top of page

Keeping School Year Photos Organized Is as Easy as A, B, C

Two children pretending to take photos with toy cameras.

*Some of the links included in this post are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you choose to click through and make a purchase.

It’s that time of year when our kids are bringing home their fall photos, marking another year in the ridiculously fast trajectory from baby to adult.

This year, I was surprised with a fun cowlick in my son’s hair that defied gravity, sticking almost directly up, with a closed-mouth smile, while my daughter brought her long hair intentionally in front of half of her face! Anyone else?

Like it or not, these pictures will join a growing catalog of images as you try to hold on to every important moment and milestone throughout the school year. Between school plays, sporting events, and class parties, these images can start to pile up, especially given the near-limitless storage capacity of your digital devices and the cloud.

I am here to tell you that it is ok to let some of these go. In fact, doing so will not only help you stay on top of your photo organization but will also help you and your family enjoy your memories even more.

We're sharing a few simple steps that you can take throughout this school year so that your favorite photos stay within your reach and don’t end up lost in a digital abyss.

Organizing School Year Photos With A, B, C

A is for Albums: We are in an era of unprecedented ease when it comes to snapping photos. There is no longer an evident cost associated with taking pictures, so we shoot them in bursts and end up with a surplus of images which are deposited into our phone’s photo library or onto a memory card. If you imagine all these images as physical prints in a pile on the floor, numbering in the hundreds, if not thousands, you can see how quickly a disorganized photo library can get out of control.

If you open your phone’s photo library right now, how many pictures are dumped into a single place, labeled “recents?” At this point, you’ve likely let your pile get so large that your only choice is to sit and scroll through a thousand images while the person waiting to see that “one picture” loses interest entirely. We've all been there.

Screen recording of creating a photo album on iPhone.

I suggest setting aside time once a week, or at most, once a month to sort your images into albums. If this is an unreasonable ask, then hire it out. There are photo organizing services out there (uh hmm) that can do this for you, quite efficiently I might add. The important thing is that it gets on your calendar and is done regularly to avoid a pile-up.

If you're tackling this yourself, below is an example of how to do this for iPhone users. This can be modified slightly if you are an Android user, by replacing your Photo Library with whichever photo management system you are currently using, as almost all of them have some type of Album functionality you can use.

How to Quickly Create Albums from Your Device

  1. On your iPhone, open your Photo Library.

  2. At the bottom of the screen, select “Albums”

  3. Click the + sign in the top right corner, then tap “New Album”

  4. Give your new album a title such as “First Day of School 2022,” then tap “Save”

  5. Simply tap on the photos you wish to add to that album, and they will be selected as indicated by a blue check mark.

  6. Once you have selected the images that belong in your album, click “Done”

Voila! You now have organized folders that will allow you to find what you’re looking for in a fraction of the time.

Messy iPhone camera roll that needs to be organized.

B is for Banish (screenshots): Okay, so I used a little poetic license there, but screenshots are the worst! Yes, they have some utility when traveling or surfing the web, but these pesky images clog up your photo library and device storage long after their usefulness has expired.

As a part of your weekly or monthly cleanup process, take the time to delete these things. Luckily, your smartphone has a screenshots folder built into it, so all you have to do is go into that folder and delete all but the absolutely necessary screen grabs. Something is so satisfying about cleansing your device of this unneeded clutter. Enjoy it! Few chores in life are this easy.

If you find screenshots that you need to keep past your regularly scheduled maintenance, then move them over to your notes application. This is a better app to help capture, organize and store screenshots and other non-photo images if needed. Learn how by downloading our Clutter-Free Photo Tip (it's free!).

C is for Collate (with the help of apps): While it is useful to go through your phone’s photo library to organize your images into folders, you don’t have to be in this alone. Apps like Google Photos, Apple Photos and Amazon Photos have advanced, AI-assisted (artificial intelligence) tech to do the sorting for you, with the added benefit of freeing up space on your phone, and securing your memories in the case of a lost or damaged device.

Cloud-based apps have their advantages and can sync seamlessly with your smartphone. They can also automatically offer helpful organization to highlight familiar faces and other themes that show up regularly in your photos. Using these smart albums to aid in your organization can make curating your photo collection a breeze!

These apps also have facial recognition capability, and will automatically sort the people (and pets!) from your images into folders. Amazon Prime members get unlimited storage of all their original resolution images, and Google Photos, which is free, offers up to 15GB of cloud storage.

A few lesser-known photo organization apps we've come to know and love here at SurroundUs include FOREVER (great for generational family archiving) and Mylio Photos (allows users to escape the cloud).

D is for Deletion and De-Duplication: Did I say A, B, C’s? Well, D is my bonus tip, and maybe the most important of all.

A camera roll full of duplicate photos.

I urge you to think small in terms of your photo collection, adopting a less is more approach.

There are myriad reasons to pare down your photo library, amongst them growing concerns about the cloud and climate change, your mental health, and the increased enjoyment of a museum-worthy personal photo gallery.

I encourage you to be a photo assassin, deleting low-quality, redundant shots, and leaving behind just a couple of your best snaps. Trust us, your children and grandchildren will thank you later.

Helpful Tools for Deduplicating Photos

Some apps can help you with this task, such as Gemini, and Smart Cleaner. Their software will purge your library of near and exact duplicates so you don’t have to wade through your images one by one.

While these user-friendly apps are designed to help you eliminate duplicates, there are also super-powered pro-de-duplicators that can take this even further helping to filter out near duplicates and date differences, such as PhotoSweeper or Duplicate Cleaner Pro. These tools can be really great if you're tech-savvy or are familiar with the configuration settings needed to make them run properly, but they can also be a bit technical and confusing if you're not. That said, you may end up wanting some professional help or tips from an expert if you decide to work with one of these tools.

Keeping your school-year photos spic and span as you go is simple, but may not be easy if you are already juggling parenthood and a career. There is no shame in enlisting the help of professionals who can clear up years of photo gallery neglect, and get you on the right path to freedom from digital clutter. If you think you might need help or aren’t sure where to start, book a free consultation with one of our friendly photo-organizing professionals.

80 views0 comments