• Rich Engelbrecht

Are your pictures out of control?

Are you one of those people that keeps all their pictures? Forever? Do you have shoe boxes and albums full of pictures from the past? I bet you do; I know I do.


Now that I have gone digital, over 10 years now, I have the same thing, only with files and files of pictures, seeming spread everywhere. We have pictures still on our camera, pictures on memory cards and USB sticks lying in drawers, pictures on a computer, or maybe that other computer, pictures on our phones, and pictures in the cloud. But, which cloud?


This is a great time of year to address the many-headed hydra that is your picture storage and organization.

When the weather is good, go outside. When the weather is not so good – snowing, blowing, arctic temperatures – and you’re stuck inside; it’s time to sit down and start the cleanup. It’s not really that hard, and in my opinion, there just isn’t anything on TV worth watching anymore. Network TV has become practically unwatchable, but that is a different discussion.


Anyway, back to the subject. Time to get organized.


First, make a list of where all your images are. You can’t organize them if you can’t find them. Get them all into one place, for example, an external USB hard disk, a cloud service [Google, Apple, Amazon, many others].


Next, get them in some sort of order so you can find them next week, next month, or next year. I use a system that works for me. I create a folder called by the year, e.g. 2020, within that I create a folder by name of month, e.g. March, and then a folder with the day of the month, e.g. 17. Sometimes if I have a bunch of pictures that I took for an event, like the Ring of Fire on Conesus Lake, instead of the day folder, I’ll create an event folder and name it for the event, e.g. ROF.


After I have done this, I can then move all the images into the appropriate folders and have some hope of finding particular ones I went, at any time, without spending days looking through all the other sources.

Now it’s time to actually look at your old pictures. Using whatever tool you use to review your images, start looking at them with a critical eye. For example, If the picture is really blurry and out of focus, delete it. It’s not good for anything but taking up space on your storage. You will never use it for anything, nor will you ever show it to anybody. Dump it.

Other examples of images to get rid of may include images that you can’t identify where it was taken or who is in it. My favorite ones to delete [but wish I would have done better with at the time of capture], and thanks to my mother who uses this technique almost exclusively, cuts the heads off the subjects. Do we really need pictures of people from the neck down?


One last way we can chat about – there are many more – is vacation pictures. We tend to take a bunch of the same, or very similar, pictures of what we are visiting, pick a couple of the best and get rid of the rest. They are clutter.


Yes this can be time-consuming to do. Take it in chunks. Move and review a few at a time and before you know it, and thanks to Western NY and the Finger Lakes weather, you will have many opportunities to get organized.


It’s gotta be better than watching The Kardashian’s.