Even before I was a blogger, I was someone who liked to take photos, save them, and print them. My goodness, I can’t even tell you how many digital cameras I went through in college, back before iPhones were a thing. I left many digital cameras on the floor of college bars…eek!
Tips to Organize Photos
Now, I take most of my photos for the blog with my DSLR camera and for capturing everyday life, I use my iPhone. With Rory here, I find that I’m constantly taking photos and videos. She is changing so much and I don’t want to forget any moment of this special time. But because I’m taking so many photos, I’ve had to figure out a system to get those hundreds (heck, thousands!) of photos organized. Here’s my system to organize photos that is still very much a work in progress…
It’s rare that I just snap one photo, especially since I’m usually trying to get Rory to smile or look at the camera. I usually set my iPhone to “live” and then snap away until I get one that I like. Because of this, my camera roll is often full of tons of shots from the same moment.
Weekly, I try to hop into my camera roll and delete any photos that just don’t make the cut. I’ll choose my favorite photo and then delete the rest. Sometimes I’ll then pop that photo into the VSCO app to do a quick edit to crop it, brighten it, etc. (You will find more tips on editing photos on your phone in this blog post.)
Create a Shared Album
As soon as Rory was born, we created an “Aurora” album on our iPhone that we shared with all of our family members. I’ll try to upload a video or photo of Rory most days so our loved ones can stay up to date with what’s new with Rory. It’s a nice way to stay in touch, especially because we can’t see family as much these days.
This album is also nice because anyone can add photos of Rory to it. So if Rory goes to my brother’s house for the day, he or my sister-in-law can add pictures of Rory from that day. It’s a nice way to stay up to date with what they’re doing over there. I try not to overload this folder with all the videos and photos I take. Instead, I put my favorites in there and it’s a good way to narrow down the very best shots and videos of Rory.
One Second Everyday
I’ve also been trying my best to capture one video of Rory a day. I then use the app One Second Everyday to compile all of these moments. When I’m heading to bed for the night, I can easily upload one second of a video from that day to the program. My plan is to do this for as long as I can, saving each year of Rory’s life. The program is super easy to use. I just have the free version, but you can upgrade so it has music and takes the watermark off the video.
While I love photos, there is just something really special about video. Seeing her moving; hearing her cute little voice; watching her wave or clap…I adore it all. I enjoy taking photos of Rory, but I always try to capture video too.
Rory’s Monthly Photos
Each month, I take a photo of Rory. I try to create the same setup every time so it really shows how much she has grown and changed.
I take them in her nursery as she lays on her vintage rug, wearing a white onesie and a bow or a hat. Next to her, I put a block with a number on it to indicate how many months old she is. I put these on my schedule for the day she turns another month old. That way, I don’t let the time go by and forget to take it. This post has some tips on capturing the best photos of your little one with your phone.
I try to take these after she wakes up from a nap and has eaten. That way, she is happy and a tad more patient with her click-happy mama. I just use my iPhone and take a ton of pictures in a few minutes. I then cull them down and choose my favorite, edit it right then, and add it to my shared album.
Working on Rory’s Baby Book
Once I take Rory’s monthly photo, I then print all of my favorites from that month for her baby book. It’s pretty easy to choose because they’re all saved in that shared “Aurora” folder. I print mine at Walgreens for a few bucks and pick them up that day. I find that I have to work on Rory’s baby book right around her monthly date or else I forget. I do my best to record how she has changed, what we did that past month, milestones, etc. It’s crazy how you forget things so quickly, so I like to get it all written down immediately. Usually Finn and I will sit down with a cocktail and discuss all of our favorite moments from the month, then I’ll get to work on the book.
We use this baby book from Artifact Uprising and the quality is phenomenal. I will say, I wish they had more room for photos. I find that I usually tape photos over some of the writing prompt areas because it’s hard for me to narrow them down. The baby book has pages for each month until Rory turns one, so I’ll plan to keep on recording until then.
If you’re not interested in doing a traditional baby book, or don’t have the time, I also have this really small booklet from Letterfolk. It’s nice because it contains one tiny monthly sheet for all the stats of the month, like height, weight, milestones, etc. It only takes me about ten minutes to write a little bit about the past month and I don’t include any photos. So if you’re looking for a less time-intensive baby book, this is a good one.
Rory will be one in April (ahhhh, where has the time gone?!) and I’m planning to make a family yearbook with photos from her first year. I know there are lots of great book options out there (Artifact Uprising, Blurb, Chatbooks…just to name a few), but I haven’t decided which one I’m going with just yet. I know some of them connect to your Instagram account, so you can easily upload your fave shots from the year. I would do this if my Instagram account was just personal and not business. My plan is to just choose my fave photos of the year and make a slim book to save forever and ever. I’ll keep you updated as I work on that closer to April.
Backing It All Up
Finally, I bought a separate hard drive specifically for Rory’s documents and photos. All of the photos I take on my phone are automatically backed up in the cloud, but I also save all of those favorite monthly photos that I print on my Rory drive. This also includes any photos I take of Rory for the blog that don’t live on my phone. I find that setting aside the time to do all of this near Rory’s monthly birthdays is the best way for me to stay on top of it.
So there you have it…my tips to organize photos! It’s not a perfect system by any means, and I’m always tweaking as I go. But my main goal is to actually use the photos that I take. Whether it’s swapping out the pictures we have around the house, setting a new wallpaper on my phone, or printing pictures for Rory’s baby book, it’s really special to see these everyday life moments captured. And if you need some ideas on how to display family photos, this blog post has lots of them. (I’m still working on implementing some of them around our house.)
Now, tell me, how do you organize photos of your family? It can be so overwhelming and I’m always looking for ideas to make my system work a little better. Can you offer any input on your favorite photo books as I work on mine closer to April?Casey