How do I organise a photo collection is the No 1. question we are asked at our workshops and webinars. Meet Chantal Imbach Professional Photo Organiser, declutter expert and guest blogger, here’s what she had to say.

Photos are one of the hardest things to declutter and let go of because they are so precious to most of us. As a professional photo organiser, I regularly come across very substantial digital photo collections, we’re talking 60,000 plus photos. And that doesn’t include the printed photos that most people still have.” says Chantal

Photos are just the same as any other item in our home. When there are too many and when it has become unmanageable, decluttering and organising is in order.”

 How do we do this?

Simply put, just like any other de-cluttering project, follow basic rules and apply to digital and printed photos alike:

  1. Create a vision

Think about what you are going to do with the photos you will keep. Maybe albums? Frame some? Create gifts? Leave a meaningful photo legacy to your loved ones? Writing down stories to go with the photos and maybe even creating some family history document?

2. Gather all your photos and put like with like.

This could mean sorting your printed photos into year or event piles or your digital photos into corresponding folders on your computer. Whatever you choose, never sort by person because you will inevitably start creating duplicates, something we want to avoid at all cost.

3. De-clutter your photos

This is probably the hardest part. If you struggle to make a decision, think back to your vision and whether that particular photo is needed to achieve these goals. If you are still unsure, ask yourself these questions:

  •              Is it a good shot in terms of the quality or is it blurry?
      •     Over- or under-exposed?
  •              Do you know who is in the photo?
  •              Do you want to be reminded of the person/s in the photo?
  •              Is it a duplicate?
  •              Are there similar photos?
  •              Does the photo tell an important story?
      • If yes, it’s a keeper, even if the quality might not be great.
  •              Do you like this image? Does it make you smile?
  •              Would you use this photo in one way or other in the future?
  •              Think of future generations … would they want and keep this photo?
  1. Backup

Now that you have decided which photos you want to keep it goes without saying that you should safeguard them. For printed photos, digitising is the only way to back them up. Once they are scanned, they will become part of your digital photo collection and hence become part of your digital backup process.

  1. Enjoy your photos! It is time to do all the fun stuff now: photo books, digital photo frames, photo gifts etc. The list is endless! Again, go back to your vision and make it a reality.

Chantal Imbach of Photos In Order believes photographs, and the stories that go with them, have the power to connect people.

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