The Importance of a “Digital Photo Hub” (and How to Create one)
The foundation of good organizing is to keep like with like instead of having everything scattered about, so why should your photos be any different? They need to be collected in one central (and safe) location so that you know where to look for them. A Master Photo Library or digital photo “hub”, is the one place where all your photos can live safely together, and it’s the secret weapon in your organizational arsenal. Every photo you take should be saved there, and every photo you share (or use for a project) should come out of there and every photo you receive from friends and family should be copied there.
Most importantly too, a centralised hub can be easily backed up to protect your precious memories (more on that later!). Your master photo library is most easily stored on a computer with a big enough hard drive capacity to store all of your photos, in full-size resolution – we recommend at least 1TB of storage for an average-sized photo library. We will show you how to find out the storage capacity of your computer a little later. Let’s first discuss the core principle of a master photo library.
Key Principle of a Master Photo Library
We are all guilty of this – photos scattered across multiple computers, external hard drives, CDs and on various social media platforms. When you have photos all over the place it makes it incredibly difficult to manage and easily access the photos you want, let alone ensuring they are safely backed up. Having your photos in one place is The Number 1 step to start to bring some order to your digital photo library. Once everything is in one location, you can start to organise the photos within – remove duplicates, add any missing dates, add metatdata, create albums, print books and most importantly backup everything.
On a regular basis, you should ensure that time is allocated to import any photos from your (and your family member’s) camera, phone and other devices. When you take the time to schedule regular maintenance for your photos (or anything in life, really), it saves you a whole lot of time later on, trust us! You can either do this manually or have your devices synced with the cloud and so photos can be automatically added to your master photo library. Syncing with the cloud has its pros and cons (another huge topic!), in particular, a drawback to photo management is that every photo you take gets added to your library, whether you want it or not!
We also recommend getting into a routine of downloading any photos you want from social media, WhatsApp, school portals etc. directly into your master photo library.
Setting up a Digital Photo Hub
One of the first pitfalls people encounter in setting up their digital photo hub, is a lack of storage space on their computer. Many newer computers come with solid-state drives (“SSDs”) which, whilst provide enhanced performance, the storage capacity is generally quite small as they are very expensive compared to traditional hard drives. For an average family’s photo library, we would recommend a computer with a minimum capacity of 1TB, ideally, 2TB.
On your Mac, you can check the storage capacity by selecting the Apple logo at the top left hand of the screen, selecting “About this Mac” and then clicking on the “Storage” tab:
You will be able to identify the amount of total storage and available disk space. If you are reaching full capacity (with only 20-30GB of space remaining), you need to consider options as a full computer can become sluggish and worse still, start deleting important siles in order to operate.
If you have a Mac with a 128GB, 256GB or 500GB SSD and your library is sitting happily on your computer, the chances are that your photo library is synchronised with iCloud and that the photos are not stored on your computer in full resolution, and that depending on space, all or a majority are “optimised” to fit on your computer e.g. they are thumbnail images. The risk with this is that if you ever lost access to your iCloud (trust us, this does happen), then you will lose access to all your full-resolution images and so will not be able to print photos, photo books etc. We always recommend having a master library with full resolution images, not optimized.
On a Windows computer, you need to go to My Computer or My PC:
What If There Is Not Enough Space – What Now?
If you don’t have enough space on your computer to save all fo your family’s photos in full-sized resolutions, you may wish to consider a couple of options:
- Upgrade the hard drive of your existing computer (we can do this for you) to increase storage capacity
- Buy a refurbished computer with a large enough hard drive (again we can help you with this as have many available)
- Buy a new computer – check out our tips on what to look for when buying a new computer.
Once you have set up and established your master photo library, you will be in an excellent position to start to bring order to your digital photo library and set up a robust backup. With everything in one place, you can start to implement our tips for better organisation and management. If you need more guidance on setting up your digital hub and anything else related to photo management and organisation, Tekkie Help runs a hands-on and interactive training workshop (for Mac and for Windows) to cover to teach people how to set up a photo hub, how to check your iCloud settings, how to add metadata to photos for more efficient searching, how to create albums and smart albums, how to share photos and most importantly how to set up a robust and fool-proof backup for your precious memories.
For more information and to book the MAC WORKSHOP, click here.
For more information and to book the WINDOWS WORKSHOP, click here