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I like to think about activities I can do now that my future self will be grateful for if I do them today. The common tasks that come to mind are: doing the dishes from start to finish, one load of laundry, laying out my clothes for tomorrow, exercising for 30 minutes, eating healthy, etc. I’ve come to realize you can also apply this principle to photo management.
You might think that keeping your photos safe and organized will take longer than it does. I’ve compiled a list that I believe are tasks you can do today that your future self will be glad you completed. Some are simple and easy to do, and you should make it a daily or weekly routine, and others will take you more time, and you’ll need to have time set aside to complete. So let’s get started!
1. Keep printed photos & home movies in safe places
It’s time to get the boxes of pictures off the floor, out of basements and attics. You shouldn’t store your photos in places where there is a significant fluctuation in temperatures. The basement can be damp and harbor mold. If you need to store your pictures in your basement, run a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity of your basement. For sure this is a photo-related task that your future self will be glad you did!
2. Keep a journal
We think we’ll remember the details, but many times we don’t. Consider keeping a journal of trips and events so you can recall your favorite memories about them. If you don’t want to keep a journal, consider writing a few notes down in your calendar. I love going back over my calendar to see the little details that I forgot that my kids did or said. I don’t keep a daily journal, but I’ve kept a journal for our camper that includes details of our family camping trips. It’s fun to look back and read the details of our adventures. Another bonus of keeping a journal is you’ll be able to create digital photo books easier if you write down the details in a journal or calendar.
3. Write down quotes from your kids
When my kids were little, I kept notes in my calendar of the funny things they said. You never knew what was going to come out of their mouths. When they were toddlers, it was fun to see how much progress they were making with their speech. I can utilize the quotes kept in my calendar in scrapbooks and digital photo books.
4. Take GOOD detailed pictures instead of boring the same old same old.
Practice your camera skills. Get out the “big” camera and get some good detailed shots of the things you might forget. The lace on your daughter’s Christmas dress or dirt around your son’s mouth are details you may forget in the decades to come. Capturing those special moments will bring back gratitude to fill your soul.
5. Take more videos
I think back in the days of camcorders, we recorded more family memories with a recording device. Now we might get 30 seconds to a few minutes snapshot of a ball game or Christmas concert. 15-25 years ago, people recorded the whole event. Do that again! It’s fun to go back and watch. You can always delete it, but you can’t get it back if you didn’t record it in the first place. Taking more videos, I know for a fact, is a task that your future self will be glad you did.
6. Download photos regularly
Get the pictures off your camera cards and onto your computer or digital hub. Next time you use your camera, you’ll be prepared. It will keep your photos safer with less chance of losing the images. Camera cards do go bad, and you would hate to have pictures that you forgot to download still on your camera. I have a digital reminder on my phone to download photos on the 1st and 15th of every month. My future self is grateful for my monthly habit.
7. Back up your photos & the computer automatically
I like Backblaze because it’s off-site and will continuously back up everything on my laptop. I don’t have to think about it. I have peace of mind knowing that my photos are safe from fires, floods, thefts, and hard drive crashes. Most of us will have a computer crash or will lose our phones. If you back up consistently, you won’t have to worry that you’ll lose your favorite photos. This is undoubtedly a photo-related task that your future self will be glad you completed.
I also use an app called PhotoSync to sync my photos from my iPhone to my laptop. I love this app and the assurance it gives me that my images and videos are safe!
8. Charge your camera batteries
Regularly charge your camera batteries, so your cameras are ready to go when you want to capture some memories with your family. My camera batteries last a long time when the camera is not in use. If you make it a habit to check the status of your batteries, you’ll be ready to go.
9. Scan & tag your printed photos to easily find them
You’ll be thankful when all your favorite prints are digitized. Scanning your photos will save them from natural disasters. Once your photos are scanned, you can quickly find them if you spend some time tagging or keywording the images. They become easily searchable. Without a doubt, your future self will thank you when you complete a project like this. You can learn more about tagging in this post here.
10. Make a yearly photo book
It’s fun to look back at a year worth of photos. One of the best ways to do this is to create a digital photo book. Places like Shutterfly or Walgreens make it easy to complete. You can keep it simple with their autofill feature. You can save the photobook and wait to print it when the company has a flash sale.
11. Keep all your printed photos together
Keeping your photos all in one space goes back to tip number one. Still, it’s worth considering if you keep all your photo albums in one spot. It makes it easier to complete projects and to enjoy your photo albums and photo books.
12. Keep all your digital images together
You might not be able to keep your digital photos close to your printed photos. However, with enough digital storage space, you can keep all your digital images together in one digital hub. What is a digital hub? It’s a digital storage solution that houses all your digital photographs in one place. It can be on your Laptop, Desktop, on an external hard drive, or in the cloud.
13. Share your photos
You don’t have to share your pictures on social media. However, you can share your photographs with your closest family members and friends. Send them a text, print them out, and give them as gifts. There are so many photo gift options. You can make something or pay for a photo gift.
14. Keep enough storage on your phone
If you keep more space for memory on your phone, you’ll have room for future videos and photos. When purchasing a new phone, you’ll need to consider how much future space you’ll need to store photos, videos, and the rest of the contents of your phone.
15. Keep your phone charged
I need to work on this one! My phone is ancient, and the battery life is suffering. If I use it, the battery drains quickly, so keeping it charged or chargers around in many places helps me prepare for the future.
16. Put your phone down & enjoy the moment
I’m guilty! We can become so distracted by the events going on in the world that we aren’t present for the ones we care about the most. Our phones distract us from enjoying the moment. Put them down and enjoy it!
17. Store cameras in the same spot & keep all cameras together-
I keep mine in the kitchen under the desk. I know where to go when I want to grab it. I know where it is if I need to have someone else get it for me. It keeps me organized and ready to go.
18. Print your photos
It’s time to upload your pictures to a photo print shop and print some photos. I believe printed photos are a more tangible way of connecting us to our memories. Printed photographs allow us to relive our favorite moments without being connected to a device or the internet.
19. Display your photos
Now that you spent some time printing your photos. Get the pictures on your wall or bookshelves and enjoy them. Make art projects or physical scrapbooks with photographs. Include your kids, family, or friends as another way to enjoy the memories you made.
20. Organize and toss your memorabilia
Take a few minutes to go through your kids’ memorabilia. Keep your favorite items and throw the rest.
21. Scan your memorabilia
After you sorted through the memorabilia and kids’ artwork, consider scanning to save space and preserve it for decades. We can’t keep everything. By scanning your favorites, you’ll be able to enjoy the best and get rid of the rest.
22. ENJOY your photos & videos
Time to get out the photo books, look through the digital photo collections, and press play on the videos. The purpose of taking photos, organizing them, and preserving them is to enjoy them. So do it!
Whew, we made it through my top 22 photo-related tasks to do now, so your future self will thank you! It boils down to setting some time aside to get your little photo projects done so you can enjoy the photos later. It’s just like the daily chores that you should conquer to have a cleaner home. Our pictures and videos are some of our prized possessions, so by completing these tasks, you’ll be on your way to preserving your favorite memories for decades to come. Let me know how you plan to check these off your to-do list! I’d love to hear from you!!