Healthy lifestyles are where it’s at these days. But have you ever thought about a photo wellness plan? It’s time for a quick health check and, perhaps, an intervention.
Now is the time to shed the extra photo bloat you’ve been carrying around. Today is the day to fit daily habits into your life. Photo wellness is within your reach. You can do this!
What does a Healthy Photo Wellness Plan Look Like?
In my family, we focus on 4 key ingredients for a healthy memory collection. These areas form the foundation; let’s call them pillars. When I spend focused time and attention in each area, the plan comes together. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect!
I slip into bad habits.
Procrastination gets in the way.
Sometimes I stop making the effort.
Life is busy and we all get off track once in a while. But when I do, these pillars serve as my guideposts.
So what are these ‘pillars’? Let’s break them down.
Pillar 1: Organize
This stage is likely the most labour intensive at first. If you’re getting started I recommend you gather all your photos into one place. Create one location where all your original images will live. We call this a digital photo hub.
My digital hub is located on an external hard drive connected to my main computer and has a folder structure organized by date. On a regular basis, I transfer photos into this folder system and remove images that don’t belong. Screenshots, duplicates and bad photos don’t belong in your hub!
Have you inherited your parent’s photo collection yet? Once you’ve sorted and organized these pictures, you’ll need to digitize them. All my older printed photos were scanned and added to my hub. Older photos from my mom and grandparents collection were pretty hard to date, so these photos live in theme-based folders and decade folders instead.
Once your photos are all together, you can use software to add metadata like dates and keywords. When you have everything organized, keep repeating the process. Before you know it, you’ll have a regular habit in place!
Pillar 2: Curate
Selecting your best photos and adding stories is where the magic begins to happen. Millennials take, on average, 900 photos a year.
That number likely triples when you start having kids!
The key to curating your best is by choosing the highlights. These are the most important photos – the keepers. The ones that help tell a story or showcase the people you love. You can do this daily! Whenever you have a moment, scroll through your photos and ‘heart’ your best.
Once you’ve decided your best photos, add some stories. Do you keep a journal? Take a photo of an entry that supports some of the photos you took. Use your voice memo app to record the story behind a special day or event. Do a selfie video describing the fun you had at the beach, or open a word doc or your notes app and jot down some details! Whatever works for you, the important part is recording the story behind the photos – then, storing these alongside your photos in your hub.
Pillar 3: Share
It’s time to combine your highlight photos and your stories in a way that makes them easy to share!
Now, I’m not talking about social media here (although that’s fine, too). I’m talking about sharing with the long game in mind.
My personal preference is photo books and an online gallery. Back in the ’90s, it was scrapbooks. Yours might be video slideshows narrated by you, or a private family website or online gallery filled with photos and stories. Create a positive family narrative where you share family stories, values and triumphs.
I love this article in the New York Times by Bruce Feiler. In it he says,
“The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.”
Pillar 4: Protect
The final ingredient in a healthy photo wellness plan is a backup system. We recommend the 3-2-1 System: 3 copies of your photos, stored on 2 different devices, with 1 copy stored in the cloud or offsite.
My photo hub resides on my external drive (device #1). I back up my drive and computer to another external drive (device #2). Finally, my computer and drives back up to a cloud-based service called Backblaze. This 3rd layer of protection keeps my memories safe from any home disaster like theft, or fire etc.
Don’t forget your most vulnerable photos! These are the ones on your smartphone. Use a cloud-based program like google photos to protect the ones you haven’t transferred to your hub yet. My iPhone auto uploads to Dropbox and Google Photos, and then I organize the ones that go into Dropbox monthly and then move them into my hub.
What if you’re living a mobile life?
No computer? No problem!
Choose 3 cloud-based programs to protect your photo collection. For example; Google Photos, Amazon Photos and Dropbox. Pick one to organize and use the other two for backup. There are some great apps that help you make photo books, too!
Does your photo wellness plan need attention?
Now that you understand the key ingredients, how would you rate your photo collection? Determine the areas that need the most attention, and begin there. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with Protect.
It’s okay to back up the mess! Commit some time on your calendar to start the organizing process. Do some daily deleting while you binge Netflix.
Before you know it, your photos will be in tip-top shape, and ready to share!
If you gave your photo wellness plan a score out of 10, what would your score be? Tell us in the comments below.