Re-published from Fine-tuned Photo Organizing: From Chaos to Creation in three Easy Steps By Denise Pauley
of us do much better in life when we're organized. And for
scrapbookers, organization is especially important if we want to be
creative and time-efficient. Most of us have forlornly faced a growing
stack of unorganized photos or a bundle of envelopes packed with
pictures waiting to be scrapped. Or we've endured frantic searches for
that one perfect photo needed to finish a layout. In any case, adopting a
method of photo organization that suits your style will ensure that
you'll spend less time searching and more time scrapping.
STEP 1 - SORT AND WEED
Where to begin? Whether you've just rescued your photos from old,
magnetic albums or have a towering stack waiting to be scrapped, start
by deciding how you'd like to arrange your photos. Think of how you
scrap and chose an organization method that will allow you to find
subjects quickly. Here are a few suggestions:
This method works best if you have a huge backlog of photos that may be
on hold for a while. Go through your pictures and sort them into piles
by year. Then re-sort each stack by month. While sorting, you may want
to weed out any photos you're sure you won't use in layouts, i.e.,
blurry, poorly lit, or otherwise unusable. (You can store these in
another container if you can't bear to part with them.) You can also
discard photos that you'd like to give to friends or family members.
While you are sorting and weeding use a photo-safe pen or pencil to jot
dates, names, and other important facts onto the backs of your pictures.
That way the information will be available when you're ready to scrap.
2. By Theme. Grouping by theme might be ideal if it's not important to
you to scrap in date order. If you'd rather scrap specific subjects
whenever the mood strikes, or if you think you might want to create
themed albums later, you can sort photos into piles for specific
holidays, vacations, sports, outings, friends, relatives, or child. The
advantage to this system is that if you suddenly have the desire to
scrap Christmas layouts, for example, you can compile all your photos
quickly and complete pages for several years at once.
3. By Album.
You can sort photos also according to the album in which they will
appear. In my photo organizer, for example, I have sections for each
child's album, the family album, a grandparents' album, and for smaller,
themed projects. That way, when I get a layout idea for my daughter,
for example, I know exactly where to look to find the pictures of her
that I'll need.
STEP 2 - STORE
Once you have your photos in order, keep them in a storage box with
index cards or divider tabs separating your categories. Some scrappers
use shoe boxes or photo boxes available at stationery or discount
stores. But there are also other storage options designed with
scrapbooking in mind. My favorite is Cropper Hopper 's Photo Case, which
has room for more than 2,000 photos on one side and a 12"x12" storage
panel on the other (where I keep memorabilia like ticket stubs and
brochures that I plan to scrap). Highsmith also makes the Photo Chest
designed to hold thousands of photos and a Photo Tote that can
accommodate about 800 pictures. Crop-In-Style now offers a Photo Holder
that accommodates around 250 pictures (a great way to store a smaller
volume of photos by theme or album). Plastic crates (with hanging
folders) also make good storage solutions. There are other storage units
on the market as well. Research their capacity, features, durability,
and price to find one that suits you best.
STEP 3 - FINE TUNE FOR SPEED, EFFICIENCY AND ENJOYMENT
After you've organized your photos in a way that enables you to know
what's where, you may wish to select, compile, and store specific groups
of photos in preparation for individual layouts. This allows you to be
effective, creative, and efficient with a minimum of hassles. Here are a
few tried-and-true methods:
1. Post-it Notes®. This is the
system that works wonders for me…when sorting photos. I immediately find
the best ones from each event and group them according to layouts I
plan to create. I use a Post-it Note® to keep each subject together,
adhesive stuck to the back of one photo, then folded over to hold the
rest. On the paper, I note what the subject of the layout will be, and
include any other ideas such as potential titles and embellishments . I
also add an asterisk if there is memorabilia that I have elsewhere and
plan to use on the page. I store these small groups of photos in poly
envelopes, one for each album in progress.
Note: Post-it Notes® come
in several different sizes. The 2"x3", 3"x3", 2-3/4"x3" seem to work
the best, allowing plenty of room to write notes.
2. page protectors
. After removing the photos you don't plan to use, store the "keepers"
in acid-free page protectors , one for each subject (for example,
"Fourth of July 2000" or "Spring 2000 Disneyland Trip"). If you have any
design notes, memorabilia, or ideas for journaling, drop them in as
well. Then, if you need to shop for special cardstock, Patterned Paper
or embellishments for that particular layout, take the page protector
with you to match items with the photos—then store your purchases in the
page protector, too. (A simple way to keep these together is using an
inexpensive three-ring binder.) This system will work well if you attend
a lot of crops. You can decide which layouts you plan to work on, grab
the protectors containing all the page elements, and go!
Envelopes. You can use this system in practically the same way as you
would page protectors . If you use paper envelopes, you can jot notes
such as potential titles, embellishments , and journaling on the
4. Divided Organizers. Divided organizers, such as
the small tote by Generations by Hazel or large coupon holders, are
roomy enough to hold groups of 4"x6" photos. Simply write the layout
topic on the divider tab and slip any notes or memorabilia into the
pocket along with the photos.
5. Developer Envelopes. If you take
several photos of the same event, you can keep your photos in the
envelope they came in from the developer. To make finding them easier,
write the activity and date on the outside of the envelope, along with
any journaling notes. You can store these chronologically or by subject,
if you desire.
Once you find a photo organization system that
works best for you, keeping it up-to-date will allow you to find the
photos you're looking for, quickly and easily, for any layout. Without
the time-consuming task of searching for the right pictures, you'll find
that your scrapping sessions are more productive and enjoyable, too!