Basic Workflow Series #3: Organising and Ordering Your Photos
This is the third in our "Basic Workflow" series. We've given you tips on how to use your camera efficiently and tips for moving pictures off your camera. Today I will talk about the fun stuff: storing and ordering your digital photos using your computer!
Organize Your Photos
As your photo library grows it is important to keep your photos organized in a way that makes sense. Random folders full of photos won't do you any good when you decide to search for that family photo from the reunion three years ago or your daughter's preschool pictures. I suggest you organize your photos in one of these ways: by month, season, event, or a combination. Create a folder for every month, season, and/or event and take the time to put all of your existing photos into the appropriate folders (you can drag them or cut and paste them into the folders). Then make folders for future months, seasons, or events to remind yourself about keeping your photos organized. Several programs exist that help you organize your photos, but the most common tools used are the "My Pictures" folder for PC users and iPhoto for Mac users.
Back Up Your Photos
Once your photos are organized on your computer, it is very important that you back them up somewhere else. It is inevitable that something will happen to your computer: it will crash, your toddler will step on your laptop and break it or something else you cannot predict and all your photos will be lost...unless you have them backed up somewhere else. Thankfully, your online photo account offers an online backup tool that automatically syncs photos from your computer to your online account every night, so your online account is always up to date and your photos are always safely stored there. The basic service is free, or you can order the premium service for a low cost to back up all of your photos in full resolution. Another way to back up your photos is to purchase an external hard drive that you can copy all of your photos to. CDs and DVDs work too, but those are a greater risk as they may deteriorate over time and may one day become as obsolete as vinyl records or cassettes. My recommendation? Install the automatic backup tool to your online account, and never worry about backing up your photos again.
Our photos are not just on our cameras and computers - we have photos on our phones and social media sites. To help you keep your photos organized, I suggest installing our free iPhone app on your iPhone, which allows you to upload your iPhone photos to your online account (we will soon be launching a similar app for Android phones). You can also add your Facebook photos to your online account using the "Add Photos" feature on the My Web Folders page, as well as share your online photos to your Facebook account. Your online photo account will soon be integrated with Flickr as well. In short, your online account is the one place to keep ALL of your photos organized and backed up!
Order Your Photos
Ok, you've come this far! You've used your camera efficiently, taken great photos, transferred them to your computer, organized all your photos, backed them up online, added photos from your phone and other sites, and now, the best part: ordering your photos! I have two main pieces of advice when it comes to ordering. First, order any prints you like as soon as you have uploaded them to your online account. When you capture something that is very unique, or that catches your eye, order a large print right away, because if you don't order it immediately, it will just stay in your folders forever. Your life is too busy to remember to order it later.
Second, many people are starting to replace their photo albums (4x6 prints that you put into clear plastic pages) with photo books (books you design that print the photos and your messages directly onto the page). Photo books are more fun than traditional photo albums because you have so much more flexibility in the design of a photo book. You can add text, arrange the photos in any order you want, have different size photos, print photos on the book's cover, and so on. Consider creating a photo book next time you have a group of photos to order (birthday parties, vacations, etc.). Your online account has a fun and easy to use photo book design tool, and you will love the finished product when you get your order.