Dealing with Digital Disarray

Anyone who takes digital photos would probably agree that it’s no easy feat to manage the ever-growing number of photos we take in today’s world. It was challenging enough when we had just one computer and one digital camera; nowadays it’s not uncommon for a family to have photos stored on multiple computers, smart phone cameras, tablets, Facebook, Instagram, and more. Just thinking about it might make you feel like throwing in the towel before you even start to formulate a plan to consolidate and organize your photos!

As a Photo Organizer, my goal is to help people gain control over their photos and alleviate the stress and guilt caused by having photos scattered among various devices and memory cards. If you want to learn a step-by-step plan for getting your photo life under control, I invite you to contact me for guidance.

“What’s the best software or app to organize my photos?”

This is a question I hear frequently from people who want to get their “digital disarray” under control. There are many different options for digital photo management, and it’s important to consider your own management needs and goals, as well as what computer hardware and devices you use, when making this decision. Not everyone will benefit from the same software or system. This is, in fact, part of what I do for clients — to help them find the right photo management system that will work for them! Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you evaluate what system might work best for you:

  • How many photos do you have? How many photos do you take and how often?

  • Do you have a Mac or PC?

  • Do you use multiple computers or devices?

  • Do you have a backup system in place?

  • Are you willing to have your photos stored securely in the cloud?

  • Do you want or need editing capabilities?

  • How do you want to be able to find your photos? By person, theme, and/or date?

  • How are your photos organized in an ideal world?

Keep in mind that you don’t have to use software or a special app to manage your photos. Many people simply build an organized folder structure on their computer, with folders named by year and sub-folders by month, for instance. The downside to this photo management system is that it lacks sophisticated filtering capabilities to find your photos. Filtering means you can cross reference; for instance, you can look for a photo by date, person, and location. The upside to this photo management system is it’s very portable and you are not dependent on any photo management system that might change or go out of business on a moment’s notice (Picasa anyone?).

Personally, I have a large digital photo collection (almost 50,000 photos to date, including some older family photos I have scanned) and I was seeking numerous features in a photo management system, such as filtering functions to find my photos easily, user-friendly editing tools, and the ability to sort my photos to plan albums. For years I have used Forever’s Historian software, and it has all of these features and more.

 
Forever Historian Software

Forever Historian Software

 

In Historian, my photos are sorted automatically upon import onto a timeline (assuming the date in my camera is set correctly, and if not, I can quickly change dates for a group of photos all at once). I also quickly sort them into categories/tags by people, places and events that I know I will want to search by in the future (facial recognition is also an option for sorting). This way, when I want to find a photo of my two children in Hilton Head, I can do it in a matter of seconds. I have the ability to rate my favorite photos, attach notes/stories to a photo, and plan out albums with my photos. The Historian program requires Windows to operate, so you either need to be using a PC or be willing to run a Windows environment on your Mac in order to use it. You can check out Historian on the Forever website or contact us for more information.

Mac users have long been seeking the perfect photo management system. iPhoto and Aperture didn’t fit the bill but Apple made huge strides when they introduced Photos for OS X in 2015. If you are a Mac user and an iPhone user and your photos are not organized, you are really missing out on what I like to call the Apple Photos Ecosystem. Usually what stops people from setting up the syncing among their Photos app on their Mac, their iPhone, and iCloud Photo Library is their lack of understanding on how to do it. We can help you get this set up pretty quickly and get your library organized so you can find and enjoy your photos again!

So, I’ve given you a peek at an option I’ve enjoyed as a PC user, and another for Mac users - how about one for the multi-platform family? The photo management system called Mylio (which stands for “My Life is Organized”) allows you to organize, search, edit and protect a lifetime of photos from any device, with or without relying on the cloud for any kind of back up or replication. In addition, if you are a Lightroom user, you can use it right along with Mylio. I will say though, that I usually recommend Mylio to people who are at least a 7 or 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 when it comes to comfort level with technology. It is not for the faint of heart. But it is pretty powerful and has a lot of great features if you are willing and able to learn some new technology.

 
 
Mylio's Calendar View

Mylio's Calendar View

 
 

Here are some of my favorite features of Mylio:

  • Mylio works on a PC or Mac (for families that have both, this is especially nice!)

  • The screens and photos load quickly and easily, and it’s simply a beautiful way to view and scroll through your photos.

  • Mylio automatically syncs copies of your photos to your other computers and devices. It is really fun to see how changes you make to a photo on one device, instantly change on another!

  • The calendar and location views are quick and easy options for finding your photos. Mylio has additional powerful search and filtering capabilities that allow you to search by keywords, ratings, people and more.

  • You can customize your import settings and basically import a big ‘ol mess of photos and Mylio will organize it all by year and date, or however you’d like. You can also rename your photos upon import. No more DSC084 or IMG787. You can also import photos directly from Facebook, Flickr, iPhoto/Photos and more. Metadata and tags can transfer with your photos into Mylio.

  • The organization structure of your photos on your PC or Mac that Mylio creates is one that you can find and understand through Windows Explorer (on a PC) or Finder (on a Mac) and easily move to another photo management system or computer should you choose to. (Note that the organization structure you build in Historian or Photos for OS is only readable from those programs.) This is a really nice feature of Mylio. It basically means that the structure you set up in Mylio (or that Mylio sets up for you!) is portable, and not dependent on the application.

  • With Mylio, your photos are stored locally on your computers/devices (and therefore the fee is not set by storage/gigabytes). If you want cloud backup too, you can opt for that, either through Amazon or Google.

  • Mylio has a great website with online videos, help topics, FAQs, etc.

For more information on Mylio, including subscription plans, visit mylio.com.

If you need help at any point in your photo organization journey, Infinity Photo Solutions is here to help! Contact us today for a complimentary photo organizing consultation.