technology

Three Tips for Avoiding Media Clutter

If you're anything like me, the end of vacation brings about the dreaded "Storage is Full" warning on your phone and computer. Rats! Maybe you shouldn't have taken those 50 family of photos of varying blurriness as the sun went down over Belize.

I enjoy taking lots of photos and videos, and one of my go-to activities when I have downtime and poor cell service is to go through my favorite photos through the years. So, I like keeping a curated batch of media on hand (stored on my device), and the rest up in the cloud. Here are some tips for keeping your media in check, your storage happy, and your memories intact.

 One of my favorite shots from our recent trip to Iceland.

One of my favorite shots from our recent trip to Iceland.

1. Set up automatic backup to the cloud

If you haven't done this already, this is the place to start. Choosing between the multitude of options - Dropbox, Google Photos, Amazon Prime Photos, or iCloud (to name a few) - can be intimidating, but rest assured that all of these services offer similar features for the casual user: album organization, date cataloguing, and built-in sharing.

You may want to base your choice off your hardware - if you have mostly Mac devices, iCloud integrates seamlessly, as will Google Photos with Android and Google Devices. 

Or, perhaps you already pay for an Amazon Prime account, in which case Prime Photos is an included extension. 

My personal favorite is Google Photos. Why? Google has come out with some great integrated technology (see their awesome PhotoScan app), and I find the photos interface extremely user friendly. Whatever your choice, download the corresponding apps and desktop programs, turn on your Wifi overnight, and all your photos will likely be backed up by morning.

2. Edit, Favorite and Delete

Take it from Google:

Armed with HD cameras in our pockets, we take a lot of photos.

If you feel a mountain of media clutter building up, one behavior to adopt is "real time" media management. Once or twice a week, as part of your routine, go through your phone or camera photos and delete repeats, blurry stills, all the photos where the dog isn't looking, or Dad's blinking. Don't be a photo hoarder - it's too hard to enjoy your photos on the backend if you have to sift through thousands of thumbnails!

In addition to deleting photos (OK, or instead!), simply mark your favorites. Keeping a favorites album is a lot easier to manage on the fly than meticulously organizing your photos into albums like "Hayden Eating Apple Sauce" or "Cabo Spring Break - Tuesday thru Thurs Part 1."

Plus, when it comes time to make a slideshow or photo book, it will be a whole lot easier for you to find the gems by filtering for favorites.

3. Take Fewer Photos

I know, you and I both dread this one. In my quest for the perfect photo, it's not uncommon to end up with tens of almost carbon-copy photos of the same event. After all, that's what professional photographers do, right? It's not like we have to spend hours in the dark room anymore...

OK, right - sort of. But we're not professional photographers. I sometimes sneak stealth posts to Instragram or Facebook when I'm in line for a coffee or in the elevator. Most of the time, I don't have time to go through 50 options.

It's OK to not get the perfect photo. In fact, quirky, imperfect photos can create richer memories. Taking fewer photos will make it easier to sort through them on the back end, and it will even free up more of your time to enjoy the moment.

Have more suggestions on media management? Let me know below!

 One of the many photos taken while we waited for Ruby to smile. She did eventually smile. I, however, blinked during that one.

One of the many photos taken while we waited for Ruby to smile. She did eventually smile. I, however, blinked during that one.