Skip to Content
© Viacheslav Dyachkov | Dreamstime.com
How-tos

Organize your messy photo collection in 3 simple steps

One logical reason to upgrade your smartphone is for the amazing new cameras on newer models. The latest models have spectacular cameras that definitely set them apart from their predecessors.

Photography in the U.S. is booming. According to InfoTrends, more than 1.44 trillion digital photos are expected to be taken in 2020. Tap or click here for 5 common mistakes that ruin your photos.

Having a device in your pocket at all times that lets you take near-professional quality photos can inspire you to constantly snap tons of pictures. The problem is your collection can easily become an unorganized mess.

Organizing your photos takes patience and time. The good news is you’re only a few simple steps away from setting things up the right way. First on the list? Gather your vast photo collection.

1. Where are your pics?

You probably aren’t just taking photos with your phone, either. If you want to get serious about organization, the first thing you need to do is go through all of your devices and decide which photos you really want to keep. Grab your camera, tablet, computer and any old smartphones that still work.

Don’t limit yourself to devices. Check your email for photos from friends and family you don’t want to lose track of. And you’ve probably uploaded tons of photos to sites like Facebook and Instagram. Go through all of your online accounts and round up the images you want to keep.

Related: Photoshop too expensive? Use these free alternatives instead

Now that you have located all your digital photos, it’s time to move on to hard copy pictures. Scour your home for any place you might have photos stashed away: old photo albums, boxes packed with pictures, frames and scrapbooks.

Don’t forget about undeveloped rolls of film that have been hiding in the back of the drawer for years. You can add the pictures from those to your collection as well.

Turning those hard copy prints into digital images takes some time, but it’s well worth it. Tap or click here for a step-by-step guide to preserving your old photos and videotapes.

If you’re a DIYer, we recommend using Epson’s FastFoto scanner to quickly scan and save all your favorite shots. Preserve what’s priceless with the Epson FastFoto scanner at Epson.com/FastFotoKim.

Once you have gathered all your photos, it’s time to get everything in one place.

2. Storage matters

© Carmenmurillo | Dreamstime

Storage space on your gadget is valuable. You don’t want to run out of real estate because you have thousands and thousands of photos.

So, what’s the solution? Storing them digitally using an online photo service. Unfortunately, not all of them offer enough space without charging hefty fees.

If you’re a serious photographer, you might want to use a service like Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Its Lightroom plan with 1TB of cloud storage gives you everything you need to edit, organize, store and share photos across desktop, mobile and the web.

Lightroom Classic allows you to organize photos based on file type (your original RAW images, JPEGs and PSDs), rating, metadata, camera or lens used and so much more for $9.99 per month.

If you prefer a free option, Google Photos is the way to go. This handy tool offers free, unlimited storage for photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution.

Courtesy of Google Photos

Google Photos lets you easily organize your collection into various subjects such as People, Places and Things. This makes finding photos easier and faster.

It’s very simple to use, too. You can add images to your Google Photos account from your computer, tablet or smartphone and set up automatic syncing.

There’s even a Google Photos app available for both Apple and Android gadgets. If you’ve never used Google Photos, tap or click here to learn 5 tricks only the pros know.

3. Stop hoarding

Now that you have everything stored in one place, it’s time to clean things up a bit. Having one duplicate photo isn’t a huge deal, but having hundreds or even thousands of duplicates is just a waste of time and space.

Time to eliminate the extras and make your collection pristine. Finding them all can be tricky. The good news is there are apps for Apple and Android gadgets, and Windows and Mac computers, that can help you track down and delete all of them.

Apple and Android gadgets

Here’s an easy way to find and delete all of those duplicate photos for both Apple and Android users. Instantly scan your gadget’s memory and delete duplicate files using the Remo Duplicate Photos Remover app.

The app was built to locate, preview and delete duplicates. You can also use it to quickly remove duplicates created by messaging and social media apps.

For Mac users

There’s a free program for Mac users that will do the trick. It’s called Photos Duplicate Cleaner (PDC) and is available free from the Mac App Store.

PDC creates groups of duplicate photos, so it’s easy to find the number of occurrences of similar images. All copies of a photo are deleted except the original. This can save you lots of disk space on your Mac.

Once you’ve downloaded the program, follow the instructions found on the download page to use it.

Removing duplicates on Windows machines

For Windows users, check out Duplicate Cleaner. Not only will it help you delete similar photos but it works for other files, too. Search for and delete multiple copies of documents, pictures and music quickly and easily.

Clean up your image library using its advanced visual comparison technique, which displays images side-by-side. You’ll find photos that have been edited or saved in a different format so you can delete the duplicates you don’t need.

Follow the instructions on the site to use the program once it’s installed.

Bonus: DIY digitizing

If you have a lot of hard copy photos, it might be a good idea to digitize them yourself instead of paying a company to do it for you. You’ll just need a scanner to make the magic happen.

The Epson Perfection V550 Color Photo, Image, Film, Negative & Document Scanner lets you digitize multiple formats. You can scan regular photos, 35mm slides, negatives and camera film.

Use it to help bring faded photos back to life. With the touch of a button, make old photos and negatives look like new, thanks to Easy Photo Fix and Digital ICE.

The best part? It won’t take forever. You can get right to high-speed scanning with no warm up time. Plus, you can scan multiple slides, film strips and photos at once.

By clicking our links, you’re supporting our research, as we may earn a very small commission. Recommendations are not part of any business incentives.

Komando.com App background

Check out the free Komando.com App!

Get the latest tech updates and breaking news on the go, straight to your phone, with the Komando.com App, available in the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

Download Now