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Photo Organizing: 5 Steps to Success (Instead of Swearing)

I have 618,834 photos on my phone. Or something. It may be more or less. I'm too afraid to look. And I think there are some in the cloud. Whatever the cloud even means. I am terrified of the cloud. This is an issue for another day.

I don't scrapbook or keep photo albums. I don't save stuff. Like, ever. I keep telling my children their artwork is tucked away in that special box at the top our closet when in fact the only thing in that box is absolutely nothing. I use it to hide Christmas presents and sometimes, sadly, Hershey Kisses. Also an issue for another day.

I do know that those photos lingering on random devices only become meaningful when they are curated. This, of course, feels overwhelming (to me) but I decided to start with the most recent photos first before delving into the past. Once I catch up with 2017 through current day, I am determined to tackle previous years. Here are five steps to get you (and me) there:

1. Find a Home:

Before you do anything, make sure you have all your photos in one place. Mine automatically load to my iPhoto on my Mac; I don't know how or why this happens but I'm just grateful that the magic happens.

2. Give Everything a Name:

I​ then create albums by year and month because then when you sort albums they will sort correctly. If you name each album Month and then Year they will sort alphabetically and it is confusing and messy. I learned this the hard way. Don't be a Stephanie.

I also create albums for each client, like this:

I also have some albums that I use strictly for work - Social Media, Blog Photos, Before and After, Chairs (full disclosure, I sorta have an obsession with chairs).

3. Delete:

Once you've created albums based on years and months, delete every photo that is a duplicate or isn't flattering. Double chin? Lazy eye? Bye.

4. Edit:

Edit your photos. iPhoto has automatic edit tools, but you can use Snapseed or the free version of PhotoShop to add filters. InstaBeauty was my go-to photo editing tool as it made me and everyone around me look seriously phenomenal but then InstaBeauty changed their app and now they are dead to me.

5. Pick A Product

Once your files are in order, you can start creating some albums or books. I prefer books because it saves time. And I can snap photos of kids' artwork or notes and add them in and then throw that sh*t away. If you would rather print all your photos and put them in albums yourself, go for it. Here are tips on how to conquer that.

If you prefer the photo book idea, these are some of the best, most cost effective resources. Don't panic. Dealing with photos in general is like a workout class at 5:30AM. You hate every minute of it but you're happy afterwards.


This is my go-to for photo books. I love the size of the books and the simplicity of the site. And the customer service is outstanding, which is a biggie for me. My friend Christy L told me about Chatbooks and then showed me their hilarious marketing video and I felt like this could be my answer because I am a sucker for funny and easy. I made four 'Book of Blackford' Chatbooks. Christy hasn't made any. #winning

MacPhoto Book:

If you are a MacBook user, this is a good bet. The directions are simple and easy to follow and you sort of save a step by using this platform if you are an Apple user. I use a MacBook pro but haven't made books through the site. Interested? Take a peek here.


Shutterfly is one of the original photo-book sites. The great thing is that they offer lots of products so if you are looking for customized gifts for grandparents or yourself, this is a great option. And the site is easy to use. But, alas, too many options for me. I don't like to make more decisions than necessary in any given day as I am busy keeping the chidlren alive, keeping the clients happy, and hiding the Hershey Kisses.

Whatever you decide to do, just do. I can tell you, based on experience, that organizing this messy little corner of your life is worth it. Once you're done, treat yourself to some chocolate...I know where to find some.

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