Category Archives: Tutorial

How I Organize and Store Photos

Being a photographer, people often ask me how I organize and back up my photos. I never thought much of my photo organizing until I found myself being asked over and over again and realized that maybe not everyone has a system that works for them already. So since I’m asked frequently, I thought I’d do a post complete with photos that I can direct people to. I know this may not be everyone’s jam so feel free to skip to the end where I talk about backing up photos. 🙂

Organizing My Photos:

How to Organize Photos

So when you open “My Pictures” on my laptop this is what you see. I have all of my photos broken up by year (and yes, I have a ton of old family photos on my computer from before I was born thanks to being the unofficial keeper of the family photos). And then I have a separate folder for Christopher’s family photos (including ones of his parents growing up and extended family because once again – I have become the keeper of family photos, haha!). I have a separate folder for my photography business and a separate folder for anything else that just doesn’t have a specific place (for example, the “Other” folder includes photos of recipes I’ve made,  gifts I’m working on, and my all time favorite: the folder entitled “photos that make me laugh” which include tons of embarrassing photos of my family that I’m not allowed to share anywhere else, ha!).

How to Organize Photos2

So let’s click into the “2008-Present” folder. Here you will find folders for every year since Christopher and I got married in 2008. Simple enough… let’s open up 2016 (since it’s the most recent completed year).

How to Organize Photos3

I chose to break up each year into three main sections, but you could easily  have a folder per month or even one per season. This method stems from how I organized photos in college and graduate school because I would have 3 folders: Spring Semester, Summer, and Fall Semester. That just kind of stuck even after I wasn’t in school anymore. If I didn’t already have this system in place, I probably would have done this by season. So let’s open up the September – December folder and see what we find!

How to Organize Photos4

When you open up the September – December folder, you’ll realize quickly that my albums are in alphabetical order instead of chronological order (so notice that Christmas comes before Thanksgiving). You could definitely put a date at the beginning of each album so they stay in chronological order, but since several of my folders aren’t just from one particular day or week (i.e. “Oreo,” “Nannying,” “Friends,” etc) I chose not to go that route. And you will notice that every photo has a home. If I don’t have a place for a photo then it goes in the “Misc” folder.

Backing Up My Photos: 

1. At the beginning of every month I move ALL the photos that I took on my phone and camera over to my computer. Sometimes I’ve already moved a few photos over for blogging or social media purposes, but at least once a month I make sure to move everything.

2. After moving all the photos over to my laptop I sort through them all and keep my favorites. Yes, Oreo is cute, but I don’t need 118 photos of him laying in the same position on the couch. 😉

3. I then back up all my new photos on my external hard drive. Everything that is on my computer: music, documents, and photos are all already on the External Hard Drive so each month I only have to add the new stuff. It takes some time initially to back everything up on a new external hard drive, but if you keep up with it regularly (in my case, monthly), it only takes a few minutes to stay updated. If you don’t already have your photos backed up on an external hard drive, I really recommend it. For the past year I’ve been using the 1 Terabyte My Passport Ultra External Hard Drive and have really liked it. I also use Dropbox as a way to triple store really special photos, but not everything is on there.

So tell me, how do you organize and store your photos?
Love Rach

How to take family photos with your dog

Several people have asked us how we manage to get such great pictures of us with our dog without having someone behind the camera. So I thought I would share some of our trademark moves for getting great shots. 🙂

family photos with dog

I should begin this by acknowledging that some of you have very well trained dogs who will sit and stay exactly where you tell them to until you give them a release command making photo-taking a piece of cake. This post is not as much for you, haha! Our dog will sit and stay as long as he is facing us (because that’s how we trained him). Which is great for nearly all circumstances… except when we are trying to take photos and want him to face away from us (and toward the camera). So here are some of our solutions:

1. The absolutely ideal situation for us would be to have an actual photographer (someone behind the camera) and a second person who could stand just outside the frame of the photo to keep Oreo’s attention. However, since that’s not always possible, we’ve begun to learn the ins and outs of using a tripod and remote for our little family photo sessions. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Timers are great on cameras if all your subjects are adults, but if you add children or pets – having a remote that can take photo-after-photo without having to run back and forth to the camera is such a time saver!

tripod and remoteOur remote and tripod. The tripod is a 72″ Velbon 5000 which belonged to Christopher when he was a teen. It’s an amazing tripod! Great quality especially compared to some of the inexpensive ones we’ve bought and subsequently broken.

2. Wear clothes you are comfortable in, but also that you don’t mind getting a little fur on. Chances are good at least one of you will end up wrangling the dog at some point which will result in fur on a shirt/dress. It’s not likely to show up in photos (at least it never has for us), but you want to be sure you aren’t wearing something that needs to be dry cleaned.

family picFor this particular photo session we chose machine-washable summery clothes that would go with Oreo’s seersucker bow tie.

3. Lots of treats. Oreo is highly food motivated so we try to reward him as much as possible with treats while taking photos. We want family photos to be a fun thing for him.

family picNotice the remote in one hand and the treat in another and Oreo very ready to do whatever it takes to get that treat!

4. Be prepared to take LOTS of pictures. During this particular photo shoot we took 137 photos and ended up with 6 great ones. One of us will get in position with the remote while the other gets the dog into position. Whoever has the remote begins snapping photos even before everyone is in position. So you end up with tons of photos, but that also means that the very moment when everyone is in place and smiling – you get the shot!

family picChristopher putting Oreo in a sit position while I pose and begin taking pictures so the second Christopher turns to the camera, we’ll get the shot! (ps. I love how Oreo is “smiling” in this one!)

5. Let the dog take a break or two to play. With Oreo we usually have his attention for about 10 minutes before he needs a break then he’s ready to go again. He always lets us know when he’s tired of photos as you can see here:

family pic “I just want to play!”

6. Be flexible. You may have a specific pose in mind that ends up not being as cute as you first thought. Just have fun with it. This is how we end up with some of my very favorite shots. For example, this shot just kind of happened:

family pic

So for those of you who have somewhat unruly pups, these are our favorite suggestions! Good luck with all your photo taking! 🙂

family picFrom our family to yours with love!
Love Rach