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5 Steps to Keep Your Photos Safe & Organized

There’s a good chance you’ve seen the “not enough storage” screen pop up on your phone.  I’m 100% positive you’ve seen it more than once if you’re a parent.  Why is this so common with parents?  We take a billion pictures!  Why?  Because our kids grow way too darn fast! It can’t just be me, right?    Most of us have a lot of photos that we just don’t want to delete, but we have no real steps to make sure they don’t get lost forever God forbid the phone goes haywire, gets lost, or even blows up in flames (ok, I had to re: Note 7).

What do you do when your photo storage is full?  With the holidays coming up (and the inevitable photo frenzy that comes with it), I thought I’d share 5 pretty simple things that I do each month to make sure I can keep all of our photos safe and sound.  If you know me, I take a whole lotta photos.  This process has been my sense of calm and my saving grace – and yes, I’m serious haha.

Here we go – 5 steps to make sure you keep your precious photos safe:

1. Develop an organization system on your hard drive
This is just to help with your sanity when it comes to looking for photos on your computer.  You can categorize just by year, by month, or by events.  To give you an idea, I basically do all 3.

Call me neurotic, but I take a lot of photos every year so this is necessary.

If it’s a folder with random photos without a particular event, I name it by the month they were taken but don’t put a date.  This is for all of the random food, baby, and selfie photos :).  For folders specific to an event, I name it by the month then the date.  This helps me find things quickly.  Once the year is over, I make a “2016” folder, drop all of these folders into it, then start all over again for the next year.  Find a system that works best for you.

2.  Download The Google Photos app ((Most Important!!!))
This app backs up your photos and videos AUTOMATICALLY.  You can set it to do this whenever, but I set it to only back up photos when I’m connected to Wifi to save my data.  When your camera is almost full, there is an “assistant” that will alert you and ask if you want to delete the photos on your phone that are already backed up on your Google Photos account. Google, you are brilliant.

In my whopping 23 months of being a parent, I’ve had a few moments where I thought to myself “With all the stuff people are trying to sell to me, why didn’t anyone tell me I needed THIS???” So, download it.

3. Download photos every month and sort!
Place an alert on your phone for the 1st of every month to backup your photos on your hard drive.  By this, I mean you’ll need to go onto your computer, access your Google Photos account (photos.google.com), then download all photos and videos that were uploaded to it in the past month.  You can download 500 at a time, and they’ll appear in your Download folder as a zipped folder.  Unzip the folder, and just sort them the way you decided to on Step 1.

4.  Buy an external hard drive and back it all up.
Once all of your photos are saved onto your hard drive, you’ll want to back them up on an external hard drive.  Why?  Because you never know when your computer might get a virus or give up on you.  You can find a great one here.  Call it overkill, but I don’t think it’s worth the risk to lose any of them.  Can you imagine losing a year’s worth of all of your digital photos?  I would be devastated.  Someone could hack Google, and you will lose photos.  Your computer could crash, and you will lose photos.  Your external could crash, and you will lose photos.  With everything being digital now, you can’t really be too safe.  Save your stuff in multiple places.

5. (optional) Make photo books.
I haven’t made photo books for everything I’d like to yet, but I do plan to.  I’ve made a few books and it’s so nice to have something tangible to flip through.  Also, if all technology goes ka-put, you’ll still have these memories to share for generations.  It’s just timeless.

I hope this helps you be more prepared to keep your precious photos safe and organized!  Do note that Google Photos does have a storage limit if you set it to save everything at the original quality which is why I suggest downloading them each month too.  If you set it at a lower quality, you’ll get unlimited storage, so that’s a matter of preference!

Happy photo taking this holiday season!  Don’t miss a moment!

T-shirt from Skeletee Printing.  Wooden camera toy from Little Rose & Co.
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