Last week we talked about cameras of yesteryear. Cameras that only took 24 pictures before you had to change the roll of film. But things have changed. Now almost everybody on the planet has a digital camera, either on their phone, or small enough to fit in the palm of their hand. We have memory cards that allow us to take hundreds of pictures. Whereas with the old-fashioned cameras we had to ration our photos, now we can take pictures with impunity. We can take 37 pictures of the sunset from our back porch. We can take 137 pictures of just 5 minutes of our child’s football game or dance recital. Why do we do this?
This past 4th of July, I took about 70 bazillion pictures of the fireworks until I realized I was missing them. I was trading my opportunity to feel patriotic as I enjoyed the wonder and splendor the fireworks for viewing them through a tiny window, stressing out about pushing the button at just the right time to get the perfect picture of the fireworks as they blasted, one by one into the sky.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this. People, we are missing our lives because we are so addicted to taking pictures of it! Pictures that eat up our computer memory and are never looked at again. Pictures that cause our phones to say, “Your storage is almost full. You can manage this in “settings.”
Comedian Jim Gaffigan has a hilarious interview where he talks about this. You can watch it by clicking here or by viewing it below. My favorite quote from the short video is, “It’s because we have the cameras on our phones. Do we need that? It’s not as if ten years ago we were like, ‘I wish I could take a low-quality photo of my dessert.'”
Seriously, all these pictures use valuable space on our electronic devices. Sometimes we download them onto our computers, which just sit there and take up more memory. I would wager that most of us have thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands pictures on our computers. It’s time to do something about this.
There are two things you can do with this challenge:
There are two things you can do with this challenge:
- You can go back and sort through and organize all the pictures you already have
- You can ignore those pictures and employ a new method for choosing and storing pictures from this point forward
The main methodology for both options is the same. First, you must delete, delete, delete. Don’t deliberate. If the picture doesn’t bring you joy and isn’t essential for recording an important event, just delete it. Believe me, you won’t go back later in life looking for that one certain grainy, out of focus picture taken in a dark auditorium where you can barely see your son in the second row of cellos, hidden by his stand partner.
If you have 10 pictures that are almost identical, pick one and delete the rest. Believe me, as a professional photographer, I know how hard this is! I deliberate way too long about which pictures to show clients, but in the end, I make myself get rid of the ones that are all really similar to each other, even if they are REALLY GOOD pictures!
The next part of dealing with digital photos is knowing how to store them on our computers so we actually CAN find them later. In the past, I used to label my folders with names like, “Daniel and Charity’s Wedding,” “Disney Family Party,” and “Dad’s 80th Birthday.” Don’t do this. Finding random photos when you can’t remember the name of the folder you put them in is a recipe for frustration. There is always the “search” function on your computer, but I have never found that to be helpful–at all.
Here’s what I do. I organize everything by date. First, I label a folder “Family Pictures.” I have this on the desktop of my computer. Inside this folder, I have folders for each year labeled, “Family pics 2010, Family pics 2011, Family pics 2012, etc. Then inside each of those folders, I have January 2015, Feburary 2015, March 2015, etc.
Here is a picture to show you exactly what I mean. (I have left out the main “Family Picture” folder that will be on your desktop or wherever else you choose to have it). You’ll notice that the months are not in order because the computer automatically alphabetizes them.
Whether or not you choose to go back and organize all your photos from the past or just start from this day forward to organize them, remember to LIVE YOUR LIFE! Do you want to be fully present, or do you want to miss out on the enjoyment you could have had because you were too busy pushing a button?
Your assignments for this week are:
- Discard pictures like crazy. Get rid of all the ones on your phones that do not bring you joy. Delete all those from your digital cameras that do not bring you joy. If you wish, get on your computer and delete all those that do not bring you joy. Go with your gut feeling! Do not think long and hard about each picture! When deciding which pictures to throw away, ask yourself two questions: Does this picture bring me joy NOW? Is this picture absolutely necessary to record an important life event? You don’t need all the pictures of your daughter walking up to receive her diploma. Just the one where she is actually receiving it will do.
- Organize your pictures by date.
- You may consider having your all-time favorite photos made into a photobook. It’s very sad that we take all these pictures and then never look at them or enjoy them. There are many companies that can do this, from Shutterfly to Snapfish to even Costco. You can use the “autofill” option for quick completion of your book. Or you can take more time to place the pictures yourself, choosing from an array of design options. But if that still seems too onerous, these companies have people who will design your books for you. Here is a link to Shutterfly and their special deals that are currently being offered.
This challenge is based on the KonMari method found in the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you are just joining us, be sure to start at the beginning! It’s very important to go in order! You can also visit my Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life page for all the previous posts in this series. Don’t feel like you have to catch up if you are just finding this challenge now! Just make sure to start doing the weekly challenges from the beginning, and you will be fine!