How to Organize Your Photos

So you love to take photos. They're lovely, but boy can they stack up, once they're developed! Get them out where you and others can find and enjoy them.


  1. Image titled Start with not to many Step 1
    Handle a few at a time, especially for a large pile. You didn't accumulate these photos overnight, and you're not going to sort them overnight, either. One approach would be to set a timer for 15 or 30 minutes, and just work for that long.
  2. Image titled Use a flat surfase Step 2
    Get the photos out where you can see them. Spread them out over a table or use shoe boxes or trays. If you can leave the project on display for awhile or store them in order between sessions, you'll have less preparation time in each sitting.
  3. Image titled Use album Step 3
    Obtain or create a destination for the photos. This could be an album, scrapbook, frames, flip-frames, or simply a decorative box.
  4. Image titled Organize in groups Step 4
    Do a rough pass.
    • Cull any hopelessly blurry shots, along with anything that's much too bright or dark. Also throw out anything featuring the photographer's thumb or camera strap if it cannot be salvaged by cropping. Consider discarding duplicates or near-duplicates, too. If you have good double shots, pass them along to Grandma, or anybody else who would appreciate them.
    • Sift out anything that could be improved by cropping or other adjustment and place it in a separate pile or tray.
    • Sort them into broad categories. For example, put family photographs in one pile, nature or artistic shots in another, and utility photos (such as pictures taken of your home or belongings for insurance purposes).
  5. Image titled Have another look Step 5
    As you see the photos again, consider how you will organize them. You could arrange them chronologically, by subject, or by event, for instance. Begin sorting them in whatever detail you choose.
  6. Image titled Label photos Step 6
    Label the photos as you go or create labels. If you're writing directly on the photo, rather than alongside them in an album or scrapbook, make sure you use an appropriate pen.
  7. Image titled Place the rest in a box Step 7
    If your photos are going in boxes, sort them directly into the boxes. If they're going in albums or scrapbooks, you'll also need to arrange them on the pages. You can do a rough layout before committing to a permanent arrangement.


  • Don't forget that framed photos make great gifts. An old family photo such as the one above can be scanned, cleaned up, enlarged, and reprinted for a memorable keepsake.
  • As you get your photos sorted, put them out where everybody can look through them. Seeing everybody enjoy those memories is the reward for all that work, and it will help inspire you to continue with the rest.
  • Frame and display a few of your best and favorite photos. Pictures tucked away in boxes or albums may never get the attention they deserve.
  • Using plastic sleeves is a great way to sort the photos before you put them in their final destination. It makes it easy to pack up your organising for the next session (in a file) and you can see the pictures immediately.
  • Don't feel guilty about having unsorted photos. Lots of people do. Do get going and sort them.


  • There is no one way or perfect way to sort and organize photos, so don't get too hung up in the details. Aim for completion over perfection. There's no great harm in having a couple out of order.

Things You'll Need

  • Photos
  • Album, scrapbook, box, frames of your choice
  • Scissors or paper cutter
  • Photo-worthy pen
  • Labels
  • Work area

Article Info

Categories: Photo Albums