See a moment, save a memory:
How you can save your photos
As a professional photo organiser, Mara helps her clients to preserve special moments of their lives. But the Filing Fairies co-owner says with the increasing ubiquity of quality cameras in smartphones and tablets, people become “overwhelmed” with the volume of photos they take.
Mara says her clients – particularly parents of young children – feel a sense of “guilt” for failing to capture every moment on film. To avoid that guilt, they fill their phones, cameras, tablets and computers to the max with images. But they often run into trouble when they’re faced with the ultimate question: how do I store them or should I delete them?
To help answer that question, Mara asks her clients to do the “moonwalk” – with ‘moon’ being her mnemonic key for the process of sorting and filing photos.
Muster: Plug each photo device into your computer and download the images into a folder. Do this monthly.
Organise: Create sub-folders for specific events within the month (like birthdays) and sort the photos into these folders.
Observe and purge: Delete duplicates. Pick the best of a photo session and delete the rest.
Name and tag: Rename images in a consistent format. (Mara suggests cataloguing by date, location, who is in the photo and what the reason for the photo was).
Observe and purge is where people get stuck,” Mara says.
“We guide them through that.”
For clients who are comfortable with technology, Mara might recommend a Cloud-based application. For people who have a lot of images, but aren’t comfortable using the Cloud, she might suggest a hard drive. But Mara says anyone who has a basic understanding of computers can create a “simple” system of structured files, saved to their computer's hard drive.
Once a client is comfortable using their photo filing system, Mara asks them to assess their collection and remove any images of little personal value.
“Will it mean anything to you next week? Will it mean anything to you in five years?” she asks her clients.
“If there’s an actual story to it, they’ll remember that story, but if it doesn’t mean anything [personal to them], they could probably delete it.”
Mara guides her clients to maintain this practice – on a weekly or up-to-daily basis – so that they break poor photo-organising habits.
Mara observed that once her clients regularly maintain the system she built for them, they often take fewer photos. She believes that they recognize when a moment should be captured to remember (a special birthday) and when it can be simply appreciated, like a beautiful sunset.