A thousand pictures tell… not so many words
Some tips for what to do with the 5 million photos of your kids.

My eldest daughter just turned 7, and naturally there were many festivities and photographs taken. These had to include at least 20 of each of her three younger siblings, in various states of happy, annoyed, attention seeking and eventually exhausted. At the end of the weekend, I wearily sat down to download the images from the camera. Then I remembered that I’d taken a few with my phone, so that was hauled out. While doing this, my husband reminded me that we’d used the “small camera” when she was unwrapping gifts and threw his own phone on the pile too… “I took some after the face-painting.”

At the end, I had 4 devices and about 200 photographs. Having been through this before, I diligently filed them under “2014 – Birthdays” to join the 600 or so birthday images harvested from 5 previous family parties this year. I posted a few of the nicer ones online and closed the folder. Job well done.

Only, the fact is, this is starting to haunt me. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and we’ve had children for the last 7 (we’re expecting our 5th in January). I don’t know how many photos we have, but at a wild guess, it’s thousands upon thousands. And it’s causing a problem because it doesn’t matter how well I label the images or file them away, I’m starting to struggle to tell my children’s baby photos apart because of the sheer volume!

Surely this can’t be a unique problem? I’ve seen other parents use two cameras, granny’s camera, their phone, partner’s phone and tablet, all at one event. And it’s not just birthdays. It’s everything from school concerts and sports’ days to Sunday afternoon mud fights and random moments. Where do they all go? I’ll tell you where mine are going. They’re all ending up, neatly filed on my laptop and hardly ever being looked at (I’m sure that’s where most of my hard-drive is being used up).

I remember from my own childhood, that you could only take 32 photos on one roll of film, and you didn’t have a clue how well they came out until the event was over and you’d had the photos developed. For all this modern “easy imaging”, we’ve created a few disadvantages for ourselves.

We’re less careful about the photos we take, so by and large, half of our images are blurred and rather ugly. We’re also less careful about collecting and storing, because we know we can always go back and find them if we look hard enough. The result is, the value of our photos are being diminished.

So after lots of online research and questioning of friends in similar positions, I’ve found with some useful advice that I’m certainly going to start applying for myself.

  1. Download all the photos, from all your devices after an event and then clear the memory on them. In this way, you avoid downloading the same images all over again next time.

  2. Take the time to label your photos properly, since DC1046 isn't going to make much sense to you in a week, let alone 10 years from now!

  3. Go through your photos on the day and delete the lemons. There's no point keeping every single photo of the same event.

  4. Delete again when you download. If there are several images of the same thing, keep the nicest one and delete the others.

  5. Find an online storage resource to save your images (Dropbox, Flickr etc.) This means that you won't lose a lifetime of memories if your computer dies.

  6. Print some. One can order printed, hard cover books online, or at a local printing shop. Similarly, printed canvasses have become really affordable and look great on the walls!
What do you do with all of your children's pictures?

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