3 steps to start organising your digital photo collection

April 11, 2023

So, you decided to start organising your photo collection. However, are you feeling at a complete loss as to where to start? 

Well, you are certainly not alone. Feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start is probably the top cited reason for procrastinating about photos.

Photo organising projects tend to be time-consuming and, to be completely honest, quite tedious. We can’t deny this. However, it is also incredibly relieving to have all photos in one place, backed up at least twice and it is extremely rewarding to find photos quickly and with ease.

So, where do we start?

Step 1 – Think about your Why


Here is the first step for you to take:

Grab a cup of tea, a piece of paper and a pen. Don’t even think of touching your digital photos at this point in time. What you do instead is to ask yourself the following question:

What do I want to do with my photos?

Let’s explore in more depth what I mean by that, and I am also sharing some typical examples I hear time and time again from clients.

It is basically thinking about your Why (also check out our podcast episode #03 Know Your Why). Why do you want to do anything with your photos?

Here are some possible reasons or Whys:

  • You want to display and see your photos so you can enjoy them and the memories.
  • You want to create photo books for yourself and/or your children.
  • You want to write down some stories and add photos to them. Maybe you need the photos to trigger the storytelling.
  • You want to leave your photos in an orderly fashion rather than letting your children inherit a big hot photo mess that is overwhelming and meaningless to them.
  • You want to be able to easily share your photos and memories with others.
  • You want to create fun photo gifts for others.

I encourage you to take some time to think about your very own personal Why. By the way, there can be more than one Why. Write it down and use whole sentences, not just bullet points.

Step 2 – Write down some goals


Once you are clear about your Why, it is time to think about some concrete goals. Here is an example to clarify what I mean:

Your Why is ‘I want to create photo books’. Your goals deriving from this could be:

  • I am creating an annual yearbook starting from 2005.
  • I am creating a photo book documenting my child’s primary school years.
  • I am creating a wedding anniversary book showing the highlights of our first 20 years of marriage.
  • I am creating a memorial photo book of my late dad.

… and so on. I’m sure you get what I mean. These goals are very specific and of course to make them even better, add a date to them and prioritise them. Not all will have the same urgency.

Again, write it all down. What you have now is a list with your Why/s and a list of specific goals.

Step 3 – Plan


Nothing is going to happen just because it has been added to a list. It is time to take action and to do some planning and scheduling.

Grab your list with the prioritised goals and dates. Think a bit more about the steps you need to tackle to reach this goal and then schedule the time needed in your diary. Even if it’s just a rough estimate, it’s better than nothing at all. We all have busy lives and if we don’t set time aside for certain projects, they are never going to happen.

If we stay with the example of creating books, think about what you need for that. Obviously, you need photos. Where are they? Have you already got an organised collection? Do you need to gather photos from various devises and maybe multiple people in your family first? Add all steps necessary to your plan.

If your goal is to create an organised photo hub, what do you need for that (hint: check out our 5 Golden Rules of Photo Organising!).

Of course, it is still only on paper. Time to do it!



I’d love to hear in the comment section about any questions or experiences you have had with photo organisation. The more you can let me know about the challenges you encounter, the better I can serve you by sharing tips.

Looking forward to reading your comments 😊 – best wishes,



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