Are you struggling to keep on top of all the photographs you have filling up your smart phones and hard drives?

If you are challenged by the deluge of digital, you are not alone.

Cindy Browning is a professional photograph organizer, and sees a lot of people struggling with this issue.

"My clients don't know how to get their photos off their cameras, phones and even to get them on to their computers," Browning said. "And then they don't know what to do with them when they get there."

Browning believes that you need to use a system that makes sense for you.

"Don't file them by date if that is not how you think."

She suggests using the ABCs of photo organizing:

  • A. is for album: Pick out all the good ones that are album- and print-worthy.
  • B. is for box: These are the ones you want to archive.
  • C. is for can: As in trash can. Delete the excess, get rid of the blurred ones and duplicates, and only keep the images that are meaningful to you.

"You have to take control of your photos," said Bruce Clarke, a professional photographer who teaches digital photography mangement at the Burwell School of Photography in Edmonton.  

He suggests you gather them into one place and sort them in a way that is easy to manage.

Clarke classifies his photographs by year, date and project, specifying if they are from a wedding or a portrait sitting.

He creates a folder or album for each event. Whatever system you choose, keep it simple, and make sure it is easy to remember, he said.

"If it is too much work, you are probably not going to do it."

People should consider keeping the photos safe so they don't get deleted or permanently lost.

Clarke said a good rule to keep in mind is the 3-2-1 method. That means having three copies on two different types of media, and one of those copies should always be kept off-site.

"You don't want to lose all your precious family moments by keeping everything sitting on one hard drive," Clarke said. "Making sure you have all that digital information properly stored and archived is really critical these days because 10 to 20 years from now we may not be able to access that information and it will be lost to us."