 2011, Plain and Simple was nearly 300 pages anyway. I create my own layouts in Blurb when what they have does not suit me, and I can save them for later use. When the strictly squared orientation of the photo frames in Blurb is too limiting, I create my pages in GIMP, a free photo manipulation program. I flatten save the page as a JPEG and drag and drop it onto the Blurb page set to full page image. If you are a Photoshop user, you will easily adapt to GIMP, and will especially appreciate it's budget friendly price tag (FREE).

    My 2012 books are being done in large landscape format, which is 13x11. Previous years were done in 12x12, and I have done the softcover notebook format for a vehicle care journal, and the small square book for a guest book at an event.

    I think you have chosen a great print provider which will accommodate every skill level of book creator.

    ReplyDelete
  90. I am inspired to work on pictures! Thank you so much for a great post. (saw it on pinterest)

    ReplyDelete
  91. Hi - this was a great post to read - you have totally inspired me. I have finished the first year of my oldest childs baby book, she is 7, and I have three kids to go! I know what my problem is - when we switched to a digital camera, I had too many photos to choose from. The photo books look like a great idea tho. Do you make just one family album for each year? or ones for the kids too?
    A question about how you label your photos - YYYY MM DD description then number 01, 02, 03 etc - does the computer still play them in order when you get to 09,10,11? Does the '0' in front of the 1 keep it in order?
    I agree about backing up photos, our external hard drive died and we lost a years worth of photos, we sent it to a computer recover-er, paid lots of money, and got most of it back, but its much easier to just back the photos up in the first place.
    Thank you - I'll have to get some good systems in place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the computer keeps them in order as the 0 is a placeholder in the 01 - 09 numbers.
      I'm so glad you were able to recover most of your data! I'm sure it was a lesson learned.
      Thanks for stopping by on my blog!

      Delete
  92. Check out http://www.legacystories.org/about/plans-a-pricing?wiz_id=1017. You can be the one who has the account, upload all of your photos, add a family tree, write and store family stories, and share with anyone who registers with them for free as your "friend" or "family". The Talking Photos are so fun!!
    Not selling anything! Found you on Pinterest just now and thought you'd enjoy it. I do!
    Betsy (another LDS mom of 9!)

    ReplyDelete
  93. I found you on Pinterest. I am so happy to have found this. I have always organized my pix. I also always back them up to a DVD and then it is stored in a fireproof safe. I am on a long journey of adding all the negatives from all my old photos on film through a scanner and saving those as well.
    I love to scrapbook but I also find that I don't have time. I have been looking for a way to put all the photos in a book but did not want to use Shutterfly. Thanks for Blurb. I can't wait to work on my books because I take a gazillion pictures as well. I would like something tangible to put on a shelf to browse through when I'm feeling sentimental.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, I have still been printing all of my photos and putting them in traditional albums with the date and brief notes, but I've been contemplating switching to digital scrapbooks to save space. I'm just nervous that I won't stay up with it as well as I do printing the pictures each month.

      TIP: We back up our photos on an external hard drive as well, and then I store that in our fireproof safe because otherwise we'd still lose everything in the unfortunate event of a fire.

      Delete
  94. I organize the same way as you do and also shoot RAW, but my question is-do you also keep all your RAW personal files (I noticed your files are all Jpeg)?

    ReplyDelete
  95. Thanks for the detailed description on organizing photos. This is exactly how I have been organizing for the past few years myself. And the digital books really are a cost savings, though I haven't given away all my previous scrapping stock because my kids need supplies for school projects.

    *Anyway something I would add is creating one more folder per year labelled "2011 Years Best Photos". And maybe that is what the Slideshow folder really becomes, but this way you really don't have to sort through all 5,000+ photos from the year to find your favorites for the digital book or other projects. They will all be copied into this one folder ready to go.

    *Lastly, if anyone has their favorite site they usually will receive discount offers via email. If their book is always in progress or complete, just let it hang out for awhile until that really great offer (BOGO, 50% off) comes through and place your order. Don't wait until the last minute then you will be pulling all nighters to get the book done the way you want to meet the offer expiration.

