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Organising your photos for scrapbooking

Having to make a scrapbook from scratch demands a lot of dedication to go past the tedious parts of preparation. Although preparation is the key here, a lot just dive in and let the workflow takes its place and find themselves bogged down later because of lack of organisation. Organising your photos for scrapbooking is one of the most important matters you have to think about if you aspire a pleasant execution.

In this post, we’re going to develop a system to help with the organisation of your photos to avoid the hassle of switching from one photo folder to another throughout your scrapbooking journey.

Before we start

Organising your photos for scrapbooking is something that’s sure to take time, effort, but most of all needs consistency. Therefore, I would urge that you choose a time that you feel comfortable working at to achieve utmost productivity and make the most out of this exercise. Whether you need to do this to create video memories digitally or physically make a scrapbook, this step is necessary.

Preparing your photos

We’re not going to start organisng the photos just yet. We’re going to first have to identify and list where our photos are located.

I’ll bet that most of the photos are buried with tons others in your Smartphone photo library. You may have decided to save everything in your computer previously but you couldn’t keep up with the photo-load and ended up ditching the whole idea or just forgot about it after a while. That’s OK because we all do it sometimes.

What we need to do though is to list all possible photo locations in a piece of paper and keep them ready for use later. In addition to your Smartphone and several folders in your computer, you possibly have a lot in your social media accounts, email, Dropbox, memory sticks, external hard drives for when you decided to backup everything, friends and family and the list can go on.

In this step, just identify and list all those photo locations. We’re going to use them all later to organise all photos in one central location.

This is a good time to think about what could possibly be done with the photos later and may be have different central folders for different occasions.

Pick a folder location

The tasks involved to prepare organising your photos for scrapbooking is huge, especially if you’re the kind of people shooting photos all day long. To simplify that, let’s pick a location that we wish to place all our organised photos in. For that, let’s first decide where we want to place that folder in.

Do you feel comfortable saving everything in your computer? Or prefer to have a portable external hard drive? Are you OK with sites that store your photos like Google Photos and flickr? Are you the kind of people that keep their Smartphone photo library jam-packed with photos for whenever they need them?

I would evaluate the viability and ease of access of each location to store my photos. Personally, I would stay away from having my photos permanently saved in my Smartphone because of capacity restraints.

Whatever method we use here, we have to measure the pros and cons and see what fits our needs. For example, cloud storage services are free for a limited capacity before they start charging you, consider that too. Something else to consider is your privacy! Do you trust those services with your photos? If you have no issues with that then you can go for one.

The CAP Approach 

We’re going to need a system to stay consistent in organising the photos so we don’t get overwhelmed with a lot of tasks to do just for this one project. You have hundreds of photos placed everywhere that need tidying up into a meaningful order in order to help you play with them effortlessly.

The CAP approach simply means Copy, Allocate, and Paste. This is what we will follow throughout the whole process of organising the photos. There’s nothing new about this approach because that’s what we usually do anyway. However, we feel relieved if we follow a methodology that confirms to us that we’re on the right track.

The idea here is to get ourselves in a state of routine to stay consistent in organsing our photos. At the beginning, you may feel like “uh, another routine task” but you’ll feel better if you get your partner involved with you into this. And since our thoughts control what we feel on the outside, think about it like going through the entire timeline of photos that matter to you. This is true, especially if they’re your children photos.

How long this will take is highly dependent on the size of the project you’re undertaking. For example, if you’re doing this for your kid, it depends on how old is your kid at the time you plan to do this. if, however, you’re doing this for a short holiday or a trip, it will be easier to organise because the duration is short. You get the idea?

Let’s get started

You have gone through evaluating the process of where you want to save your photos and evaluated each option available to you and resided on one. It’s time to think about what order of sorting our photos to go for.  There are two options I would suggest here.

The first option is to have everything in one folder and sort photos by date. I wouldn’t go that way because I’ll still have a lot of photos in one folder and it will look like a gigantic photo library.

The other option, which is the one I’m going for here, is to have the photos in folders and subfolders.

Before we go any further, let’s make some assumptions. I’ll assume that we picked a folder in out comupter to store our photos. I’ll also assume that we’re going to create folders and subfolders to sort our photos. I’ll further assume a three years kid.

In a nutshell, here are the steps to start organising your photos for scrapbooking:

  1. Create a top level folder: create a main, central, folder to store all your photos in. This folder will be placed in your computer and will have many subfolders for ease of reference.
  1. Create subfolders: within the main folder, we’re going to create subfolders for each year of our kid’s age; so if you plan to make a memory book that holds memories of 5 years, you’re going to create 5 folders inside the main folder.
  1. Create mini folders in subfolders: inside each subfolder, we’re going to create folders for months of each year. It’s up to you how many folders you’d create but I would create 12 folders in the first year subfolder, 4 in each subfolder from the second year onward.
  1. Use CAP Approach: from above explanation to the CAP Approach, start adding photos to their respective folders.

Here’s how it looks like when you create the folder hierarchy.

If you feel stumped, we’ll explain below in details.

Putting things into practice

You’ve already listed all photo locations and know exactly where each one of them is. Now is where we start the whole process of organising photos.

You’re looking at all the folders with hundreds of photos inside each of them. You feel overwhelmed and start thinking to ditch the whole idea and give it another go in the future. No you won’t! We’re going to make this easy.

Get a partner involved: the first thing to do is to get a partner involved so you don’t feel all alone in this because, I know, it’s boring, but not until you start thinking differently!

When you open a folder with all the photos, you’re literally looking at a timeline and when that timeline reminds you of the good past you’ll feel positive. I know you won’t get into this state at the beginning but try to get into a state where you and your partner tell the story behind the photos. Take your time because you don’t want to redo this in the future because of skimming, unless you know exactly what photos you’re after.

Pick the smallest photo folder: this is the folder where you have the photos to organise. Starting with a small folder can be good because it will let you get used to the process of moving photos to the folders hierarchy we created in the steps above.

The reason we’re picking the smallest photo folder first is so you get used to the process and, later on, you don’t forget the small folders when you’re done with the large ones.

Copy, Allocate, and Paste: here is where you start using the CAP approach to organise your photos. You’d simply copy the photos that’d make it to the scrapbook, allocate the appropriate folder where they’d be placed and paste them in there. Repeat that until you’re done with all the photos.

Again, take your time doing this because if you rush the process, you may get photos that you don’t want or start making a mess, which eventually put you down half way through the process.

A word about securing your photos

There would be a central folder that has everything, I’d assume you already considered backing up the folder. Not that anything will happen but computers behave all the times and we don’t want to stop because of that.

I would, therefore, get an external hard drive and start backing up the central folder and its contents from time to time just in case something goes wrong.


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