The Fix for Your Vacation Photo Mess

Do you have an overpopulation of disorganized pictures from your last holiday trip? Well, I’ve got a new organizational trick that could be a game changer…

If a picture tells a thousand words, then what do a thousand photos tell? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’d say that nobody in your life has the capacity to look at a thousand pics you might put in front of them.

What am I getting at? I’m here to remind you that you’re probably taking too many pictures. It’s essentially free to snap away these days, and you’ve got a better chance of capturing ‘the perfect pic’ if you take a few at the same time. The problem with that strategy is it’s clogging up your digital life. Trust me. I speak from experience…

And if you think I’ve got a problem, a friend of mine just told me he’s got 7,000 photos to go through from his recent trip to New Zealand. Good luck!

Barrett’s Rules to Organizing Your Photos
I just got back from a week-long family vacation, and I’m not proud to admit that I returned with over six hundred photos.
(That includes the pics from my wife’s iPhone.)
What are you supposed to do with all of that?

I’ll tell you how I’ve been handling the challenge of separating the digital wheat from the chaff…

  • First, I rate my photos on a five-point scale.
  • Then, I throw away the 1’s and 2’s.
    (Total misfires and blurry mistakes)
  • Next, I work with only the 5’s and tweak them as needed in Adobe Lightroom.
    (Brightness, color, straightening, cropping)

And for a family vacation, that usually gets me down to around 100 photos.
This time, I clocked in at 165 ‘best’ photos.

  • Then, I choose my ‘picks’ from the 5’s.
    (I guess that makes them my 6’s.)

That helps to slim the group even more, but I’m always left with more pictures than I really want…

Last week, I ‘invented’ a new step to my photo organization process…

Are you ready for this…?

Slimming Down to 36
How many pictures do you really need to ‘properly’ show off a week-long family vacation?
A hundred?

Let me offer up a radical concept…
What about just 36 pictures?
That’s a nice, round number we worked with in the analog days when rolls of film ruled the world.

How about 24?!
(Okay… baby steps.)

I say force yourself not to go above that number… like you’ve got a physical photo album with only so many pages.

Which Pictures Tell Your Story?
Does it take time to choose the very, very, very best?
It sure does.

Is it hard to figure out which few photos tell the complete story?
(And that’s usually a slightly different grouping than your ‘picks,’ which are individually chosen.)

And why have I created yet another step to what is already a long and laborious process to organize your photos?

Because, it’s the big payoff, baby!

If you’ve gone through all of the work to organize hundreds (thousands) of pics, shouldn’t you also have access to the few that truly rock? The ones that say, “Whoa! We’re really awesome!”

The ones that tell your story.

Family Test Case
I implemented my new concept, popped the fabulous few on the family iPad via an iCloud shared photo album and sat down with my wife and seven-year-old son after Saturday breakfast to go through them.

It was perfect.
(Daddy felt like a hero.)

And then, they remembered some moments that weren’t included and wanted to see those too.

So, I pulled up my folder of 165 ‘best’ pics (the 5’s) and we reviewed those too.
But the fatigue factor was noticeable.
I could tell we wouldn’t go through this group again.

My ‘fewer-photos’ theory was still sound!

Be Flexible
I also realized that when you try to get to the core of your story through just a few photos, one person will likely choose a somewhat different grouping than another.

And that’s okay.

The easy fix is to just add in the few extra pics that your other family members have called out.

So maybe your fabulous 36 grows to 40-something.
(I won’t tell.)

The Better Way
At the end of the day, it’s all about truly ‘enjoying’ your pictures. Sharing them is a big part of that. And receiving a little head nod, Spock eyebrow move, or comment of affirmation is a whole lot better than a look of relief when you’re done with your photo show.

Sure, it’s much easier to swipe through a mind-numbing amount of disorganized pics on your smartphone when you’re trying to show someone a few vacation photos. But that’s always such a mess.

There’s a better way.

And when you’ve mastered my ‘slimming-to-36’ technique, I’ve got your next challenge for you…

Choose the one picture that represents an entire vacation.

Now, that’s deep.