Why not spend your Bank Holiday weekend sorting your digital photos?

Seriously, you may even enjoy it!

When was the last time you filled a photo album or even held a physical photograph? Our smartphones ensure we never leave the house without a camera and yet a side effect of our smart technology use is that we don’t print photographs any more. Many of us are guilty of having hundreds of images stored on our phones or computers, but nobody can see them on your hard drive. 

A pain free way to manage your images and ensure the best are on display is by organising the digital files by doing the following:  

Weekly 

Set aside 15 minutes a week for a photo upload and cull, so that managing your photos will not become an overwhelming slog. 

Upload images from all camera devices once a week to the main computer. Quickly run through the files deleting blurry, duplicate and bad shots. Try and arrange the images into event-based folders ie Christmas 2015, but don’t go OTT on this, (Christmas Day Night etc). 

Do basic edits such as straightening or red eyes as they appear. Don’t be too ruthless with the delete button, but equally, avoid getting sentimental about a bad shot. Think “would I want this on the wall?” — if not, it’s bye-bye.  

If you take a lot of photos, do this after every photo-worthy event so that it takes less time at the end of the week. This may seem time consuming, but build it into your weekly routine and suddenly it will become an unbreakable habit.!  

Monthly 

At least once a month back up all photos. There are a number of ways to do this. 

A super safe way is via an external hard drive. If the weekly sorting process has been completed, this will not be a time consuming task plus the files remain organised. External hard drives have come down massively in price in recent years. The more space the better, but realistically 500GB is more than the average person would need. 

The cloud is another great option for file storage and organisation. Dropbox, SkyDrive and Google Drive are all options for photo storage. Dropbox is incredibly popular and extremely affordable too. This means that anything in the cloud is accessible to those who have the password, anywhere in the world and on any device.  

For those that use Dropbox, it is worth enabling the “auto-upload” function on a smartphone as this means any image taken on the device gets sent straight to the cloud, backing up automatically.  

Many phones now prompt users to set up a Dropbox account whilst setting up their new device, but people often skip this process.  

Setting up and using Dropbox gives the user access to all files — anywhere in the world, from any device with connection to the internet and the all important back-up. This means should the phone get lost, broken or stolen, the owner will still have all their files.  

What you need: internet access, an email address and five minutes of head space. Log onto Dropbox.com and register. 

If you are on a computer, the site will ask if you want to download Dropbox to your device — hit yes. Once downloaded, you can move files into the main folder and create sub folders. 

Download Dropbox onto your phone / tablet for free on both Apple and Android. Log in with the details used above. Files should then appear. 

Go to settings within the Dropbox app and scroll to Camera Upload. Hit “turn on camera upload” and select “Upload using WiFi only“. This means every time you take a photo or number of photos they will automatically get synced up to your Dropbox account once you step into a WiFi zone. 

If you do no select “Upload using WiFi only” you may use a significant portion of your data usage and incur extra charges. 

Sites such as Flickr are great for private albums to share amongst family and friends. 

It is very easy to organise and flick through files — and back them up in the process.  

Print  

At least twice a year, or as photo-worthy events happen, users should print their images. 

There are so many options for photo printing nowadays and it is increasingly affordable, making it really worth your while to print. 

Certain pharmacies and department stores have self-service photo printing machines and there are a wide selection of websites which allow you to choose your prints and get them delivered to your door. 

Having tried various sources, the best value, quality and service was found at www.photobox.ie

Setting up an account was free and took less than 2 minutes. Once in, uploading photos to the site could not have been easier. It is simply a case of sourcing the pictures on your computer and hitting upload. From there, the customer is given the opportunity to select finishing touches, and then hit order. Delivery time was less than a week and the final photos were stunning. 

One thing to be wary of is that printing photos from Instagram etc may not work due to sizing issues. The photos were delivered in small boxes, which are great for storing the pictures and ensures photos don’t get damaged during delivery. 

A number of the photo printing sites offer a certain number of prints free upon sign-up, and this is the case with PhotoBox.ie (50 free prints).  

Apple computers come loaded with iPhoto software which gives users the option of making photo-books and calendars using their photographs. 

This type of service is available on sites such as PhotoBox and www.snapfish.ie, but the finished products from Apple were of higher quality, though much more expensive. 

There is another digital alternative that will ensure your photos get seen — a digital photo frame. 

They are available from around €40 and are great for showcasing your images.