The Family Photo Keeper photo organizing Tool kit

An Assembly of Tools to Help You with Your Photo Organizing so You Can Enjoy Your Memories Now and Leave a Meaningful Collection for Future Generations

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).

Get Started

Create Your Photo Management Plan

Take out the guesswork by doing the research and making the necessary decisions before you start.

Photo Freedom

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.

Nitrile Gloves

Protects photos and memorabilia from finger oils.

Cotton Gloves

Protects photos and memorabilia from finger oils.

Stabilo Pencils

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.

Pan Scrapers

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.


computer screen showing digital photo organizing software

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.

Mylio Photos

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

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.

Deduplicating Software

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

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. 

Photo Sweeper

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.

Cisdem Course

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.

Archival Methods

Preserving the objects that represent your family history can ensure your legacy for future generations. Handcrafted in their Rochester NY facility.

Native Archival

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.

Gaylord Archival

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.

Fancy’s Pick

Epson FastFoto

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.

Kodak V600

A flatbed scanner that will scan photos and documents up to 8.5 x 11.7 inches. It also can scan slides, negatives, and medium format panoramic film. It includes software for color optimization as well as removing the appearance of dust, tears, scratches and creases from photos.


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.

Backup Systems

You can backup your entire computer (and hard drives) or just your photo collection.

Fancy’s Pick


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.

Amazon Photos

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

Coming Soon!

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.

Streaming Video

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.

Digital Scrapbooking

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.

Family Research

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.

Biz Tools

Coming Soon!