Photo Storage/Organization

"But Shannon," everyone keeps asking me, "How do you do it all?  You take so many beautiful photos, what do you do with them?  And how do you keep your hair looking so fabulous?"

Okay, so maybe everyone doesn't keep asking me all that.  But I have had a few people ask how I organize and store my photos.  (Whether they're beautiful or not is debatable.)  Not interested?  That's okay, you are excused from the blog today.  For the rest of you...

I have a folder on my desktop titled: "Photos".  Super original!  I know.  Once inside, I have another folder for "Babies".  Again, very original.  I should become a professional folder-titler or something.

The folders are then arranged like so:

To get a chronologically correct order, my sequence is Year-Month (in Numbers)-Month (Spelled Out).  It wouldn't have to be spelled out, too, I suppose, but it's faster for me to scan and find a folder that way, without having me sit and wonder "What month is July again?  06?  07?"  For the months I've had professional photos taken I've created a separate folder, which is noted in the title.

Each month's folder has two other folders:  "_ Months" and "Originals".  The "_ Month" folder is where I store the files for that month's updates on the twins, and the "Originals" folder stores all of the, well, original photos.  (Again with the "original" folder naming.  Ha!) I typically edit photos that I take with my DSLR as well as the ones from my phone in Photoshop. Usually nothing major, but simple adjustments to lighting, etc. before saving each photo. The edited and saved photos are what you see when the folder is opened:

I prefer to see my photos when I open up the folder (like above), but each photo is also titled:

Again to keep chronological order, my sequence for photo names is Year-Month-Day-Person-Photo Subject-Number.  That sounds like a lot.  I swear it's simple: first I date the photo (YYYY-MM-DD), then name the main person in the photo, a quick word or two description, and last add a number (01, 02, 03, etc.) if there is more than one picture of the same subject.  For example: 2015 02 05 Caden Playtime 01.  If there is more than one person in the photo, I list them also (unless it's Caden and Brooklyn in which case I use "both".), i.e. 2015 02 01 Brooklyn Dad Blocks 01.  If there is another person, they are listed by their relationship to me, so I know that it's Brooklyn and my dad playing with the blocks in the previous example, as opposed to Tyson (aka Brooklyn's dad), or Dave (aka Tyson's dad), and getting all confused when I'm going through photos later.

I try to be good about editing my photos each day that same night, so I don't end up with a backlog of photos for days on end, and give up in overwhelming frustration without ever editing and saving them.  Some days I have no photos to edit, and others I literally have hundreds to edit, (like with their monthly "photoshoots"), but it all kind of evens out in the end.  It's actually pretty relaxing for me to sit with a beer or glass of wine in the evening and wind down for 15 minutes or so going through photos from the day.

As for backup and online storage, I keep a flashdrive (actually flashdriveS plural now) with all the photos from my computer (exactly as they are saved on my computer, all photos, originals, etc.).  My phone is synced with Dropbox, which automatically backs up photos taken with my phone to Dropbox on all of my devices, in a folder called "Camera Uploads".  

However, I've recently COMPLETELY overloaded and run out of my 7 GB of free space on Dropbox (insert sad face here), so I recently (like last week recently, so I'm no expert or anything) made an account with OneDrive, which is now also on my phone and computer, and syncs with everything.  OneDrive gives an automatic 15 GB for signing up, and DOUBLED that to 30 GB just for installing the app on my phone and allowing photos taken with my phone to automatically upload to OneDrive.  Since this was a feature that I wanted ANYWAY, I think it's an awesome deal.  Right now some things are still in Dropbox (which I need to clean out), and some things are in OneDrive, and some things are doubled up, so I really need to go through and organize it all, but at least I know that my photos are all backed up somewhere (or whereS) now.*

Between everything saved on my computer, things on Facebook, and all the gibberish I write here (yes, this blog is basically a baby book) Caden and Brooklyn's lives, not to mention my own, are pretty well documented, at least digitally.  I try to be good about printing out recent photos, especially the ones we've had done professionally, to hang on our walls, and rotate accordingly.  I also am creating lay-flat photo books through Snapfish to document at least their first year.  It does make a difference somehow to see all of the photos off the screen and in print (what a novel idea!).  However I'm pretty picky with the layout and design (thanks design school!), and am only through about last August right now (their first six months).  Also I have a lot of photos (oh gee, really?!?) and have already filled two books (90 pages each) for February-August 2014.

And...that's it, I think.  At least the important stuff.  It's not a perfect system, (like me needing to figure out the whole Dropbox/OneDrive organization situation), but it's definitely better than when I had no system whatsoever.

*FYI this isn't a sponsored post or anything.  Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. have not compensated me in any way.  Just wanted to share what has worked for me.  Though if anyone wanted to compensate me with some more free storage I wouldn't complain...