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Tech tips

The one trick to finally clean out your photo gallery

The first fully digital camera was released in 1989 by Fujifilm. If you were lucky enough to own one, that means you’ve been taking amazing photos for over 30 years. That probably also means that you have tons of images floating around.

Even if you only started taking photos with a smartphone, that amounts to an enormous collection of digital memories. Tap or click here to see if your photos were used in AI surveillance research. At some point, you need to sort through and organize your photos in a central storage location.

But where do you begin if you have thousands upon thousands of photos? It’s a daunting task, but there’s a simple trick to making it easier on yourself.

Here’s the secret …

Don’t try to do it all at once. If you’re staring at thousands of photos or just swiping through your phone’s gallery and thinking, “How in the world do I sort all this?” you’re not alone. But don’t think about the end goal. Take it a small chunk at a time.

That can mean sorting through one day, one week or one month of photos while you’re watching TV. Or maybe you turn on your favorite podcast and sort pictures until you finish an episode.

No matter how you decide to split things up, stay consistent. Chip away a little at a time and before you know it, that mess is contained.

Need help getting the ball rolling? Here are some tips and tricks to cleaning up your photos.

Locate them all

You might have photos stored in places that you don’t realize. The most obvious place would be digital storage like your smartphone or on your computer’s hard drive.

But what about the old camera that you threw into the junk drawer years ago? There is a good chance the memory card might still have some images on it that haven’t been backed up anywhere yet.

Make a list of all the places where you could still have photos stored:

  • Go through drawers and storage cupboards and gather up all the old and forgotten technology. 
  • Have a look through online storage services like Google Photos, Amazon Photos, Dropbox or iCloud. You might not use Flickr anymore, but it could hold more photos than you think.
  • The junk drawer could hold more than just old tech. Where do you put your flash drives? Try to find them and systematically check them for images.
  • Do you still have old photo albums? Have them digitized at Walmart or Costco onto a DVD or USB.

Enlist a program to help

The next step can be laborious, but it is necessary to save storage and money. If you have been studious about placing your photos in marked (or dated) folders, going through them shouldn’t be too much of a pain. But you should make sure not to store duplicate images.

But since you could have photos spanning decades from various devices, you will need some help in sorting through them. Luckily there is an app for that, and Remo is perfect for the job.

Available for Android and iOS devices, Remo Duplicate Photos Remover is an app that scans your phone for duplicates and deletes them for you.

If you are working on a Mac, have a look at Photos Duplicate Cleaner. For Windows-based machines, Duplicate Cleaner helps you locate and delete similar photos, and it works for other file types, too.

Find the right storage solution

You have gathered up all your photos and removed duplicates — now what? Well, the next step in organizing is to decide the central platform that will host them. You could take a hybrid approach by storing them in the cloud and on a dedicated hard drive, or you can go with just a cloud option.

Here are some options:

  • Our sponsor, IDrive, is great for photographers, and it has a strong focus on security. The free plan will give you 5GB of storage, but that can be upgraded to 5TB for less than $35 for the first year with its 50% offer.
  • Google Photos is an excellent choice if you hurry. Since launch, the free service allowed for unlimited photo storage. That is going to change on June 1, 2021, when Google will be implementing a 15GB limit. If you go over, you’ll have to pay.
  • If you mainly use iOS devices, consider storing your photos in iCloud. When you sign up you automatically get 5GB of storage. You can upgrade by paying a monthly fee to 50GB ($0.99), 200GB ($2.99) or 2TB ($9.99) if you need to.
  • Dropbox is another popular option. A free account will give you 2GB of storage, but that can be increased to 2TB for $11.99 a month.
  • Flickr has fallen out of favor with some users, but they still present an attractive offer. Since being acquired by SmugMug, a free account allows you to store 1,000 photos and videos and is ad-supported. Upgrading to Flickr Pro+ for $7.99 a month gets you ad-free unlimited storage.

Go with a super secure option

If you have a hard drive on your computer with enough storage space, you can save all your images on it. But there are some risks involved, like hard drive failures or viruses. That’s why a secure cloud backup is a must.

That’s where our sponsor IDrive comes in. Give it a try right now while you’re thinking about it. Tap or click here to get 50% off a year of IDrive cloud backup.

Dumping photos into your hard drive isn’t the best solution. It’s better to use professional software to help organize. Open-source digital photo management software like digiKam is great for this purpose. It runs on Linux, Windows, and macOS and is a tool for importing, managing, editing and sharing photos.

Try an external drive

In combination with cloud storage, we recommend storing your photos securely on an external hard drive. External drives are less likely to fail and can easily be locked away in a safe. Some external drives to consider:

WD (or Western Digital) has been making popular external drives for years. This USB 3.0 drive is compatible with Windows PCs, Mac, PlayStation 4 and Xbox. It comes in four varieties ranging from 1TB to 5TB.

Solid-state drives (SSD) are a bit more expensive than conventional ones, but they offer faster transfer speeds. Since this SSD is compatible with USB-C and USB 3.2, it has transfer speeds of up to 1050MB/s. It has drop protection and IP55 water and dust resistance.

Looking for something a bit more powerful than a normal external drive, the My Book Desktop will be perfect. With up to 28TB of RAID storage and 360MB/s read speeds, the My Book Desktop external storage also features an automatic backup function.

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