Favorite Photo Organizing Tools
Here are some of my favorite photo organizing tools that I personally use, as well as others recommended by other professional photo managers. I believe you will find them helpful as well.
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Books & Guides
This is not an exhaustive list. But such books can help by giving you a roadmap (or helping you to create your own).
Planning Power Pack
Get the mental, emotional, and physical momentum you need to start and finish your photo management project. This two-product pack delves into goal-setting strategy, mindset, and the essential decisions you need to make before you can create the organized collection of your dreams.
A fantastic system for organizing and storing photos. Helps you to connect with your photographs. System has a universal application. Reaches out to all scrapbookers with a plan and guide.
Photo Organizing Made Easy
You’ll learn how to tackle the challenges of time and technology, have access to trusted resources when you need a helping hand, and benefit from expert advice.
What’s a Photo Without the Story?
Think you don’t have stories to tell? A professional organizer & genealogist helps you tell the stories of your photos, family, & things.
Organizing and Preserving Your Family Photos
You can sort those photos, remove duplicates, and organize them in a way that makes them easy to find when necessary.
Photo Organizing Practices
This book will help you: Develop a workflow; Choose storage methods and tools; Deal with photo overload; and Manage your collection.
Saving Your Family Photos
Organize your printed photos once and for all. Follow the system to save your photos and pass on your family traditions and values.
Declutter Your Photo Life
A professional photo organizer & photographer teaches you his straightforward, step-by-step workflow that will create a calming order out of your photo chaos.
How to Archive Family Photos
A practical guide for organizing your digital photo collection, digitizing & preserving heirloom family photos, and sharing your treasured photos.
Tools for Printed Photos
These tools can help you manage your printed photos while ensuring their safety from skin oils, chemicals in ink, and unsafe photo albums.
Protects photos and memorabilia from finger oils.
Protects photos and memorabilia from finger oils.
Write safely and clearly on the backs of photographs, and on polypropylene or polyester sleeves,
Waxed Dental Floss
Use to remove photos from sticky albums without bending them.
Use to remove photos from sticky albums without bending them.
Photo Cleaning Cloths
Absorbs & removes dust, oil, smudges, fingerprints, and dirt.
Old Format Viewers
If you have a lot of negatives and/or slides to view so you can decide what to digitize, a viewer is an indispensable piece of equipment.
Light Box for Negatives & Slides
Ultra bright, even, consistent illumination for viewing old films, slides & other transparencies.
Viewer for 35mm Slides & Negatives
Enlarges images by 3X without distortion, blurriness or loss of detail.
Illuminated 35mm Slide Viewer
Affordable and portable with 2x magnification to view every detail.
External Hard Drives (EHD)
The quality of the hard drive matters when it comes to your precious memories. These are the brands I recommend. Most people can get by with a 2TB drive, but if you have multiple generations of photos, you may need a bigger drive. There are two common types: Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and Solid-State Drives (SSD) HDDs are mechanical, the type of drive you are likely most used to. Sometimes sections of the drive can become corrupted resulting in partial data loss. SSDs are more expensive and completely electronic with no moving parts. They are generally more reliable, except when they aren’t. Then all of the data on the drive is lost. None of this matters with a good backup system in place (see the Preserve section). USB 3 offers a faster transfer rate than USB 2, and so is recommended. ALL hard drives should be replaced with new drives every 3- 5 years.
Toshiba 2TB Portable HDD EHD – USB 3.0
Seagate 2TB Portable HDD EHD – USB 3.0
WD 2TB Portable HDD EHD – USB 3.0
Digital Photo Organizing Software
Although there is a learning curve to digital photo organizing software, it’s worth it in the long run.
Historian is excellent Windows-based software. However, due to it’s proprietary organizational methods, I only recommend it to people using FOREVER as their Digital Photo Hub because they talk to each other.
With the Mylio Photos app, all your photos and videos — from any source — are cataloged in one library that’s accessible on all your devices. A powerful system for managing a lifetime of memories.
Excire Foto is a powerful app designed for easy photo management and quick content-based browsing. Numerous smart features help you get organized and find the photos you are looking for.
Duplicates and more are the bane of many a family photo keeper. These software programs will make your life easier.
Awesome Duplicate Photo Finder
Awesome Duplicate Photo Finder is Open-Source Freeware for Windows. It gives you the most control, but takes longer because you’re making individual decisions rather than automated ones. Here’s a quick video tutorial I made.
Duplicate Cleaner will deep scan for all types of files on Windows – photos, music, films, video, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, text files – you name it, if it appears twice on your computer then Duplicate Cleaner will find it.
PhotoSweeper is a swift and powerful duplicate photos cleaner built to help you find and delete duplicate and similar photos on your Mac.
Optimized for the new M1-powered Macs! Works with Apple Photos, IPhotos, and Aperture.
Cisdem Duplicate Finder
Cisdem Duplicate Finder helps you find duplicate files that have identical content regardless of name, and displays them in an easy-to-understand report. The program ensures 100% accuracy, you can keep the best instance of each duplicate item and reclaim more space on your computer.
Photo Sweeper Course
This course was developed by a former Apple Genius turned Professional Photo Manager. Using a powerful and effective tool like PhotoSweeper can require a bit more patience to learn how to use and master, so he will walk you through all the steps you will need to understand, set up, and use it.
This course was developed by a former Apple Genius turned Professional Photo Manager. It does a good job of finding and removing dupes, works on both Windows and Mac, and you could be up and de-duping fairly quickly. It also removes duplicate music files and other documents as well.
Archival Storage for Photos & Memorabilia
If you plan to keep your photos and memorabilia, it’s best to invest in archival storage. Pretty much nothing sold at hobby and craft stores fits the bill.
Preserving the objects that represent your family history can ensure your legacy for future generations. Handcrafted in their Rochester NY facility.
Their Contrast Line has a focus on Photo Organizing, They come in a wide selection of sizes, colors, and binding options. Made from the highest quality of material sourced from U.S. based distributors.
Preserve your books, documents, photos, artifacts and collectibles. Their selection includes acid-free, lignin-free, pH-neutral boxes, folders, tissues and more, so you can ensure safe storage.
If you decide to do your own scanning, these are the scanners I recommend.
This scanner will save you so much time (and save your back, too). Preserve your photos up to 8×10. Includes the Perfect Picture Imaging System — bring new life to old photos with auto enhancement, color restoration, red-eye reduction, de-skew, crop and rotate.
Plustek OpticFilm 8200
The best scanner for 35 mm negatives and slides. Built-in infrared channel can detect dust and scratches on the surface of the original negatives and slides. It is highly useful for defect removal without retouching the images. 7200 x 7200 dpi (69 Megapixels).
Scans photos and documents up to 8.5 x 11 inches (and A4). Includes powerful image enhancement software. Z300 uses a special soft roller to protect old photos. It also has a high-quality CCD sensor inside that has a high degree of reproduction for color images.
You can backup your entire computer (and hard drives) or just your photo collection.
BackBlaze is whole computer backup. It will also back up an unlimited number of external hard drives at no extra cost. If your Digital Photo Hub is on your computer or on an external hard drive, this is a great option to make sure your precious memories remain safe.
Although I don’t recommend using Amazon Photos as your Digital Photo Hub, it’s great as a photo backup for the Hub. Here is an article (from The Photo Managers) that explains how to set it up, as well as what you get with it.
Although I don’t recommend Dropbox as a Digital Photo Hub, it’s great as a photo backup for the Hub. Start with 2 GB of free storage. When you need more, paid plans offer 2 or 3 TB for your photos, videos and other files.
Celebrate & Share
Design & Print at FOREVER
Create stunning, custom, professionally-designed keepsakes in minutes.
- Tabletop Displays
- Mouse Pads
- & More!
Crystal Clear Memories 3D Crystals
A 3D Photo Crystal is a forever gift that will touch their heart for years to come. Crystal Clear Memories is the industry leader in laser-engraved 3D crystals. They show you an instant proof of your engraved glass with their patent-pending Live Preview™ technology before you buy.
Nixplay Digital Photo Frame
Nixplay is different from other photo frames. All your photos are kept safely on their cloud storage which is located on secure, encrypted servers in the USA. And they have a new feature that allows you to preload a digital frame with photos and videos. The result is a gift-opening experience that will delight everyone.
Easy Canvas Prints
Canvas prints at a great price. A 4.7 star rating with over 1.2 million reviews. Award-winning customer service, museum quality canvas prints, and best canvas value anywhere. They also sell blankets, mugs, calendars, and other photo gifts.
Turn your favorite photos into unique photo displays. Imagine coming home to see your favorite memories made into true artwork for your walls, desks and shelves with the push of a button! Or being able to create a personalized, one-of-a-kind gift for your friends and family from the comfort of your couch.
Customize endless options of wall decor with your own art, photos or designs to manifest your perfect vibe at home. From skateboards to posters, TilePix truly is the only place to design a custom wall that uniquely reflects you. And let’s be honest: hanging up something that you made on your own just hits different.
M.I.L.K. (Moments of Inspiration, Love and Kinship) to celebrate what it is to be part of a family, to have friendship and, more than anything else, to be loved. Our founders have also been trusted with creating beautiful books for some of the world’s leading figures. Today, we bring the same attention and care to your own personal photo books and albums.
Mixbook combines unique, on-trend designs with a powerful editor, allowing you to create one-of-a-kind photo goods that truly reflect your personal style. They deeply believe photos matter, and that every photo tells a story of what matters most to you. They want to empower people to tell their stories through beautiful, personalized photo goods.
Artifact Uprising creates joy by helping you honor the meaningful in your life through printed photo gifts, books, and more. With a focus on high quality and elevated design, they hope to make permanence of what matters most. They believe materials matter and design defines. That’s why you’ll find recycled papers and reclaimed options throughout their product line.
Pictures on Gold
Pictures on Gold creates lasting photo lockets and photo jewelry keepsakes using only the finest 14k gold, white gold and Sterling Silver. You send them your photos and using their patented technology they laser engrave your pictures in color right onto gold lockets, silver lockets, locket charms and most of our custom jewelry.
Ellisi Gifts uses laser engraving and imaging technologies to place your photo pictures, words and memories inside any crystal or glass shape. Stone Slate photos are one of their unique offerings. Not only has the image been forever preserved as a photograph, but when displayed on rock, it’s an everlasting treasure, as the photos on slate don’t chip or fade.
Bookemon provides an online book creation platform for anyone who has a book to write or story to tell. It is a unique tool that can turn your pages from photo, picture, or a document into a book, the way you want. Unlike photo book services, Bookemon offers the ability to create a book from a pdf, Word doc and more. Great for family histories and genealogy records.
One Platform To Organize, Preserve, Celebrate & Share
The one and only cloud-based platform I recommend as a Digital Photo Hub is FOREVER. They also have multiple services to help you celebrate and share your memories. Learn more about what makes FOREVER different from every other cloud-based platform out there.
Don’t rent your storage. Own it. Buy once and own it for generations. No hidden fees and no recurring costs. Even if you purchase a payment plan, you own it in just two years. Secure, private, no compression.
Bring your past to life.
Digitize your home movies, photos, and film and more — create joy for generations. FOREVER takes every possible step to ensure the highest quality digitization with the latest technological innovations available.
Although you can upload, organize and share videos without the Streaming Video Plan, this optional upgrade allows them to play inside your account in FULL HD Quality on any device, any time. Optimize your videos and free up storage if you choose.
Design & Print
Beautiful designs made easy. Create stunning, custom, professionally-designed keepsakes in minutes with no software needed. Choose from a great selection of professionally designed templates from bright and bold to vintage and rustic.
Create beautiful, custom photo books and much more with Artisan software. Use the world’s best digital scrapbooking and design software to bring your memories to life as photo books, wall décor, cards, calendars, ornaments, mugs, and more. Windows only.
Discover the stories that became you. FOREVER’s trained professionals will uncover your ancestors, document their lives, and share their stories with you so that you can celebrate them today with friends & family and preserve them for generations.