There was one question people had from last week’s newsletter article that was most prominent. You remember my article about preserving your photo details and your journaling by attaching it to the photo file’s metadata?
A whole lot of you are ready to jump on board now that you know how easy it is. But this one most common question from you made me realize I can also help you save a lot of time and keep you from doing work that is totally unnecessary.
The question . . .
Do you add journaling into the metadata for all of your photos?
No! That is definitely not necessary! You really don’t need to do that.
Other questions were related —
- When do you add your journaling?
- Do you do it after you import your photos?
- How do you find the time?
My System for Easy Photo-Journaling
I don’t always start working on my photos when I import them. Sometimes I do and sometimes I come back later. No matter when I do it, here is my system:
- Choose the photos that best tell the stories — the photos I might want to scrapbook or print.
- Put copies of these photos into quarterly albums.
- Edit and journal only the photos in my quarterly albums.
- Tag (or keyword) only the photos in my quarterly albums.
Choose the photos that best tell the stories.
I go through my main library (which I divide by year) and look for the ones that best tell my stories. Most often these are also my favorites, but many non-faves make the cut too because they are necessary for the story.
I’ve found there is one question to ask that is key in helping me reduce the number of photos I feel I need to use (and I love my layouts more as a result). The question to ask yourself is not, “Which photos do I like or love?” There are way too many. Or the worst question, “Which photos should I not use.” We’re too attached to our photos. This will get you nowhere.
The key question is instead, “Which photos will best tell the stories?”
By asking myself this, it’s very easy to identify those photos. Usually they’re the ones that best capture the action or the emotion of real life. I don’t delete the others. I still have them in my library.
I add a star-rating (any kind of identification or rating will do) to those story-telling photos so I can see them in an instant when I’m ready for the next step.
Need more help with this? I have an article with very specific examples of what to look for when identifying good story-telling pictures — How to Choose Your Best Vacation Photos.
Put copies of these photos into quarterly albums.
I move a copy of the starred photos into a quarterly album. In Aperture it’s very easy to do this. I click on the first one in my library, then hold down the command button while I click on all the other starred photos. Next I drag them all into my quarterly album. They show up in both the yearly library project and the quarterly album.
This step is vital! It allows you to see only those photos that are most important. It saves enormous amounts of time because you’re only working with them — the ones you are most likely to use. They’re the ones your children are most likely to be interested in.
(And trust me. I’ve started receiving photos from my parents. I’m happy that they took a decent amount of photos. I’m also happy that they didn’t hand me as many photos as we tend to take these days!)
The yearly library projects where you keep all of your photos are cluttered and unattractive. They can even be stressful. But a quarterly album of just the most important story-telling photos is inspiring. It’s beautiful and it’s simple and approachable. No overwhelm happens to me when I’m in these quarterly albums because they ‘re so manageable.
My Library of 2010 Photos — (overwhelm)
My Album from July-September 2010 — (wonderfully manageable)
You can always go back into your full library and pick more photos. But do you know what I usually end up doing? Most often I eventually remove another two or three photos from my quarterly albums!
For more help with this step you can read my article — How to Inspire Thanks Through Your Photos
Edit and journal only the photos in your quarterly albums.
I only work with the photos that I actually think I’ll print or share. I definitely do not edit any of the other photos in my library. I may never use those, so why spend the time on something that is unlikely to have any benefits? Spend your time on the important things — the things that will have maximum results. Editing and journaling photos you may never use will not give you good results and will take time away from better things.
If you missed my article on how to permanently attach journaling or picture details into your photo files, here’s the link — The Most Important Word for You to Learn This Year.
Tag (or keyword) only the photos in your quarterly albums.
This is great for finding photos later, but I admit I’m not as adamant about doing this as I am about editing and journaling into the metadata of my photos. If I neglect one of the steps in this article because of a lack of time, I would rather my photos have my journaling than tags.
That said, I do tag them for the most part. Tagging is also good for long-term documentation because it identifies the facts about the photo. In the short term it makes it easy to find photos.
Tagging may seem tedious, but it’s pretty easy when you’re only tagging the pictures you’re most likely to use — the ones in your quarterly albums. Of course, it’s also very easy to find untagged photos I’m looking for with the quarterly albums because I can see all of the important photos at a glance since they’re separate from the entire library.
I hope this helps you clarify a workable system for yourself! My system makes it very easy and — even very enjoyable! In fact it has completely changed the way I think about my scrapbooking and has relieved so much guilt and anxiety when it comes to telling all the stories I want to tell. There’s no way I can scrapbook all of the stories I really want to tell.
But I can tell them all — at least to a minimal extent — because I’m jotting the stories into the photos themselves! All of my photo stories are being told! Wow! Can you imagine what that feels like? This means I can relax and just choose the stories I most feel like putting onto scrapbook pages — those I most want to spend extended time with and not worry about what doesn’t get done.
It’s a whole new world now.