photo bombed

UPDATE: wow! yall are awesome. so glad i am not the only one losing my mind. i am so totally stealing lots of your amazing strategies for organization going forward.

i had to share what a reader sent me, the timing is too perfect. snapfish is doing their 1 cent prints sale this week. check it out! now i am way motivated to organize, cull, upload and order!

Get 200 4" x 6" prints for just $2 or 100 4" x 6" prints for just $1. Just use coupon JULY200PRNTS for 200 prints or JULY100PRNTS for 100 prints. Order today – these hot offers end at 6:00 p.m. PST on July 26.*

i am drowning in a sea of digital pictures. i have been so messy about storing, organizing and deleting unneeded pics that my little world has finally toppled and i am crushed. we have 2 cameras, 3 memory cards, 2 laptops (one work and one home) and 1 external hard drive. we have 5 versions saved of some pictures and just the one version on the card of other photos. it's making me so insane

i want to get to a point where everything is on the external hard drive and my memory cards are kept clean and our computers have very little on them too. i used to want to keep 3 sets: the card, the laptop and the external, for you know, just in case, but i cant live like that anymore because i never keep up with that system, and really? 3 copies of each? isnt that a bit drastic? i have had computers crash and i have had external hard drives crash, but never both at the same time. this digital era of having a million versions of a photo everywhere on demand has made life HARDER for me rather than easier.

hopefully a cloud storage system will emerge that is good enough to use (i am not impressed with amazon's for photo storage: no thumbnail preview, cant download more than one file at a time) that can be an offsite back up for the external. but until then:

-i WILL delete the pictures that are not treasures. even if it is of my babies. this does not make me a bad mom. i will not hold on to a picture of judah's blurry left foot "just in case" it gets amputated and i want to remember it again one day. (yes i think these thoughts...cue psycho theme music)

-i will NOT worry about the pictures all being deleted. if i loved them that much, they are on the blog or printed out already. for thousands of years, moms just had their memories of their babies to look back on. who decided that i needed 6 zillion memories in digital format? and maybe all these pictures are making our brain-cameras lazy about really living in and soaking up the moments because, oh well, i got it on film.

-i will stop lying to myself about printing these all out one day. it's just not going to happen. maybe .05% of all the pics i am taking and holding onto like grim electronic death are actually good enough that i would put them in a frame in my house. so why am i letting them stress me out in their digital form? not worth it!

anybody got any great tips on digital photo organization or is everyone out there just living with this digital version of a huge junk closet of shame that you slam the door on and pretend doesnt exist except for when you go to get something out and see the carnage within and want to disintegrate with shame and stress and overwhelmedness?

4th of july. yes, and you better believe there are like 6 other versions of this picture on my camera and computer that i cant bring myself to delete. make it stop!

give it up, people. what rules do you use as far as taking/storing/keeping/deleting your photos to keep you from just chucking it all and just going back to funsavers? because i am thisclose to doing that.


  1. Oh MY, I could have written this very post!! I'm awful about saving every tiny photo, and the madness must soon end. But, I do have them organized. Here's how I do it:

    We have 3 cameras, 2 laptops, a desktop, 3 external hard drives, and a jillion memory cards.

    I organize our photos into family photos -> year -> month -> event (and for the "everyday" photos, I have a "random" folder in most months). I keep 2 copies of the "family photos" file -- one on each of our external hard drives. This way, at least in theory, if one of the hard drives goes down, then I have time to get backed up before the other breaks.

    It's hard to keep my laptop cleaned off (I have only 8GB of storage left at this moment -- must get some cleaning off accomplished soon!) but I usually sit down every couple weeks and try to get everything organized.

    Otherwise, I live in a state of disorganized craziness. And that, I canNOT handle!

  2. I am TERRIBLE at deleting photos. I also have 10 versions of every single photo I've taken. They are spread out on 3 computers, one external drive, and various intricately labeled CD's (this was done well before Carter was born, when I had time to complain about never having time).

    Now I try to put everything on the external and that is THE backup plan. I am way behind on this though. And I have various folders on the drive. Different events have their own folder. Layne and Carter have theirs own (for "firsts", bdays, etc) and then I have a 'lils' folder that has all the pics of them and us that isn't a vacation or something like that. And it is divided into years and then months.

    I am pretty good about taking the pics off the camera and putting it on the main comp we use before it gets too full. But I am way behind on putting them on the external drive and even further behind on organizing them on there! Oh for this reason, I have an imports folder on the external that I put all new photos on so I know the last thing I moved there and that it hasn't been organized yet.

