Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My organization method for pictures

I’m mainly writing it to clarify my process about organizing my photos and preparing them to scrapbook.
Two facts that drive my process:
1. I scrapbook chronologically.
2. I function best when I am organized and efficient. For some reason, this creates an environment where I can be highly creative.
Photo Organization
Film Camera
Pre-digital camera days I had a film camera. I printed doubles and organized the photos chronologically in photo books. I saved my negatives chronologically in a box. I dated and labeled the negatives so I can easily retrieve them if needed.
Digital Camera
Organizing Photos on my computer:
I first make a folder on my computer labeled with the year.
I have folders on my computer labeled: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Within each year, I label 12 sub folders labeled: 1-January, 2-February and so forth.
Within in the month sub-folders, I organize my photos by date and activity or person. So for example: 1-1 Jan 2011 Ringing in the New Year, 2-3 Jan 2011 The baby plays with his toys, etc.
Downloading photos:
I try and download my pictures once a week, usually on Sunday. I use my Microsoft program because it keeps the folders organized the way I like it. I usually write an update and include pictures from the week.
I’ve started to edit my photos on Sunday. I use Picasa, Google’s free photo-editing software. I usually run a batch edit and then crop individual photos as needed. Picasa has a text feature that I’ve started to use. I usually just write a few words about the picture.
I use Picasa because it is free and easy to use. I know that Adobe Photoshop Elements is probably a much better product, but it requires more time than I am willing to give it to learn the program. Picasa is just at my level and still allows me to quite a bit. It’s also very easy to uploads pictures to email, blog or buy.
Organizing Photos to Scrapbook
This part takes two steps.
First, I go through the photos I want to print and make copies of them in a separate folder. I group them in groups of 50 or 100 so I can take advantage of photo printing specials I receive.
Then I make an Excel Spreadsheet. I give a title or them for a group of pictures, date of the pictures, number of pictures, and how many pages I think I will make. I also include a box for marking the page done. This way I can quickly see what I’ve done and what I have left to do.
Why the spreadsheet? Well, I am extremely frugal and often use double-sided cardstock. I hate not using the other side of the paper. So I have to plan spacing and themes. Doing this helps me make the maximum use of my supplies. I also have found that it keeps me focused and on task.
Case in point: I’ve been working on my 2006 album for a few years now. I made random pages and had created quite a few. But I didn’t have a cohesive plan or structure for the album. When I finally sat down, analyzed what I had and what I needed, I was able to print the pictures I needed and pull the album together very quickly. In fact, I was able to make almost 50 pages in a month.
I also find that this process helps me take pictures and supplies to a crop. I can easily pull out enough pictures to do a few pages and not bring everything I have.
If you scrapbook, what is your organization process? Do you work best with a free-form style or are you highly organized? Do you use a similar process that I do?
I suppose the whole process seems a little bit rigid, but it works for me. I function best with organization and purpose. It’s hard to make goals and meet them when you don’t know where you stand or how much you have to do. I’ve floated along for too long and now feel like I need to maximize my time. Ironically, all this organization and structure has opened the floodgates for ideas and creativity. I will streamline the process as I see fit.

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