Summer months are a favorite time of year to capture memories with a camera. Who doesn’t love looking back at photos of vacations, back yard barbeques, ball games and pool parties? 

Back in the days of using film, many people collected shoe boxes full of photos. The digital age of cameras brings a new way of organizing, categorizing and viewing photos.  Unfortunately, many people transfer their photos from their cameras to their computers and rarely print them for further enjoyment.  Here are some tips for safely storing your photos as well as being able to find them when you’re ready to print or upload to a website such as Face book.

Purge as you go. As you view your pictures on your camera, delete those that you know you won’t use or are duplicates. Do this before transferring to your computer.

  1. Create properly named files on your hard drive to store your photos, making sure to include a year in the file title. e.g. 2010 Family Reunion, 2010 Vacation, 2010 Holidays. By putting the year first in the file name the files will be listed chronologically.
  2. Transfer pictures from your camera to your computer soon after special events. This way you’ll be more apt to properly file them on your hard drive. Once downloaded, clear them off your camera.
  3. Rename your photos for easier retrieval. Usually a number is assigned as the name of the photo in the transfer to your computer.
  4. Make a back-up copy of your photos. You can either burn a CD or load them onto a flash drive. Store the back-up copy in a safety deposit box or home safe which is designed to store electronic data. I prefer using Carbonite, an online back-up service for your computer. It costs about $1/week and I never have to back up my documents or my photos since it does it automatically for me.
  5. If you take the memory card directly from your camera to a processing center, you should still make a back-up of the photos.

 Once photos are printed, you have several options:

  1. Display them in photo frame albums. Some frames come with the capability of holding dozens of printed photos.
  2. Use decorative photo boxes. Be sure to purchase boxes that are acid-free so your photos won’t be damaged long-term. Create categories such as kids, vacations, pets, and holidays. This will allow you to retrieve photos when you’re looking for specific ones.
  3. Use a larger photo box storage system like The Power Sort Box® made by Creative Memories. It holds over 2,000 photos and has smaller compartments designed to help sort your photos.
  4. If you like to create scrapbooks, you have many options available through a variety of retail stores and photo album companies.
  5. Consider creating a “coffee-table” book online. I’ve created several for family members and they turned out beautifully.  They were easy to create and cost less than $50 each. My favorite online source is Shutterfly.


© Audrey Thomas