Organizing Photos By People

You’ve decided to dive in and turn the boxes of hard copy photos into an organized resource—a source of reconnecting and joy. That’s great, until you start sifting through pictures and realize it’s a bigger task than you realized. Systems like the one we cover in our Sip & Sort Workshops (next one coming up on January 18) will save you hours upon hours. This workshop in particular provides fun resources to help you launch your project, learn a system, and find your focus.

But if you’re already motivated, be sure to learn the ABCs of tagging, which include deciding what images are album-worthy, box-worthy, trashcan-worthy and story-worthy. In addition, tagging will help later to break those categories down into smaller piles by themes. The obvious categories will surface naturally, including holidays, trips and other special occasions. Or, it may be that separating by decades works better with your collection.

Sometimes, depending on how you inherited your photos, there will be some that are more mystery than memory for you. For example, I’m working on a client project sorting one of many boxes of images and memorabilia. I’ve been at it awhile, so I’ve learned many of the faces of his family, but there are still those I don’t know.

I learned by using my brain’s “facial recognition software” that I could separate those images by person, and then utilize sleuthing to get more information and a chronological order to the whole set. Give this a try with your unidentified people, and see if you don’t feel a bit of Sherlockian gratification.

As you sort, keep in mind this is a process; but by using the system and keeping at it, you will achieve joys and rewards along the way. And at the beautiful completion, you’ll have everything you ever wanted out of your photos and more.