Tips for Photo Organizing – Q&A with Julie Berry

In this technologically advanced day in age, your photos from the past several years are likely housed on your phone or computer. But, odds are good that you still have plenty of remnants left from before the digital age. Do you have a stash of printed photographs somewhere in your house? Are you always searching for a particular photo amongst your files, but can’t seem to find it?

Those images and memories can always be at your fingertips if you take a little time for careful photo organizing.

We sat down with Julie Berry of Berry Organized to learn more about organizing photos and her approach. Read on to see her helpful tips!

How did you become a photo organizer?

I have always had a passion for organizing, technology and photography. After working several years as a professional organizer, I decided to take these passions and combine them by focusing my business primarily on helping people manage their photo collections. Since I was very young, I loved my family’s British and Italian history and the heritage photos collected from my grandparents and extended family, along with the stories behind each photo. I am a certified member of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO), which provides training and support for personal photography organizers. My team and I help clients to organize printed and digital photo collections, install backup systems, create photo books and albums, and scan and digitize slides and other obsolete media.

What are your tips for organizing printed photos?

The first step is to “hunt and gather” all loose photos, photo albums, memorabilia, negative, slides, etc. into one central location. That means searching for photos in closets, drawers, attic and storage spaces and anywhere else they might be stored. Once all of the photos have been gathered, then we have a better picture of the scope of the project and can begin sorting and organizing. We follow a system we call the “ABCs of Photo Organization” that was developed by the Founder of APPO, Cathi Nelson. Once the collection has been sorted and organized, the next step is to consider how these precious memories will be protected. Commonly printed photos are digitized or scanned and then stored in photo-safe storage boxes. Finally, celebrate and share!

What are your tips for organizing digital photos?

The first step to organizing digital photos is gathering all media devices that contain photos including: smartphones, tablets, cameras, old and new computers, CD/DVDs, memory cards, and external hard drives. Then, immediately back up all of the data on these devices before beginning any sorting or organizing. Once the backup is complete, we establish a digital photo hub where all of the images are consolidated, and that hub can live on the computer hard drive, an external hard drive, or a cloud-based photo storage site. The next step is to create a folder structure and start to organize the photos with a consistent naming convention. We then search for duplicates and depending on the client’s needs we will add keywords and other important information to each photo to ease the search for a particular photo.

What are typical categories that you use when sorting photos?

Every client is unique and can have large photo collections that span decades, which will impact what categories we choose for the sorting process. The more photos the client has, the broader the categories we start with in the initial sorting process. We could begin by using 5-7 broad categories such as, year or decade, events, holidays, hobbies, activities and people.

What are the benefits of scanning/digitizing photos?

There are so many benefits to scanning photos. It is a great way to store old photos, protect them from damage, and share them with loved ones. By having a digital archive of the original photos the client can be confident knowing their scanned images can be reprinted at any time. Scanned or digital photos are easy to edit and damaged photos can be restored and brought back to their former beauty. Finally, sharing and accessing a collection of photos via the Internet–anywhere in the world– is priceless.  

What are some storage options for physical photos?     

The best place to store loose photos and memorabilia are in high quality archival boxes that are both acid free and lignin free. It is also important to store these boxes in a temperature and humidity controlled environment. High temperatures speed up the chemical processes that can cause damage to the photos, and high humidity encourages mold and mildew, which can permanently stain and destroy photos.

What are your personal favorite types of photos to organize?

I truly enjoy both printed and digital photo organizing because they are unique and require completely different methods of organizing. Working with clients and their photos is a very personal and emotional experience, and I am privileged to have the opportunity to bring my clients’ photos and stories back into their lives to share with friends, family and future generations.

Are your photos organized?

If you’re ready to begin the process of organizing your memories, keepsakes, and photos, let us know! We’re ready and excited to to help you. Check out our photo organizing page for more information.

Julie Berry’s long term love of photography has shown her the value that photographs can have above other mediums of communication. Originally from Naples, Florida, Berry and her family have been living in Nashville, Tennessee since 2005. She combined her love of technology and incredible organizational skills to create her own photo organizing enterprise – Berry Organized Photo Organizing. Julie is a Certified Personal Photo Organizer and a member of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers.