Most mamas I meet harbor some degree of lingering anxiety about the state of their digital media. While they have spent many hours taking photos and videos of their family and friends, that footage now exists in many different places on their various devices. Their husbands, relatives and babysitters all have beautiful, funny, treasured pictures on their devices as well, but the mamas don’t necessarily have access to it. Whether or not all these memories are backed up, safe and sound, is often in question. And no mama has two weeks to lock herself in her office and get it all perfectly organized (which is what feels like is required). The issue of how to get family photos and videos organized remains unsolved and vexing.
Since my business, Smitten Films, specializes in helping moms get a handle on this (we make custom family films from this digital detritus), I wanted to offer five quick tips to help you get a handle on your digital media organization this year. While I can’t promise these five steps will resolve every issue you may be encountering, taking these proactive measures will offer some relief and sense of control in face of the deluge of photos and videos we all hope to conquer, someday.
1. Invite other family memories to share with you. You can’t organize or protect the photos and videos you don’t have access to. So give family and friends an easy way to share these digital memories by created a shared folder in your smartphone for them. With iPhones, it’s extremely easy to do. This is a great thing to do on an ongoing basis, for your husband, or babysitter or nanny, or even just during a fun vacation week that a lot of extended family members are participating in. They will all love seeing the pictures and videos from one another!
2. Make a place for your favorites. We think one of the most sanity-saving steps you can take is to create a highlights folder on your phone or on your desktop where you keep the very best, most favorite pictures and videos from your year. You can caption these, easily ensure back up, and make sure it contains highlights from all the trips, school events, and other important happenings from the year. The only trick is not trying to include everything!
3. Use your calendar. Put some time on your calendar every month to check in on the shared folder you’ve created, pull out your favorites, select your own favorites and place them into the year’s “Best Of” folder. Committing to this monthly ritual will make things easier at year end.
4. Back up in multiple places. No storage solution is perfect. Your device can break or be lost, a cloud storage solution can go down or be compromised. So we advocate both. Make sure you know where your photos are stored at home, make sure you are backing up to a external hard drive (overall, we prefer Lacie drives the most, and this one in particular). Then, make sure you are also backing up to the cloud. iCloud and Google Photos are fine if you are already using them, but in my opinion, Dropbox is the best (and yes, get used to the idea of paying for backing up your footage to the cloud – it’s worth it).
5. Find a way to relive your memories, every year. It is so important to enjoy your memories, and not just let them languish unseen! There are so many great ways of getting those memories front and center. We love the custom photo art you can create at Minted, including this collage. My dad used to create a family collage every year while I was growing up (there are over 30 hanging in my childhood home now!) and I love Minted’s modern take on this tradition. We also love the printed photo wood blocks or brass easels you can get from Artifact Uprising (all their stuff is so good!). Plum Print is another amazing way of enjoying memories by making your kids’ artwork into books. The options for photo books are too numerous to count, but we love the concierge approach of companies like Tweed Wolf. And of course, our most popular film at Smitten is the annual highlight film – so get in touch to make yours!
One of our favorite expressions is, “Perfect is the enemy of the good.” You may not have all your digital media perfectly organized by tomorrow, but you can take incremental steps to improve upon the current state of affairs. Like all resolutions we endeavor to embark on in 2018, success is the product of setting an intention, breaking it into manageable chunks, and building good habits that get us a little closer to the desired result. Here’s hoping these help you in your digital organization this year!
Lisa Ridd lives in Tribeca with her husband Seb and their three children while running her company, Smitten Films (@smittenfilms). For more tips and inspiration, sign up for Smitten’s newsletter here or follow them on instagram here. Lisa is always happy to consult on best practices and you can reach her directly here.
Looking for more media tips? Check out how to keep your social media professional in our recent post.