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Reader Question: How Do YOU Organize or Manage Your Digital Photos and Videos?

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Taking Photos

If you enjoy taking photos, you likely have many years worth of digital photos and video clips stored on your cell phone, tablet or computer. With that being said, check out this email I recently received from Hip2Save reader Lindsey…

I would love to see a post about how your readers store and organize their digital photos and videos. Mine seem to be a mess!

SO, how do you organize and manage your digital photos and videos? In your opinion, what’s the best way to back up these precious files so they won’t disappear if your device is lost, stolen or damaged? Please share your tips in the comments below!

Join The Discussion

Comments 60

    • Liz

      YES!!!!!! And if you don’t want original quality, it’s free!

  1. dhigc

    Really great and helpful post…following

  2. Frecklelily

    First, I have DropBox on my iPhone. Whenever I’m in wifi I just open Dropbox and my pictures get sent to the app. You can also put Dropbox on your computer so the pictures will show up on the desktop. I have always used a separate hard drive just to store photos. I organize them in different folders starting with Decade, year, month, day. This method makes organization extremely easy.

  3. Stephanie

    I make a yearly photo book for each of my kids and then a family one, print all my pictures every few months then delete them. I also make sure everyone gets a copy of the picture (organized by year in a tote under each of their beds)

  4. Jenn

    Google Photos is amazing!!!

  5. Heather C

    Free Amazon cloud. Do I know what my husband does? NO, but after a prayer fiasco I know that everything is backed up well πŸ€—

  6. Megan! They send you a photo book each month of the pics from your phone

  7. Andrea Fort

    I have dropbox on my phone too. I upload to dropbox once a day, have groovebook printed each month (my code is WYKE9 for a free trial), and then backup to shutterfly once a month after the groovebook arrives. I am always scared of what technologies will and wont be available 20, 30 years from now so I want choices for my daughter. I figure print never goes out of style and surely 2 cloud backups will make it πŸ˜‰

  8. Haley

    I upload my photos from my phone every month to, and then send a link to grandparents so they can have them/print them as they see fit. i also upload videos every month to google drive. πŸ™‚

  9. Lindsey

    Yay!! Thank you for posting my question Collin! And, thank you everyone for your answers!

  10. Donna

    I have an external hard drive I use solely for this purpose. I organize the folders by year then month. Also I make a family yearbook on shutterfly at the end of the year that shows the highlights of each month.

    • Kim

      I have an external hard drive and every time I am in the wifi area it automatically downloads any of my new photos. I have taken to a folder then I can go in and put in separate folders. This way I don’t have to remember to transfer them it is done for me. This way it free up space on my phone. I can also log on to the external hard drive from anywhere so if I need to show someone a photo I can. You can use it to backup anything you need to

      • Jo

        What kind of external hard drive do you have? I’ve never heard of one that could do all that lol

      • Mommy32

        A magic external Drive??? Wow lol

      • Kim

        I have the my cloud got it at bestbuy for around 75.00 on sale and it has 3 terabytes.. So I can back up anything and access it anywhere I am

        • Kim

          Sorry tried to add a link and something went wrong .lol but it is on bestbuy web site

  11. A

    I take all my photos on My iPhone so every month or so I plug my phone into my computer and import all pictures. After that I make folders in my pictures file and categorize them by month!

  12. Andrea Fort

    I use dropbox on my phone too. That way if something happens to my phone, I don’t lose any pics. It went swimming in Florida last year and not a photo lost! Then I have pics printed once a month using Groovebook (my code is WYKE9 for a free trial). Then I upload that months photos to just in case. I always fear the unknown of what technologies will/won’t be there when my daughter is an adult so I figure print never goes out of style and surely two cloud backups should due πŸ™‚

  13. TS

    I have shoebox and Google photos. Google photos is by far the best because it saves videos too and does it all automatically after you take the pic or video on your phone. I also put everything on cd as backup every couple months then delete them all off my computer. I also upload my best pics to Facebook so the good ones are saved there. I used to print pic and put them in albums until I realized the mistake that is with very little space but I have our wedding ans my sons birth and first year of life in a photo album and the rest will just go to google photos from now one.