    ReplyDelete
  96. I love what you've done with the physical photo albums. Scrapbooking has never interested me, but seeing how you did yours makes me realize it doesn't have to be all sparkles and ribbons and silly stickers; it can be simple and beautiful.

    As for digital photos, I love Google's Picasa program, and I suspect you will too. It makes digital photos much more searchable. You can tag photos by content, location, and by the people who appear in the photos. The automatic face recognition feature works surprisingly well. The only problem is you will spend days (months, years) going back and tagging all your old photos!

    ReplyDelete
  97. I admire your discipline! I would love to be able to do this, but I.m like most men with several unfinished projects. Great story, our children and their children, I'm sure greatly appreciate your dedication to preserving your family's memories.

    ReplyDelete
  98. 5 hours ago i came across this post on pinterest and read how you organized your photos.. i got married exactly a month ago immediately downloaded blurb from your link and have been creating a photo book for my wedding.. for the past 5 hours straight. thank you for inspiring me to get organized!

    ReplyDelete
  99. I did our Family Photos Volume 1 book with Shutterfly [there was a groupon for it] and I love it so I plan on doing it every year. I just wanted to say that I absolutely LOVE the idea of a family photo on the front. Like you said, it forces you to take a family photo, and it's pretty neat to look at the changes of the family year by year. Thanks for this amazing post!

    ReplyDelete
  100. You have inspired me! I am starting this year with a yearly picture book! Going to give Blurb a try. I blogged about my photo organizing goals and added a link to yours. I wish I could say I would come close to your level of organization! Thanks for sharing! I found you through Pinterest <3

    ReplyDelete
  101. I have been contemplating doing a photo book for quite some time, and you have inspired me to get started!! :) Love that you create a slideshow every year, too!

    Now, any suggestions as to what to do with all of those little video clips? We've been taking videos since our travels before we had kids over 8 years ago, but none of the videos have seen the light of day! :( I just don't know how to organize them as they are all in differnt formats!?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, the video clips can be tricky. We got all of our tape put onto DVD, and now that we are digital hubby edits all of the clips together (we use CyberDirector) and put them onto DVD.

      Delete
  102. That is how I scrapbook too. I am way behind on this system - it got pretty overwhelming when I switched to a digital camera in 2005. But I don't have photo albums, just 12x12 scrapbooks, and sometimes the pictures are just attached to blank cardstock with repositionable/removeable (Herma Dotto) adhesive. Then I just jot notes, slip in a Post It note or play program or whatever and pull it out to scrap when inspiration strikes. I try to do chronogtogical order so when the album is 99% done (they are never done!) I replace all the page protectors with new ones since they get dinged up when they are "work-in-progress" pages.

    I have tried switching to digital books because it has so many benefits but I just can't stop with the paper scrapping. Using my computer feels too much like WORK! :)

    ReplyDelete
  103. Jen, I almost want to cry. You have found the key to organizing my photos and creating a memory book that I have been searching for for years. This is the greatest system ever. Thank you so much for answering my scrapbooking/photo organizing prayers. I completely adopted your system. Thank you so much again!
    Cameron

    ReplyDelete
  104. I really need some help. I do blog books from BLURB since 2007, I organize my files by year, then month, like you. BUT I want to learn how you organize so specifically like you do. I can't figure it out. Well a quick way at least. Do you go through and rename each individual photo? I want to start organizing down to the day like you do, HELP.
    carolineshillig@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  105. I LOVE LOVE your blog post and all your organization ideas, being a back up junkie myself and avid picture taker for 40+ years. I had never ever scrapbooked before mainly because of the needed extra space and supplies, and only to make ONE copy of a scrapbook or else having to make many duplicate copies of photos, and then ending up being so bulky and thick, and taking up more room. Thankfully, I discovered Heritage Makers and invested in a highspeed scanner and scanned over 35+ years of most all of my photos in less than 3 hrs. I have even scanned photos at our family reunions too and have them uploaded in my online HM account, plus backed up on several devices, and my kids all have copies as well. I have been using Heritage Makers now for 4 years, and am sooo in love with the ease of Creating YearBooks, canvases, storybooks, personalized bucket bags, iphone cases, heirloom ornaments, and soo much more using Studio, no programs to buy and NO huge documents to UP load!
    Becky Christensen
    YourStoryBooksOnline.com

