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The ABC'S of Photo Organizing

Monday, March 07, 2016 11:47 AM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)

Whether organizing printed or digital photos, the first steps we take begins with the basics.

Developed by Cathi Nelson, founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO), the ABC’S allows you to work with and teach clients a path to start organizing their photos and memorabilia.

A lifelong photo collection might need to be sorted and resorted several times to be ready for the next step.

Once people start talking about their pictures and the stories behind them, the organizing becomes almost a bi-product of the process.


One picture at a time, we apply the ABC’S to each picture.

1.      A - Album

Does this picture belong in a photo album? - It’s the BEST!  

It will always be cherished.

     2.  B - Box or Back-up

Good pictures, let’s organize them, protect them in archival storage boxes.

Let’s scan them and back them up properly.

     3.  C - Can - Trash can that is

It’s blurry, it’s a dud, its the upteenth picture of Aunt Mary. Trash it!

      4. S - Story

It has a story behind it that needs to be told.

Write a note on a sticky, attach it to the back of the photo to note the story.

Why do people take pictures?

“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”                                                                                                  Ursula Le Guin

A photo collection might contain a picture like the one I decided to put into my forever photo collection.  It’s an “ A” photo  with a “S” story behind it.

It’s the picture of my baptism dress, made by my Aunt Dorothy just after I was born from parachute silk my Dad brought home from WWII. I was baptized in it, as were both of my daughters. Kept in a bag in a closet, I washed and ironed it for my first granddaughter's dedication. A set of twins - two more baptisms and triplets were born into our family this year and now the little girls will wear it for their baptisms on Easter, 2016.

Organizing photos by applying the ABC’S will help you and your clients start your photo organizing project. No one imagines their precious pictures ending up in a mess in boxes or on a hard drive unable to be found.

Pictures are the first thing we want saved in a flood or a fire and last thing we give time  to curate.

Take your first step.

Article submitted by NAPO Michigan Corporate Associate Member Marianne Behler, Certified Photo Organizer, Lifetime Photo Solutions;


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