How to Build a Cloud Family Photo Archive for your Smartphone

by Barrett

It’s time to release the power of your best family photos! Here are four steps to help you create a family photo archive that you can carry around in your pocket.

Remember how your parents and grandparents liked to carry around wallet-sized photos of you when you were a kid? I think some folks still do that. How quaint… how silly…how unnecessary!

With smartphone tech that can house thousands of photos, why would anyone want to carry around a tattered physical family photo in a wallet?

Well, for one reason… you know exactly where that photo is. And when someone asks you about your family, you can pull it out on demand and show it off.

Can you boast that same super power?
…Right now?

Stop Looking for a Needle in your Visual Haystack
Yes, this topic may fall under the category of ‘super obvious,’ but you can’t simply hope to swipe through a mess of photos in your smartphone representing years of moments and successfully pull the desired image out of a hat whenever you need to.

You’ve got to tuck away a few of the really important ones in a place where you can easily access them (beyond your wallet).

And I’d say the best way to do that is to create a family archive photo album in the cloud that you can access from anywhere, including your smartphone.

Here are four easy steps to help get you going…

Step 1:  Create a Shared Cloud Photo Album
In the Apple ecosystem, of course that’s really simple to do…

You can create a ‘Shared Album’ either on your iPhone or in ‘Photos’ on your Mac and then simply pop in your top 50-100 pics that represent the entirety of your family and your life to date.
(Keeping the number down is much easier said than done, because you’ll find so many choices that you’ll want to include!)

The trick here is to only choose a small number of pics among the thousands you’ve got. Remember, you’re trying to essentially simulate the tattered wallet photo experience… with some obvious improvements. Simplicity and easy access are paramount.

Then after the heavy lifting of curating your little photo collection, simply share the album with your partner and whoever else you’d like…
How considerate of you!

Step 2:  Choose only a Few Photos
So which photos are you going to include?
Well, think about which pics best represent your family’s ‘story.’

Yes, that may take you some time to figure out…
(Our ancestors had it easy with only having to manage through a shoebox of disorganized photos.)

But once you go through your digital collection and pull together this new group of archive-worthy gems, you’ll realize the awesomeness of your accomplishment.

Step 3:  Include the Major Moments
I don’t think there’s one particular recipe to follow… you just need to take a little time to decide what those exact photos are…

For me, I wanted to include some of the obvious milestone family moments…

  • Our wedding
  • Our son’s birth and first days


Then show off a little of the ‘where…’

And then I realized, beyond the several landmark moments in life and fun places that anyone might want to display a picture from, there’s a blur of countless other experiences over the years that you really don’t need to consider.
(That’s sobering, right?)

So, what’s left…?

Step 4:  Focus Mostly on the ‘Who’
Well, it’s the people in your life… your family and friends.

The “who.”

Yes, we’re back to essence of the wallet photo phenomenon.

You’re going to want to carry around the pictures of the people in your life who have mattered most.

Those images are what I immediately felt the need to collect into my own cloud family photo archive…

And so I put those photos in a cloud folder titled ‘Family Portraits.’

Some were candid pics, but most were posed group shots taken at family events. The organic organization of the people in these photos nicely framed much of my family’s history.

Carry Your Family History in Your Pocket
Remember when I said that your photos have expiration dates and that your family and friends only care to see the most recent pics from your life?

While that’s certainly true at one level, some of your pics will defy that phenomenon and retain their long-term value as foundational explainers for your family’s history.

Just make sure you don’t lose them in the endless mass of digital freeze frames from your life.

Sure, they might be properly archived in a portable hard drive somewhere, but if you can’t immediately access them when you want to on your smartphone, you’re going to miss most of the opportunities to share them throughout your life!

A cloud family photo archive that lives on your smartphone is a strategy lightyears ahead of using those tiny wallet photos.

You’ve just got to build it!