Storing photos for me is quite simple. My phone backs up to Google Photos, which means all I have to do is check to make sure everything is synced up before deleting ALL my photos off my phone. That's right, almost everything. *The only photos I keep on my phone are my top 10 favorite photos from my wedding (since people so frequently ask, and I love to look). But everything else gets deleted since I can access it all on Google Photos.
To access anything on Google Photos, you can scroll by date OR you can type in a keyword and it will find the photo. If I'm searching for a picture of my kitchen, I will find it. Creepy, I know, but so convenient at the same time.
My husband's phone and our iPads are also synced to the same Google account, which means EVERYTHING is in one place- we pay $1.99 a month for extra storage. Trust me, it's worth it!!! Please note that If you have the high-quality option chosen, it will reduce the image size. (Which is fine for screenshots and junk photos) but if you're saving important photos make sure you are baking it up at the original size that keeps the full resolution.
I can access Google Photos from any device (even if it's not my own). I also love this because when I go to make my yearly photo book, I have access to ALL photos I have taken throughout the entire year, in chronological order, which is how I organize my book!
But now that my photos are stored, how do I organize them?
My tip for you is to not try and organize your Google Photos. While I want your PHOTOGRAPHS to be organized, you don't need to go through the 75 shots of your daughter's birthday party and delete the 74 you don't want. This is so time-consuming and impossible to maintain. (Unless you can dedicate at least an hour a week to organizing your cloud). I also like that every photo I have ever taken is saved to the cloud. Maybe I don't want to add the screenshot of the pork recipe to my important photo category, but months later decided to look it up (and with keywords, I can easily find this). It makes looking back quite easy, and I like to use it as an archive.
However, I do suggest creating a system and dedicating time to that each week.
What type of systems?
1. You can create albums in Google Photos and have all your important photos put into a specific album. You could do "Best of the Year", or "Daughters 1st birthday", or "Cabo Vacation". Like any other system, this requires maintenance. Dedicate time each week or each month to go through your recent photos and add the favorites to your album or choice.
2. You can download your favorite to your computer, a flash drive, or an external hard drive. Again, make sure you are setting up folders for this as well. Even something as simple as the year will help you keep all your photos super organized, and won't have to worry when it comes time to make a book or print some photos.
3. You can upload to a website that will make your book for you. Google Photos works directly with most websites (like Shutterfly) so that you can upload straight from your Google Drive.
I use a combination of all of these. I try to each week, but sometimes each month, I will go through my photos and save the super important ones to my external hard drive. I choose any that I want to share and put those in my shared Google photo albums. I also upload any photos that I want included in our yearly book to Shutterfly. Whenever I have extra time, I work on making my annual book (I don't wait for the end of the year to make the entire book, I work on it throughout the entire year). Since I upload throughout the year, I'm not bogged down looking through 20,000 photos but rather a few thousand that don't take much time.
Being consistent makes the task much less daunting. Just like your bathroom, your photos need cleaning or it will get out of control.
Here is a breakdown of my system that has worked for the past 6 years.
1. Auto-upload photos to Google Drive
2. Each week go through photos and save the super important ones to my hard drive, upload any favorites to Shutterfly, and create Google Photos albums for any photos I want to share.
3. Each month, work on my annual photo book.
4. Each year, I end up with an archive of all my photos (Google Photos), a book of all my favorites (and another archive of these on Shutterfly's website), and the most important ones backed up to my external hard drive.
This system works without Google Drive as well. If you using iCloud- do the same thing. If you don't use an auto-upload system, you just have the extra step of uploading your favorite photos and probably deleting the ones you don't want. *I definitely suggest maintaining this weekly if you have to actually delete photos and giving yourself a bit more time.
This is my approach to ALL my photos. It works SO well for me and my husband and the countless photos we take all year long. I hope it works for you!
L E T ' S B E F R I E N D S!