    ReplyDelete
  106. It is refreshing to find someone else who actual backs up and organizes their photos! I stress over mine, but they are precious to me of my boys. My question is for video....any tips for videos. I do have mine everywhere...you tube, my phone, our old video recorder. It is my goal in 2013 to tackle this project. I use smugmug for my photo storage.

    Thanks,
    Scarlett Anderson
    sincerelyscarlettblog.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hubby puts all of the video clips together one after the other using CyberDirector software, then writes to DVD. We also back up the original clips.

      Delete
  107. Good ideas. FYI: Kolo photo albums are awesome. (kolo.com)

    Gorgeous covers, impeccable pages, easy to use interface on their website.

    ReplyDelete
  108. I'm curious. When you did the old photo albums with the prints did you keep each boys book strictly to pics that were just them? does that make sense? How did you determine which pictures would go in just the boys album and which pictures would go in the family album.

    When you switched to Blurb did you continue to do it the same way?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For Daniel I have his first 4 years in scrapbooks and they are just about him - all of the photos of him, milestones, anecdotes, etc. Noah only has his first year because I quickly realised it was difficult to separate what went into his album and what went into Daniel's as they were together in a lot of photos. So his first year is photos of him, milestones, anecdotes - and then after that all of our photos go together in family albums. Our Blurb books contain all of our photos from the year, along with the journaling that goes along with them if I want to record anecdotes and milestones.

      Delete
  109. If you want to both store and display your photos this is what I do. i have my own website hosted through hostmonster.com. they give you unlimited space. Then I installed a free program they offered call Gallery. It lets you upload photos and makes a lovely gallery of them. You can see what I've done here: http://harmonybodyworks.com/photos/

    ReplyDelete
  110. I used Blurb for the first time thanks to your article I found on Pinterest. Thank You so much I have to say. If it wasn't for you I never would have found them and saw how wonderful it is to have all of my photos in a finished book. I also ran into the same problems with earlier photos of my girls, and trying to decided which photos to stick in which album. This makes it so much easier because now I can just order a book for each of them to add to a hope chest for when they leave the nest. I also only have good things to say about that company. I chose black, so I'm adding a link to my blog if anyone would like to see a different color variation that they offer. http://realmofnevermoore.blogspot.com/2013/04/blurb-book-photos.html#.UY1-Qann8dk

    ReplyDelete
  111. Why did you switch from MyPublisher to Blurb? I have used MP before but I am now looking into Blurb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You must have me mistaken with someone else - I've never used My Publisher.

      Delete
  112. I'm wondering what size you got for your blurb books? I'm having a hard time deciding--the 8x10 seems to small but the 12x12 seems too large lol. I want portrait so I'm just hoping your feedback will help :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For our family photo books I always get the 8x10 portrait size. I find it's very convenient to store and look through. I generally only put 4 vertical pics on a page or they are too small. I generally use the 6 pics template for horizontal photos, although of course it varies.

      I find that 12x12, when opened up on your lap, is huge - 2 feet of book. Plus they are sometimes tricky to store - not all bookcases are deep enough for a 12 inch book to fit on without sticking out.

      Hope that helps!

      Delete
    2. It does, t hanks for the info! I am on the same page as you, I was thinking the 12 x 12 was too big.....but since this is a compromise with my husband (he wanted me to print the majority of our photos out and put them in a notebook baseball card style) I am thinking I will end up with the 12x12---mostly because of the photo size you mentioned lol. I would either have a 440 page book which wouldn't even cover a year, or have so many photos on each page that they'd be tiny! lol I just wish I hadn't done so much work on my regular portrait size one lol. Oh well! :)

      Delete
    3. It makes sense to go bigger if you can't fit them all into the 8x10. I hope it's not too much work to get it converted!

      Delete

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