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How to back up and organize your photos

As we take down our tree and get our house back in order after the holidays I’m always determined to get organized.  Photos are often overlooked when it comes to organization.  So, today, I want to share with you a system that I have in place for making sure my photos stay backed up and organized.

How to back up and organize your photos

1.  Upload your photos regularly.  I use Adobe Bridge to import my photos from my digital SLR and point and shoot once a week.  I go through and select my favorites that I want to keep by starring them.  We all have those test shots, ones with eyes closed, etc.  I don’t import those in an effort to save room.


2.  Renaming your photos.  Once I’ve selected the images I want to save I rename them.  I use our last name, the date, and then number the photos starting from one.  So it looks something like this (Collier010414_01).  I like to rename my images so that I can, for one, remember the date and, two, they are easier for me to find when I am searching later.


3.  Backing up your photos in an organized manner.  I don’t save any images to my laptop in an effort to keep it running more quickly.  I use a program called Dropbox which syncs between both of our computers, iPad, and iPhones.  I save my edited images there.  This is what the Photos & Videos folders on my Dropbox account look like:


It’s so important to back up your photos in more than one place.  I suggest using something like Dropbox and in addition to that using an external hard drive or burning to a CD each month.  Remember to not delete the images off of your memory card until they are backed up in at least two places.

4.  Upload to a photo center & print.  I suggest mpix.  They are the sister lab of a professional lab I use.  Their color and quality is impeccable.  I print 4x6s of my favorite photos from the year and store them in what is called an image box.  I order mine through my photography lab but even something as simple as a white photo box labeled with the year would be just as beautiful.


5.  Label your photos.    I label the back of the images with who is in the photo and the date.  I think about future generations of our family that will see these photos and I want to make sure that they are labeled properly so that they know who is who.


6.  Keep in a safe place.  Storing your prints, back up external hard drives, and CDs in a fireproof safe is a good idea.  An alternative to that would be to keep them in an offsite storage such as a safety deposit box or a family member’s home.

I take a little time each month to back up and organize my photos and suggest you do the same.  By the end of the year I am all caught up and ready for the next year.  My mom always did a great job of preserving our childhood photos and it means so much to me to be able to look back on those.  And I want the same for my children and future generations.

You can go as far as I do or eliminate some steps…but the important thing is backing up and preserving those memories.