wrangling photos

I know it’s fashionable to say that one isn’t into New Year resolutions, but I am. Maybe it’s the word “resolution” that people have a problem with. It sounds pretty final. But I think a new year is the perfect time to take stock and decide what your goals are. It’s the push I need to get going on things I’ve been putting off.

Like organizing my photos. I’ve always been “the photographer” among friends and family, but this started in earnest about five years ago when my husband bought me a real camera. My sweet Farley was my first muse, but of course when Stella was born the number of daily photos I took increased exponentially. At first, I stayed in the habit of printing photos after each event and adding them to leather-bound albums. Then at one point I stopped doing that, and when I went to print everything that was “pending” the total cost exceeded $200. Plus, I already have dozens of photo albums tucked into a window alcove in our living room; they are literally gathering cobwebs. None has been touched since we moved into our apartment and I put them up there, in November 2007.

Obviously, this is not a sustainable long-term practice. My goals for this year, hopefully the first quarter of this year, are to:

  1. Move all photos from computer, iPad and CDs onto a separate hard drive.
  2. Folder photos with date and event information for easy searching.
  3. Create photo books of each year, and/or each major “life event.”
  4. Replace most framed photos in my house with new ones. 
  5. Print on canvas at least one photo for display at home. 
I think one of the challenges of the new era of photography is dealing with the volume. Instead of being limited to 24 exposures, there is no limit. That’s why I have 50 photos of Stella lying on the bed on any given day during her first three months of life. It’s very freeing but at the same time so burdensome. It’s like Sophie’s Choice deciding whether to hit delete. Will I be sorry? Is there some tiny, abstract something in this one frame that is different from the rest?
I’m starting today with shopping for suitable storage hardware and I’ve bookmarked the album service I want to use, Artifact Uprising. There is no place in life where the phrase “you get what you pay for” rings truer than with photography. Both the taking and the printing. 
And now if I’m going to have more photo books I guess I need a coffee table. Well, let’s not kid ourselves.

4 thoughts on “wrangling photos

  1. I've been thinking about how to manage our photos recently too. I realised that none of the framed pics we have show my 2 yr old over the age of about 9 months and my dad has been asking for our pics for his photo book of the year for 2012. Also with a new arrival due in a few weeks, we really need to get everything backed up and straightened out in readiness for the next big photo event. Am feeling inspired after reading this to add another couple of things to my growing list of resolutions: I rarely succeed with them but always like compiling the lists anyway.

  2. I regularly make books for my grandmother because she is so not digital. But those are the only ones I do, and I just make those flimsy small ones so she can put them in her purse. I have a framed photo of my niece at around 18 months; she's now 6. O_0

  3. I took an online class dealing with how to manage the mass of photos on an ongoing basis. The lady suggested for our digital files to make folders by year. Inside the year, make quarterly folders. Inside the quarter folder, make an additional folder "seasonal favorites." It has worked for me when I took the time to do this.

  4. That makes sense. I think the key is doing this up front rather than having to do it all at once. If I had a system like you describe I could just dump all the "favorites" into a book each January and be done with it.

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