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Most of us have a hard drive packed with photos -- first hair cut, first day of school, never mind the obligatory 900 shots from Christmas at Grammy's. If your New Year's resolution is to bring some order to it all, here's how to make it happen.
Be liberal with the delete key. Permanently purging photos can be a tough for a sentimental mom, but ask yourself: do you really need a blurry picture of your kids obstructed by a thumbprint? Paring down your collection to photos you really love -- or at least like -- is a necessary and liberating first step, say the folks at MyPublisher.
Choose a software program to help you. Finding an easy-to-use software program to get your photos in order is a must, according to the blog Small Notebook. There's also the free and easy-to-use Google Picasa, and Mac users typically go with iPhoto, which comes standard in most of their computers.
Name as you download. Sure, it’s tempting to quickly download photos while you make dinner and tend to your toddler, but taking the time to name the images can make for easier organization later. Most programs easily allow you to rename a chunk of photos in batches, which they number, so you can easily label the endless holiday pics.
Choose descriptive file names. A photo named "JWD00534.jpg" won’t clue you in to the contents later, nor will a photo vaguely titled family.jpg. Choose file names that quickly alert you to what the photo shows, such as Xmas_morning_2011.jpg, and make it a consistent format that you'll be able to remember over time.
Think of top ten themes. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the volume of photos, consider grouping them into top ten-themed folders to highlight your best shots, suggests HP. For instance, “Top Ten 2011 Summer Vacation Shots” or “Top Ten Shots with Grandma.”
Take advantage of your photo software’s features. Photo organization software typically comes with easy-to-implement organizing features, so spending a few minutes getting acquainted with them can save you a ton of time and tedium. For instance, iPhoto allows you to create “smart folders” where you set the parameters. For example, you can create “best photos of 2012” and instructed it to automatically add in photos that receive a three-star rating or better. (Yes, you can rate your photos, too!)
Back up your pictures. Losing all your special photos to a hard drive meltdown is any parent’s nightmare, so make sure you back up your files regularly via an external hard drive or a site like Carbonite.com, suggests digitalphotos101.
Show off your hard work. Organizing pictures might seem like a chore, but reward yourself and your family by showing off the fruits of your labor. Sites like Snapfish, Kodak Gallery and MyPublisher can help you show off your photos online or create photo books and produts your family will enjoy forever.