There has never been a better time to take pictures. Photos look better than they ever have. Special apps and portrait mode help smartphone snapshots compete with the most sophisticated DSLRs.
Today’s photo editing software is easier to use than ever, too, and you don’t need to shell out big bucks for professional-level programs. Tap or click here for a list of free alternatives to Photoshop that have all the features you want.
There’s one downside to shooting so many splendid pics. You remember taking a beautiful shot of the Grand Canyon, but you have no idea where it is located. Weddings, parties and family reunions disappear into the pictorial ocean. Meanwhile, you end up with three copies of each jpg, clogging your Cloud storage.
Not all of these shots are great, either. Tap or click here for 5 common mistakes that ruin your photos.
Organizing your photos takes a bit of patience, but the good news is you’re only a few simple steps away from setting things up the right way. If you’ve been dreading this monumental task, don’t worry. I’ll show you the tools that will help you breeze through the process. It’s also a great way to review the memories you’ve documented over the years.
1. Gather all your pics up
The first step is to revisit all of your devices and decide which photos you really want to keep. Grab your phone, camera, tablet, memory cards and computer. Dig up your old phones, too, as they may contain snapshots that haven’t been backed up.
While we’re on the subject, don’t wait until it’s too late to back up your devices or you just might lose all those precious photos for good. Tap or click here to learn how the pros back up their data.
Meanwhile, scour any other photo archives, such as emails, text messages and social media sites. Go through all of your online accounts and round up the images you want to keep.
Facebook just released a new tool that lets you transfer your photos and videos to another platform. Tap or click to learn how to use it.
Now that you have located all your digital photos, it’s time to move on to hard copy pictures. Comb through 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 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.
Once you have gathered your photos, it’s time to get everything in one place.
2. Assign storage
Storage space on your phone is valuable. You don’t want to run out of real estate because you have thousands of photos. That’s where an online photo service comes in. Granted, not all of them offer enough space and they may charge hefty fees.
For professionals and serious hobbyists, you might want to use a service like Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Its Lightroom plan includes 1TB of cloud storage and gives you tools to edit, organize, store and share photos across desktop, mobile and the web.
Lightroom Classic allows you to organize pictures based on file type (your original RAW images, JPEGs and PSDs), rating, metadata, camera or lens used and 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 MP and videos up to 1080p resolution. Google Photos lets you easily organize your collection into various subjects such as People, Places and Things. This option 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 a Google Photos app available for both Apple and Android gadgets. And Google’s PhotoScan turns your phone into a handheld scanner to make digitizing old hardcopy photos simple. Tap or click here for 4 more tricks to get the most out of Google’s photo services.
3. Eliminate the duplicates
Now that you have everything stored in one place, it’s time to clean up your collection. 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.
An easy way to find and delete duplicate photos is the Remo Duplicate Photos Remover app. This app was built to locate, preview and delete multiple copies of your photos. You can also use it to quickly remove duplicates created by messaging and social media apps. Tap or click here to download it for your iPhone or Android device.
For Mac users
If you use a Mac, clean up the photos on your computer with Photos Duplicate Cleaner (PDC), available on the Mac App Store. Tap or click here to download.
This free download 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.
For Windows users
Duplicate Cleaner will help you delete similar photos, as well as other types of redundant files. Search for and delete multiple copies of documents, pictures and music. Tap or click here to download.
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 ones you don’t need.
Bonus tip for extra know-how: 5 free Windows downloads
If you’ve been using your Windows PC for some time, you already know just how many third-party programs like photo editors, games and productivity tools are available. What you might not know is that many programs actually don’t cost a cent to use or download.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.