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  • Writer's pictureCarla Webb

Photo sorting - filing the five thousand......

Camera phones - I thought they were mad. I had perfectly serviceable cameras, a small one to pop in the handbag, a larger one for special holiday memories.... who needed a phone with some silly little camera on it? Apparently - we all did. Scroll forward five years and not only are phone cameras producing spectacular quality pics, but we feel the need to photograph everything. Our pets/babies (multiple times a day), random things in shops (to google later and find cheaper on amazon), our passports and id (always handy), videos of people doing stupid things in public, you name it - we're taking a picture of it.

Which leaves us with thousands and thousands of images on our phones, USB keys, hard drives and in clouds. Trying to find that oh so cute dress I saw last spring? Scroll through 3,452 pics to find it. Let's reminisce about 2017's ski holiday antics? Scroll through 5,243 pics. It's boring, time consuming, and half the time we don't find what we're looking for anyway.

The phone companies want to encourage us to take even more pics, so they have had to find ways to sort them easier. And they succeeded! I'm going to talk about apple's 'Photo' software, but Samsung and the other brands all have very similar features.

This is best done on a computer, it's possible, but a bit fiddly to do on a phone or iPad.

Step 1 - Folders and Albums

I find that if I have my photos in smaller groups, it isn't so daunting when I want to sort through and delete some or create a photo book. So my first step is to put them all, or almost all into albums.

Folders are there to group Albums. I have a folder for each year - 2017/2018/2019 and then within each folder I have various albums 'Pets/Ski/Ibiza/Monaco/Family'. I also have an album for 'Scans' where I keep photos of my IBAN, residence card, passport etc. Don't hold back, the more albums you create, the easier it is to find stuff later on! You can always change the names or merge them later on.

Once you have created albums, just drag your photos and videos in. Even when I have 25 similar shots, I drag them all in knowing that later, they are available in manageable batches for me to review and delete excess pics, or crop and fine tune the better ones. Photos can be in more than one album. So that cute photo of the dog can go into the 'dogs', 'summer' and the 'Ibiza holiday' album if necessary.

STEP 2 - Searching

You've got your albums and now you need to fill them. Some people have 15-20,000 images so sorting through them is time consuming and frustrating. Here are some ways to find batches of pics to drag en masse into your albums.

Click on the location to see a list of photos taken there, highlight them and drag them to the album.

PLACES - 'Places' is at the top left of the Photos window. Your photos are grouped by physical location on a handy map. Click on the location, then highlight and drag all the images over. This image represents all my photos taken in Switzerland that are currently in my photos library. In less than a minute I can take all these photos from random dates and store them in one 'Switzerland' folder.

Photos highlights the faces and you add the names, then it will search your library and make suggestions.

PEOPLE - I discovered this functionality recently and I love it!

Select a group photo with a few faces on it - Ctrl click - and select 'Get Info'. It will suggest faces in little circles or you can click on 'Add Faces'. Circles surround the faces on the photo and you type the name. As you type, it suggests people from your contacts that you can select. When someone is named, Photos will search all your pictures and find and suggest other images of the same person.

When you click on 'People' in the top left library section of photos just above 'Places', your friends and family that you have named will appear. Click on each person and it will suggest more images for you to review with the suggestion 'Confirm Additional Photos'. This is a continuous process that takes time as the application has to trawl through all of your photos with facial recognition. It's great but don't expect it to find all the photos of each person instantly! The more you add, the better it will get at recognising people.

How to find photos that you haven't yet filed in an album

SMART ALBUMS - A smart album is created using conditions that you choose. These can be dates, people, keywords, video, portraits etc. It's a handy tool for finding pics when you have thousands to dig through. It can be a little restrictive as you can't drag photos into a smart album and if you delete a photo from a smart album, it is deleted from everywhere including iCloud. I create smart albums to find specific photos for a certain event or time period, then I drag them over to my own albums.

There is one smart album that I created and use a lot. I use the condition 'Photos not in albums'. This finds all the photos I haven't yet filed yet so that I can pop them into the appropriate album.

SEARCH - The good old search tool on the top right of Photos is way more powerful than you think. It naturally can find dates, places and even people if you have used the people option. But it can also find random things. I searched or 'shoes' and it found all my pics of shoes (yes, I know it's a bit weird, but I am female and I take snaps of shoes I want!). It found 'poodles' 'food', 'flowers' (including a pic of my mum in a floral dress 😂). So don't hesitate to try the search function, it's pretty impressive.

Step 3 - Sort and Edit

Your albums are full and now you want to make them meaningful. You click on Summer 2018 and there are 800 photos and videos of which 120 are actually good pics that you want to keep. Start by going through all the similar/repetitive ones, pick the best and delete the rest.

  • To delete a photo from the album, but NOT from your entire photos library, just hit DEL.

  • To delete a photo completely e.g. you have 50 not very good photos of fireworks in 4 albums and you don't want to have to delete them all 4 times. CMD DEL and the photo will be deleted from your library and iCloud, but will still be in the 'Recently Deleted' folder just in case you regret it!

  • Editing multiple pictures. Your aunt sent you family photos that don't have the location or a name so can't be sorted using places/people/search. Select all the photos and CTRL Click. You can then add a location, description or keywords to the multiple photos at once.

  • Editing. If you double click on an photo, it opens it up and the edit option appears in the top right hand corner. This is great for cropping, changing orientation, enhancing colours, or even using 'Markup' to write on it. The possibilities are endless. For a quick fix, the little magic wand icon next to Edit makes minor light and colour enhancements automatically.

Step 4 - Make 'real' albums

The hard part is done, now you can create photo books, print photos out, make posters, cards, calendars and create funny slideshows to embarrass family members at their birthday party. There are plenty of options under 'Projects' in the Photos app, but there are also many great third party softwares/apps out there to help you create books, gifts, calendars etc.

Don't forget to scan old paper photos and scrapbook items like tickets, programs and cards to add to your albums to create extra special photo books.

Tip - when making photo books of your kids growing up, make an extra copy for your child to have when they leave home. It doesn't cost much more for an extra copy, and it's a fabulous gift when they move into their first home.


And if all this sounds daunting, or you just don't have the time or patience, call and I'll come and help you create beautiful, organised, meaningful memories our of your thousands of photos. #webbconsulting #techtiptuesday #webbmonaco

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Does your Photos folder look like this? It's easier than you think to organise it.

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