Taming family photo chaos – step one

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25,000 photos and counting… That is correct. Since our twins were born just over 2 years ago we have taken over 25,000 photos using multiple devices and I’m not ashamed to say the situation is out of control. Like most parents we love to capture all the little moments and every last facial expression. It all seems quite indulgent and a complete waste of time especially as we are not doing anything at all with the photos except leaving them in the digital galaxy.

Family photo chaos


This year I am determined to tame our family photo chaos and start preserving our memories in a more tangible format. I have done an insane amount of research on how to best do this and I am starting to get a handle on it. I want to share what I have learnt and hopefully learn more myself  about this process. So this is the first part in a series of posts on how to better manage your family photos.

Step One – Edit, edit, edit

Digital photography is cheap compared with previous methods. This means we can be snap happy in a bid to get the right photo. I am an addict of the iPhone burst capability which takes continuous shots while you hold down the capture button. This creates a problem. Hundreds of photos of the same thing, situation, person.

I found the best way to relive the essence of the situation is to edit the photos as soon as you can. This means editing or selecting your favourite photos from each device on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and filing them in a way that suits you – more of this in my next post on this topic.


I find the biggest culprit of digital photo mess is my phone so I made keeping on top of my iPhone images a priority. Luckily there are few tricks and tips to help with this. Note – my focus here is on iOS devices – iPhone, iPad etc – as this is what I own.

  1. Some of the latest updates for Apple’s iOS include inbuilt albums that identify certain types of shots – screenshots, selfies, bursts etc. Using these you can quickly delete images you no longer want/need. I take a lot of screen shots and my kids love taking selfies so there is a lot of junk to get rid of right there. Bursts also have their own folder so you can review them easily and choose the best images
  2. I also stumbled across this extremely useful app – Keepers (keep only the photos you want). The app’s beautifully simple interface means you can compare similar photos quickly and easily and discard the ones you don’t want. iOS only I’m afraid!
  3. For a larger scale approach to purging unwanted photos from your phone try the GetSpace app. This app quickly identifies duplicates, screenshots and blurred photos for quick deletion.

Photo chaos vs Keepers app

I estimate this has helped my scale back the images I’ve kept on my phone by about 35%. At the very least I am saving space on my phone but I do think it helps me feel a lot calmer about the prospect of reviewing the 1000s of images from earlier months I need to deal with.

You can take a similar approach with your camera(s) though it is probably best to invest in some software that has this along with other features such as tagging and organising collections of photos. I’ll go into this in a lot more detail in an upcoming post.

Once I have eliminated the most obvious digital clutter culprits I then start to work on the rest. Taking cues from Marie Kondo‘s philosophy on tidying up and decluttering your physical space, I think it is best to focus on the images you want to keep rather than those you want to get rid of. Select those images that bring you joy or make you feel nostalgic and delete the rest.


If you start small with this approach then hopefully like me you will feel more comfortable in attacking the bulk of the problem of digital photo chaos created earlier.

Next up in this series – Consolidating your photos and file management

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  1. 27th February 2016 / 11:13 AM

    Oh I like the sound of getspace, I’m going to get that app straight away. I’ve just started uploading my iPhone photos to my Mac every few days which keeps me on top of deleting the unwanted photos.
    My other problem is the hundreds of pics my girls take while I’m not watching! Thanks for the tips

    • 27th February 2016 / 2:39 PM

      Thanks Ciara! I know what you mean about kid photos. Should I be worried that my 2 year olds know what a selfie is?! ?

  2. 5th July 2016 / 1:20 PM

    You sound like me, we have so many photos of the kids and some of them are rubbish but I can’t bring myself to delete them!

    • 5th July 2016 / 2:04 PM

      It’s so difficult isn’t it. I just got some back from my kids kinder and they are kind of cheesy but I want them all!!

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