Anyone who takes digital photos would probably agree that it’s no easy feat to manage the ever-growing number of photos we take in today’s world. It was challenging enough when we had just one computer and one digital camera; nowadays it’s not uncommon for a family to have photos stored on multiple computers, smart phone cameras, tablets, Facebook, Instagram, and more. Just thinking about it might make you feel like throwing in the towel before you even start to formulate a plan to consolidate and organize your photos!
As a Photo Organizer, my goal is to help people gain control over their photos and alleviate the stress and guilt caused by having photos scattered among various devices and memory cards. If you want to learn a step-by-step plan for getting your photo life under control, sign up right here on my website to receive a FREE Insider’s Guide to Photo Organizing by The Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO). Not only will this guide give you a plan for organizing your photos, but you’ll also receive insider tips from other professional Photo Organizers like me.
“What’s the best software or app to organize my photos?”
This is a question I hear frequently from people who want to get their “digital disarray” under control. There are many different options for digital photo management, and it’s important to consider your own management needs and goals, as well as what computer hardware and devices you use, when making this decision. Not everyone will benefit from the same software or system. Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you evaluate what system might work best for you:
How many photos do you have? How many photos do you take and how often?
Do you have a Mac or PC?
Do you use multiple computers or devices?
Do you have a backup system in place?
Do you want or need editing capabilities?
How do you want to be able to find your photos? By person, theme, and/or date?
How are your photos organized in an ideal world?
Keep in mind that you don’t have to use software or a special app to manage your photos. Many people simply build an organized folder structure on their computer, with folders named by year and sub-folders by month, for instance. This can work well enough, especially for those with small photo collections. The downside to this photo management system is that it lacks sophisticated filtering capabilities to find your photos. Filtering means you can cross reference; for instance, you can look for a photo by date, person, and location.
Personally, I have a large digital photo collection (almost 40,000 photos to date, including some older family photos I have scanned) and I was seeking numerous features in a photo management system, such as filtering functions to find my photos easily, user-friendly editing tools, and the ability to sort my photos to plan albums. I use Forever’s Historian software, and it has all of these features and more.
In Historian, my photos are sorted automatically upon import onto a timeline (assuming the date in my camera is set correctly, and if not, I can quickly change dates for a group of photos all at once). I also quickly sort them into categories/tags by people, places and events that I know I will want to search by in the future (facial recognition is also an option for sorting). This way, when I want to find a photo of my two children in Hilton Head, I can do it in a matter of seconds. I have the ability to rate my favorite photos, attach notes/stories to a photo, and plan out albums with my photos. The Historian program requires Windows to operate, so you either need to be using a PC or be willing to run a Windows environment on your Mac in order to use it.
Mac users have long been seeking the perfect photo management system. iPhoto didn’t fit the bill for many, so some people were lured to Aperture by the promise of advanced tools and better ways to organize images. Those who weren’t happy with the Mac-provided programs looked elsewhere; many choosing Lightroom for their photo editing and management program. But Lightroom isn’t for the faint of heart; it’s a robust program that, while not just for professional photographers, is definitely for people with solid skills in photo editing and management.
Now Apple plans to cease development of iPhoto and Aperture and launch “Photos for OS X” sometime in “early 2015.” This is not all that surprising as iPhoto has sort of stagnated over the years in terms of updates, and both iPhoto and Aperture have had stability and performance issues. Mac users probably won’t see Photos for OS X until sometime in the spring, but there are some reviews out now that allow Mac users to take a first look at Photos (here’s one if you are interested).
In the meantime, along with many other Photo Organizers in the industry, I have been testing an innovative new photo management system called Mylio (which stands for “My Life is Organized”) that allows you to organize, search, edit and protect a lifetime of photos from any device, with or without relying on the cloud for any kind of back up or replication. In addition, if you are a Lightroom user, you can use it right along with Mylio.
Here are just some of the great features of Mylio that I have discovered while using it during the last month:
- Mylio works on a PC or Mac (for families that have both this would be especially nice!)
- It has a beautiful, easy-to-use interface. The screens and photos load quickly and easily, and it’s simply a beautiful way to view and scroll through your photos.
- Mylio automatically syncs copies of your photos to your other computers and devices. It is really fun to see how changes you make to a photo on one device, instantly change on another! And to be able to carry your whole photo collection with you on your iPhone and/or iPad is pretty amazing.
- The calendar and location views are quick and easy options for finding your photos. Mylio has additional powerful search and filtering capabilities that allow you to search by keywords, ratings, people and more.
- You can customize your import settings and basically import a big ‘ol mess of photos and Mylio will organize it all by year and date, or however you’d like. You can also rename your photos upon import. No more DSC084 or IMG787. You can also import photos directly from Facebook, Flickr, iPhoto and more. Metadata and tags can transfer with your photos into Mylio.
- The organization structure of your photos on your PC or Mac that Mylio creates is one that you can find and understand through Windows Explorer (on a PC) or Finder (on a Mac) and easily move to another photo management system or computer should you choose to. (Note that the organization structure you build in iPhoto, Aperature or Photos for OS is only readable from those programs.) This is a really nice feature of Mylio. It basically means that the structure you set up in Mylio (or that Mylio sets up for you!) is portable, and not dependent on the application. You can take your organized photos and go somewhere else, should you choose to at some point in the future.
- With Mylio, your photos are stored locally on your computers/devices (and therefore the fee is not set by storage/gigabytes). If you want cloud back up too, you can opt for that, either through Mylio or through a cloud storage service like Carbonite or Backblaze (which is an option I recommend anyways, because you can back up your other files as well).
- Mylio has great tech support, including online videos, help topics, FAQs, a fabulous in-depth book you can get on Amazon, and their tech support staff is very helpful and responsive with email questions.
For more information on Mylio, including ways to sign up for subscription plans (including a free trial subscription), visit mylio.com.
If you need help at any point in your photo organization journey, Infinity Photo Solutions is here to help! Contact us today for a complimentary photo organizing consultation.