Feature Q + A :: How to Organize and Enjoy Your Digital Photos

Sandra Williams is owner and Photo Solutions Specialist at Infinity Photo Solutions, (www.infinityphotosolutions.com) offering photo solutions and services to individuals who are overwhelmed with their printed and/or digital photos.  Sandra is a Certified Photo Organizer through the Association of Personal Photo Organizers, and considers it both a joy and a privilege to help her clients get their photos organized like they’ve always wanted them to be.

1.  What is the best way to organize your photos in your computer? I find that I take lots and transfer them into a file about once a month, but then have a hard time locating them when I need one specific shot. I'm sure this is not uncommon :)
The keys to staying on top of your photo management are to make it as easy, manageable, and automated as possible.  There are many apps and programs now that you can use to wirelessly transfer your photos from your phone to your computer.  If you use a digital camera, make a habit of unloading the photos from your camera card after every major event.  Once you have your photos on your computer, whether you use a photo management program or a simple file structure to keep your photos organized, it’s important to organize them in a manner in which they will be easy to find. For most people sorting by date makes the most sense, so having folders by year/month works well.  Finally, adding keyword/tags to digital photos will help you find your photos by person, place or event.  Think of tags as the information we use to write on the back of the photo, such as a person’s name, a holiday or event information, but with a digital file, it is searchable!

2.  Do you recommend a certain photo printing company like Shutterfly or Snapfish?  Or do you print photos directly at your office? What's the ballpark charge for something like that?
I do not generally print photos at home or my office unless I need a few for a quick project.  I love the quality of photo prints from vendors like Mpix and Persnickety Prints.

3.  Can you help to organize photos and crop them in preparation for printing a photo book? How do your clients normally organize pictures for a book?  (Yearly, special occasion, vacation, other theme)
Absolutely!  Custom photo book design and printing is one of the many services offered by Infinity Photo Solutions.  Our design approach is to create a book specific to our clients’ needs.  Some clients are looking for a book to celebrate a special occasion such as a wedding, birthday or graduation, and others might be looking to make an annual family book. 

4.  I still have items and old pictures to put together a scrapbook/baby book for my kids. Can you help with this?
Yes! We offer both traditional and digital scrapbooking services.  You can choose whichever you prefer or suits your project best.
5.  How do you recommend people to store their photos…computer hard drive, external hard drive, the cloud?

This is a great question!  Most photo organizers recommend you have 4 copies of your digital images as part of your back up plan:

1.    Original images on your computer hard drive

2.    One copy automatically backed up on an external hard drive

3.    One copy stored offsite or in the cloud

4.    Print your most important photos. 
6.  I don't understand the Cloud!  How can I make it work for me?
There are a lot of cloud options for your photos so it can be very confusing!  First, ask yourself some questions:  What kind of storage are you seeking?  Do you want to back up your photos?  Share your photos?  Both?  What features are important to you?  Privacy?  Ability to download in full-resolution easily?  You are safest with the major players who are well established in the back up field and/or focused on photo storage.  Many sites will allow you to upload some number of images for free, but you should expect to pay a monthly or annual subscription for services that offer privacy and freedom from advertising and information mining.

7.  Do you do family gallery walls?  What's the best size picture to frame to hang on a wall?
I have assisted many clients in choosing and ordering frames and canvases for their photos, but I would call on the skilled ladies of 1970 Dogwood Street to design a gallery wall!
8.  How do you generally take pictures? With a smart phone or a real camera?
I lugged around my regular camera for a long time, but as smart phone cameras continued to improve, I finally got to the point where I mostly use my cell phone for taking photos.  There are some great features on the camera like taking photo “bursts” – I love getting photos of my kids in the air while they’re jumping off a diving board or taking a jump shot in basketball! 

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