Managing Photographs

How do you manage your photographs? My father used to say “There are two kinds of people in the world - those who put who their photographs into albums and those who are going to put their photographs into albums”. I was in the latter camp; Dad the former, as you can see here:

A page from one of my father's photo albums.

A page from one of my father’s photo albums

It has always been a problem and, since the arrival of digial technologies, it has become very much worse.

Looking Back:-

  • When I was young, cameras used roll film and you got eight shots on a reel, which you had to send away to be processed and printed. As a result, people had relatively few, they were very small (contact prints) until enlargements became available, and they were also black-and-white until the 1960s.
  • Later, 35mm film had 25 or 36 pictures on a roll (what luxury) and they were all colour prints (if we ignore the brief period in the early days of colour when slides became popular). During this period, if you didn’t make photo albums, you ended up with carrier bags full of Boots packets (I have many in my loft).
  • Since the arrival of digital cameras and mobile phones, we all have thousands of digital images on our hard drives, and they’re as impossible to view as the carrier bags were.


  • In the old early, sensible people put the best photos into albums (my dad did; I always intended to)
  • In the digital era:-
    1. pick the best from each batch and delete the rest. I have a friend who always does this so he has a selected manageable set of photos of each event he attends. I don’t so I have thousands of photos.
    2. At the very least, put each batch of photos, as you upload them, into a folder on your hard drive. I used to try to do this.
    3. use a program to help:-
    There are many. Best and most expensive seems to be Adobe Lightroom
    I use Aperture, which is Apple . . and also discontinued by Apple, so it will soon stop working. Then I’ll be stuck again. I have 86,000+ photos, many of which are in named folders within Aperture!
    Free alternatives used to be iPhoto (Apple), Picasa (Google) plus others. Not sure what the most used Microsoft one was.

Recent Work:-
The problem of photo overload is not new so work has been done to solve it for us all:-

  • The idea is that as you upload your photos, your computer looks at them and sorts them for you - by year, by place, by face recognition, etc., etc.
  • They’re not that good at it but they're getting better
  • Apple’s offering is “Photos”. Google’s is “Google Photos”. Again, I’m not sure about Microsoft.
  • The idea is that you can look at your photos and home in on useful collections (albums made for you) and you can make your own albums.
  • You can also search. So, if you type “bristol” in the search box, it should show you all the photos taken in Bristol. You get the idea. “Dog” will show you all the dogs.

Google Photos:-
Picasa has been replaced by Google Photos. It’s online so you don’t install a program. According to Google, your Picasa photos are already there waiting for you. You can set it to automatically upload all new photos as you transfer them to your computer.

Here’s the info. Give it a try and let me know how you get on:

© Brian Smith 2015