The ABCs of Weeding Photos

My name is Cheri, and I’m a photo hoarder.  It’s tough to admit when my job is to tell people not to hold onto every photo that ever came into their possession, but I have a hard time weeding photos myself.  Becoming a professional photo organizer has taught me that to truly appreciate your photos, you should only have pictures that make you happy and/or tell your story.

It’s so easy to take tons of pictures when you have a phone with a camera built in at your fingertips most of your waking hours.  If you search my digital pictures for my cats’ names, you will find an embarrassing number of photos because they look so cute when they’re sleeping.

My digital SLR camera is just as at fault for my overwhelming number of photos.  Why not keep clicking at that lacrosse game or birthday party on the chance you will get a truly great photo?  The problem is ending up with 20 pictures of the birthday kid opening gifts where only the wrapping paper changes.

Photo organizers use a very easy-to-understand method to categorize photos.  There are pictures you want to display or use in photo books, pictures you want to keep because they tell part of the story, and pictures you need to toss because they just get in the way of the good ones.  Here is a real-life example from a family trip to Las Vegas:

A = Album

In this A photo, we are all dressed up for my grandmother’s birthday dinner.  My sisters and I are sitting with our grandma and smiling for the camera.  We are in the lobby of Caesars Palace, the hotel we all stayed in.  This is a picture I would put in a frame and definitely include in a family photo album or a photo book about the trip.

B = Box

This B photo looks a mess at first glance, since nobody is looking at the camera.  However, it tells a very important part of the story when you see the custom t-shirts with my grandma’s face in the Queen of Hearts.  We surprised her by all wearing these shirts to breakfast on her birthday.  My grandma is pointing at my sister’s shirt and asking her sister (my great-aunt) if she saw the t-shirts.  I love this photo and wouldn’t want to lose it, but it would never go in a frame.

C = Can (garbage can, that is)

My C photo is of the Luxor hotel on the strip.  There are no people in the photo.  There are orange construction flags.  We did not stay at this hotel or even eat a meal here.  If I want a photo of the Luxor, I can go online and find a dozen better than this one.  Why do I still have this picture?  Both print and digital versions can be tossed.

Like any other clutter, photo clutter can get in the way of you enjoying the things you value the most.  Make a pass through your print and digital photos and use the ABC method to decide which ones are actually worth keeping.  It will be easier to enjoy the good photos if you don’t have to flip through the bad ones to see them.

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