    Hope that is helpful and makes some kind of sense! Good luck!

  3. I will keep a close eye on these comments...especially since my 'blog as a backup' thing is now down the drain (DON'T DELETE PHOTOS OUT OF GOOGLE+ PEOPLE!). Would love someone to recommend a good cloud based storage option. I'm sure I'll be doing a similar post soon.

  4. Oh geez. I just started addressing this problem. I only have one munchkin and only 15 months of pictures to go through. I organize them like a crazy person on our computer (a folder per "month" of Aniela's age--ie 0-1 month, 1 month, 2 months...) plus copies in folders for "Aniela and Mommy" "Aniela and Grandma/Grandpa", etc, and I'm hoping to print out a bunch at once when snapfish has another penny print sale. Then I buy photo albums on clearance at Target or brag books for a dollar and filling those puppies up!

    I remember loving to go through old pictures when I was a kid, so I'm hoping to have a rubbermaid of albums to send with my kids when they move out. Computer crashing/viruses really freak me out, so I'm a hard copy girl!

    Every time I get pictures off of our 2 cameras I have the card automatically erased. I only lost pictures one time from doing that--of course the adorable ones of Aniela's first taste of solid foods. Oh, well. Hopefully you find a system for you that is quick and easy and destressitizing! Though I will admit to once contemplating hiring a sitter just so I could finally get caught up with our pictures...One nap at time, one nap at a time... :)

  5. have you tried Picasa? I just upload them all there and delete them from my computer. I think I paid 5 bucks for 20 GB of storage and it is annual. Since they are stored online I don't think you can really loose them, I hope! Good luck!

  6. I think you captured the struggle of many a mom. What I've started doing is attempting to delete all of the "expendable" photos RIGHT AWAY, immediately after I upload them (or at least the very first time I go through them). I'm trying to develop this habit so that at least I will be preventing future overload. It's not really helping me with the past backlog, though. I've definitely been thinking harder about the Picasa idea.

  7. This post is exactly how I felt about my photos a couple of months ago. With my baby boy, I couldn't bear to erase ANY photos -even the blurry ones. After a little research and planning, this system is what works for me . . .

    1. I frequently download all the photos from the memory cards to my computer - like weekly.
    2. I edit if necessary and delete them all from my memory cards.
    3. I upload them all to Shutterfly.com. Shutterfly has unlimited storage in whatever resolution you upload your photos as. And it is FREE!! They also NEVER delete your photos. It is my poor man's extra online backup. They also run specials on their print prices often.
    4. I move all the photos over to my external hard drive.
    5. I order hard copies from Shutterfly when they are running a special and put them in albums.

    This system gives me three copies in different formats - one with me, one online, and one in print, and it keeps my computer memory free.

    I don't know if your family bugs you for photos like mine does, but you can send them a link to your shutterfly albums and they can order prints of whatever photos they want. MAJOR plus for me.

    I hope this helps. I was pulling out my hair trying to find a system I was comfortable with. This one is working great so far.

  8. I like to think of myself as an organized person but I totally stink in this area. I move them to a hard drive but now my hard drive is acting crazy and telling me that it needs to be encrypted and I can't take anything off or add any other photos. My only backup are the photos that I have added to the blog which are my favorites any way. The only thing that keeps my memory card is clean is that it doesn't have much space so I have to delete the photos often so I can take more. Dan has a camera but I don't think he has ever taken a picture of MB with it so that does help some. I haven't printed out a picture since MB was 3 months old (terrible, I know) so I am thinking about making a book on-line of the top ones and calling it a day. If you figure it out a good system, please share!!! Also, no worries about the swaddle. Just send me an invoice when you have the fabric and an idea of the price. I can't wait to see it!!!

  9. I organize my photos by year and month, with twelve months of photo folders under each year.

    At the end of each month I go through my photos and pick the best and delete the rest. If I have 10 versions of one 'scene', I try to narrow it down to just two or three, best case just one. Then I back everything up onto my external hard drive. I have a friend who tries to get each month down to just 20-30 photos which she then uploads to a photo printing site, prints and files them.

    Once a year I make a photo book with Picaboo with the best pics of the year.

  10. agree with wading patiently (hess)

  11. I too am afraid to delete photos. I take so many pictures and have such a hard time choosing my favorites! Gah. I have about 3 years of photos to organize, delete the duds, and label on my computer. I am no help, but I'll make up for it by showering you with gushiness over that ADORABLE family pic! LOVE IT!