Friday, July 20, 2012

Sorting Through Photographs

Like everyone else, I have boxes and boxes of photographs to scan and organize, and on top of that, I have around 12,000 digital photos that I've taken over the years.  The boxes sit largely untouched in a closet in the spare bedroom, but I've recently begun the task of organizing the digital photos and uploading them to Dropbox, so I can share them across my Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, and MacBook Air).   Dropbox will also make it easy to share photos with family members and friends.
My first digital camera was a big, clunky 1 megapixel model from Kodak, and I loved it.  I took photos of everything.  I've since moved up to a Canon Rebel and a Panasonic Lumix GF3, along with a small point-and-shoot, which means I now have digital photos coming out my ears.  Every vacation results in photographs of anything from skyline shots, to photos of landscaping and trees, local businesses, food, and local residents, to name a few.  Every time we go to San Diego, I feel compelled to take photos of the Hotel Del Coronado and the San Diego skyline, or sunset over Point Loma.  I also have a four year old grandson, so you can imagine the number of photos I have of him.  As a result, I have a ton of duplicate photos and photos of things I don't even remember what they are.
As part of my digital organization project, I've been ruthlessly deleting duplicate photos (seriously, how many photos of the San Diego skyline or the Hotel Del do I really need??!!), as well as photos of things like giraffes at the San Diego Zoo or that shot of a weird tree I took in Colorado.  I've taken what's left and am in the process of uploading them to different folders on Dropbox.
I started with well over 12,000 digital photos, and am down to 7,000.  Everything that's already been uploaded to Dropbox was the easy stuff, i.e., the stuff that wasn't duplicate, and could be easily categorized.  What's left are family photos that will need to be looked at carefully (are their eyes closed?  do I know who they are?  are there ten photos of the same thing? is the photo meaningful?) and then delete or upload.
This whole project has made me realize a couple of things:
1.  You should never let things pile up.  As you take photographs, they should be sorted through/deleted/filed in whatever system you use.  Otherwise, you will end up like me, with thousands of photos to sort through.
2.  Be mindful of what you take pictures of.  That giraffe might be cute, but when all is said and done, do you really want a photo of it to sort through later?
And that's just the digital photographs!  Once I get them all sorted through and uploaded, it's time to move on to the boxes and boxes of regular photographs that are lurking around my guest room.
Good luck to anyone who is undertaking a similar project!!

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