As you continue to document your everyday life with your children, you will no doubt soon amass hundreds of photos! Dealing with this amount of digital files can be a little bit overwhelming if you don't have a suitable filing system in place - you can end up with files everywhere and have no idea where anything is!
Here's some tips for organizing your family photos:
1) Upload your memory card daily / weekly
I try to remember to upload the images from my memory card to the computer each night. Of course, sometimes I forget (or I just didn't take any that day) but I do make sure that I upload them at least weekly. Uploading doesn't take too long and it's better to get them off the card and onto your drive - firstly, so that you always have a good amount of room on your memory card (RAW images take up a lot of space if you do shoot RAW) and secondly so that you remain on top of your filing and editing! It's much easier to do this daily or weekly with a small amount of images than it is to do monthly, when the job has grown to mammoth proportions :) Set aside a morning each week as your upload day, or get into the habit of setting the images to upload last thing at night.
2) Do the same with your Camera Phone
If you also take images with your iPhone, I do recommend also getting into the same routine of uploading your images from there too - it makes sense to have these stored the same way as your main camera images, so that you have everything in the same system.
3) Have a file system for your Images.
Create a simple system for storing your images on your hard drive. I have mine as follows: A folder for each year, and then inside that folder I have a folder for each month of the year. Inside THOSE folders I have a folder for each day or activity. I have the file name of the activity folder as the date, followed by the name of the activity or event. In addition, most uploaders also give you the opportunity to rename the individual files with the date and a custom name too as you upload - so instead of having a file name of "CR-145689" your images will be "19/09/2015 - Water Park", which makes it much easier to find a particular image.
3) Cull and Delete
After you have uploaded your images, got them into the folders, and renamed them, it's time to cull. This is where you need to be a bit brutal as most people will overshoot when shooting digitally (if I had to pay for each image like with film, I suspect I wouldn't be quite as free with the shutter!) Get rid of any images that are very similar by just picking the best of the bunch. If you were documenting an event, make sure you have images that tell the whole story, from start to finish.
Take your culled images and edit them. LIghtroom is king for editing your images quickly (and for organising your images) so I suggest you do most of your editing in there.
5) Back Up!
Please don't just have ONE copy of your images sitting on your hard drive - hard drives will and do fail and when it does, every single image you have taken will go with it. Back up!! You can read about my back up system here.
6) Print and Enjoy!
The huge downside of digital images is that many times they don't get seen or shared, they just sit gathering virtual dust on your hard drive. Let's enjoy our photos instead! You can either make prints to hang on your wall, or make them into a photo book, or just simply order a months worth of prints that you can view at any time (you could use one of these photo keepers to hold them in). If you have followed the steps above, all you need to do is go into your finished JPEG folder for each activity and choose your prints.
Above all, remember that taking the photos is only the first step in your process - getting them organized so you can easily find them again, protecting them from harm, and then actually doing something with the images you create ensures that you can enjoy your photographs both now, and in the years to come!