Spring Cleaning, Digital Version

by Alyce Eyster


How many times have you pulled out your phone to capture a moment only to find an annoying ‘out of memory’ message courtesy of the the 3000+ images living on your data stream? Guest guru Alyce Eyster has a solution. Enjoy! Elaine

Is your digital image library screaming for makeover? Mine was.

Consider the many photo capable, image storing devices you own, which is at least a phone and computer, but probably also a tablet and a DLSR camera. Multiply that by the number of people in your family, throw in a few old, recycle-ready computers, and what you have, my friends, is virtual pile of photo chaos. That is, memories requiring organization and back-up before an unforeseen hard drive crash sends them into an abyss of bytes.

Our cell phone cameras remain a powerful tool. On a daily basis we snap pics of documents, events, family, products, dogs, clothes, home furnishings, food and more that can be shared in an instant. I felt a vague unease about my device photos in the cloud and the inefficiently stored photos in multiple places on my laptop, all while storage notifications continued to pop up on my iPhone, causing concern. My images resided in the cloud, but my digital organization skills and storage comprehension was cloudy at best. I had to get these photos under control to ensure my families’ memories stayed intact, and I needed help.

Enter the Photo Nanny. I discovered Pavan Seibert and her business on my neighborhood information trading site. Photo Nanny specializes in memorabilia management. They organize and digitize photos and memorabilia, including digital restoration and photo book creation. Seeing the stress caused by the explosion of digital photos, Photo Nanny also organizes electronic files and trains individuals how to manage their digital mess.

Pavan got her start when a photo book she created after a trip to Africa got noticed. That lead to more photo books, but also organizing, scanning and retouching. Fast forward to today and she commands a staff of 5 to 6 full time employees in a 3000 square foot office. Her clients consist of individuals and families desiring photo organization, scanning, digital training, and creation of keepsakes like photo books, slide shows, and home decor items. She adds, “We do a lot of consulting, including remote support from our office with people all over the country via the web. What families are experiencing with photos is digital disorder, rather than physical clutter. So, helping them manage it means we are in the business of stress management.”

After an initial consult, Pavan and her team extracted, merged and deduped 30,000 images off 10 devices, including computers, tablets and phones. They set up the initial filing system by year, then downloaded the final file to my computer. (What a huge time-saver.) They established a Picasa web account for my family and taught me how to use the program, how to name and sort photos, and how to download from my iPhone.

Post training, I began filing and organizing each year of photos, with a goal of working about 20 to 30 minutes daily, although the Photo Nanny team can perform this step as well. Honestly, I’ve enjoyed viewing old pictures of my kids, reliving vacations and familiarizing myself with my photo library. And I now possess a better understanding of where and how photos are stored on my computer.

The fantastic thing about the system set up for my photo management is that photos do not take up storage on my iPhone for long. I download them to my computer monthly. After sorting, they are uploaded to the web. Originals are deleted from my phone’s photo stream but I still have access to the images via an app on my phone.

I asked Pavan for her top photo organizing tips. Here’s what she recommends:

  • Always set the time and date on DLSR cameras. (Phones do this automatically.) This meta data is hugely important for sorting.
  • Save photos in three places – the hard drive on your computer, an external hard drive, and on a web-based program like Dropbox or Flickr.
  • As for filing and sorting, decide on a naming protocol and be consistent with it. Think about how you find information, then start with a date and description like 2016-02-19-Leap Day Project.
  • Stay on top of digital photo management. Read: devote time to it every day.
  • Get your photos off your phone and onto your computer. Downloading from the web is not efficient. Downloads are faster when you plug the device directly into the computer.

Some folks are naturally organized and others, like me, are challenged in that way. It is just a different way of thinking, Pavan says. Just as you hire someone to help you with your yard or interior design, sometimes you need to be guided by a professional, she explains. “I see women all the time who feel guilty that they can’t make a photo book or don’t have time to organize photos, but our services can free up valuable time to spend with family. And you’ll feel so much better having made sense of a digital photo mess.” I know I do.

For more information:
Pavan Seibert
Photo Nanny

python wristlet


P.S. Now that your image library is organized, check out Elaine’s technology storage solutions, like these stylish smartphone options. I LOVE the wristlets, because I can toss them into a shoulder bag or tote or carry them solo when running a quick errand.

Alyce Eyster is a marketing communications consultant and freelance writer/editor.

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