    • Laura

      Do you pay for Google photos?

      • TS

        Nope! It’s free πŸ™‚

  14. Stacy

    I bought 2 terabyte hard drives and store all the pictures I’ve taken over the years in there. They’re organized in folders year then months of that year then events of that month. The second terabyte is just there as a back up just in case the other gets lost, damaged or stolen. I prefer this way than storing my photos online (clouds, dropbox, etc.)

    • Hilary

      Right there with you! I do the exact same thing.

    • Keilyn

      Ive done this as well, only that I havent backed up my photos as much as I want/need. just laziness. But i do second that – I dont really want my photos and stuff on the “clouds”…

  15. Hilary

    My phone backs up to the Cloud and I pay 99 cents a month for extra space. I also have a Western Digital external hard drive that I use to download all of our photos from both of our phones every couple of months or after a big event. Although I like to use a cloud or web based storage for convenience, I would never want to use it as my only storage system.

  16. Carrie

    I have a few ways of backing up my photos just to be sure nothing happens to the precious moments we have. One is Amazon they give you free storage if you are a prime member. I also back up my iPhone and iPad with iTunes. Additionally I back up my photos to an external hard drive that I store in my fire safe. I want to make sure to keep all my memories safe!

  17. poonam

    one drive app.install that app on phone n whwnever u want to upload ur photo just open that app it auto matically sink ur all photos πŸ™‚

  18. MekaRTR

    I use an external hard drive. I have folders for specific event i.e. Christmas then when that opens its organized by year. I also do the same for my family members’ sporting events, vacays, bdays. For example, birthdays –> mom –>2016

    • Heather C.

      This may be a very stupid question, but what is an “external hard drive”… Thanks in advance!

      • Noel Sharif

        Hi Heather, Not a stupid question. A really simple version is that the hard drive is the piece of electronics that stores files. Your computer (and phone and tablet etc) has one inside. You can purchase additional hard drives that are in their own cases that then hook into your computer via a USB cable…they’re called “external” because they are outside of your computer case. If you want to move it away from your computer, all you have to do is unhook the cable. Sometimes a hard drive breaks; depending on how and why, back-up copies on an external hard drive may be all you have. Now, if something like a power surge, a tornado, or a small child spilling a pitcher of water on your computer happens and the external hard drive is in the same location as your computer, you may lose everything anyway. An external hard drive is great if you want extra storage without having to expand or replace your current computer or if you want to take and physically store your important electronic files in a separate location. Hope this helps.

        • Heather C.

          Awesome, Noel! Thank you for that great explanation! I may have to invest in something like that for all my digital media. πŸ™‚

  19. poonam

    onedrive App.install this app on ur phone n whenever u want to upload photos just open app it automatically upload ur photos .of course u need data pack or wi fi for this .Fun in the sun:)

  20. Kmc1021

    I’m so paranoid of losing pictures I do multiple things. I subscribe to smugmug which I can organize and store my photos how I want. I can also password protect each folder and give different people access to different folders. I store them on an external hard drive and I scrapbook them.
    I organize by year and have sub folders for each month.

  21. debra

    I use Amazon cloud. Automatically backs up evey day on wifi. $60 a year but backs all phones and desk top including files.

  22. Katie

    I use google photos as well now but used dropbox before. Once I get the photos off my camera or phone. I label them by Month and Year folders. I have done this since my daughter was born 3.5 years ago and its worked great. I save them up and then wait til I have 99 to order prints from Shutterfly when Colin posts a deal.

  23. Rebecca

    ThisLife by Shutterfly, can upload from all devices and it puts them in chronilogical order!

  24. Rose

    I load them to snapfish but also pass them to my laptop which I pass to a usb flash drive so whenever I need photos i have them saved on the usb.

  25. Adriaddiemom


  26. Anna

    Side note but you should have an offsite backup of your photos/computer. Many people rely on free sites but that may not be enough space for all your photos and important files. I use Backblace. It’s $5/mo per computer for unlimited backup. You can access your files anytime via the web (came in handy when we were applying for our mortgage and needed things off our home computer when we were not at home). If your computer crashes you can download the the files to a new computer (or the repaired computer) via the web for free. Or if you have a substantial number of files they offer a flash drive or external drive for an extra cost.

    For those who just back up things to a flash drive or external drive these things can be lost in a flood or fire and are also prone to failure. External backups usually actually have multiple backups of your documents so even if they have a disaster your data is not gone.

  27. Roxy

    I bought an external hard drive so I can back up all my files regularly.

  28. moon

    hello google photos user, if i delete a photo on the phone, does it delete it automatically in google photos as well. vice versa, if i delete the photo from google photos, does it delete on the phone as well. thanks.

  29. Melanie

    Be warned, external hard drives fail. I had all of my photos on my computer and my external hard drive. My hard drive in the computer died and I found out my external drive did also. The computer geeks said that that is often the case. So, I ended up paying another computer guy a large sum of money to recover all my photos. I am glad this question was raised, because I really need a new way to store photos.

    • Hilary

      Your internal hard drive on the computer died, which I understand, but then your external died as well? At the same time? That seems very unusual.

  30. Katie

    I have a folder for every year and in every year I have anywhere from 10-20 categorized folders. For example: birthdays, zoo, family, museums…some of these have sub-folders like in birthdays I would have mom birthday, dad birthday, etc…in every single folder I include the year in the title, so I would have a zoo 2015, zoo 2016, etc and this helps when searching for photos. These are all saved on my computer AND on a back up drive. I planned to make a shutterfly photo book for each year but now I’m backed up by 3 years πŸ˜€

  31. Jackie

    Google Photo!!

  32. Litsa

    Blogger Ashley @lilblueboo has a great tutorial on how she did just that—organization of years of photos! Check her out!

  33. sarahB

    Google photos is the best! The face finder search is great! You can click on someone and it will find most of the pictures they are in. You can also search something (for example ‘yard’ or ‘birthday’) and it will find (most of) the applicable pictures…without having to go in and tag them!

  34. Kathy

    I organize by year, then month with this label “01 Jan 2016” or “11 Nov 2016” so that the file folders are in chronological order as well as numerical order depending upon the settings of the sort. In addition, I have an external hard drive that I back up the files here at home and another EHD that I back up once a month or two and send with my hubby to work. Having had more than one friend devastated by a fire, I don’t want my back up here at home.

  35. Steve R

    I just create a new folder each month, with an alpha numeric prefix to keep them in date order, eg
    A1 May 2016
    A2 June 2016
    A3 July 2016 up to 9, then move up a letter etc etc
    It will take over 10 years before i get to Z9 and have to start over…

    • Steve R

      Oh, I forgot to mention, ALWAYS keep a back up off site to your computer, like in a drawer at work or at a good friend or relatives house. If your house burns down you don’t want to loose them all!

    • JGC

      I always start with the year first… 2016 05 01, 2016 05 15 and so on. I do this for all my files at home and at work.

      • mweyler

        Ditto. If you do year first then it automatically organizes them.
        Ex 2016_01 then 2016_02
        Could put day of month but I found it easier to put sub folders under month with specific activities that month.

  36. Hayley

    I’ve got a reader question!! I used to print all my photos but now I have so many that no amount of 99 cent deals would help me. I’d need thousands of dollars to get caught up! But, I also keep a blog. It dawned on me that I could forgive myself for not printing pictures because I have an online scrapbook. But still, I’d like to have the blog printed. I’m worried though because I believe it would be huge and costly. Any ideas?

  37. Kel

    Going to look into Google Photo after all the comments. Didn’t even know about it. I use an external hard drive but have hear people say that they fail after a while. Would like to have a 2nd method of backing up to be on the safe side.

  38. Hayley

    I use my husbands computer has a back up (it’s like at least a terabyte in size and used very little) AND I use flash drives to hold the same photos. I was told that flash drives are a safe bet. There are less moving parts therefore not as easily damaged.

  39. Kimberly

    This was a great post! Thanks!!

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