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057: Organising your digital photos

Dog and Selfie - organising photos

If you’re looking for the motivation, apps, and process to get your digital photos sorted once and for all, this ep where we interview Carly Michael is for you.

About Carly Michael

Carly Michael has spent her whole life surrounded by photos having grown up in her family’s camera store – Michaels Camera Video and Digital in Melbourne’s CBD. When covid hit, the family decided to close the store so she took the opportunity to become a professional photo organiser – something she had developed a passion for during her time managing the family’s photo lab. She now spends her days organising both physical and digital photos, helping people get back in control of their photo mess!

Digital photos made the top five life admin pain points in our 2021 community survey and while Dinah has had her photos sorted for some time until we recorded this ep Mia felt like there would never be enough time or motivation in the world for her to get her photos into a format that other people can actually access and enjoy.

After the interview Mia downloaded the apps suggested, they did their magic, and her photos are finally organised.

Carly starts the interview by talking about her background and how she became interested in the digital dark age. The digital dark age is a concern that, as technology advances, we will lose access to photos and other data as our current media (including hard drives and USBs) are not designed to last.

Mia and Carly discuss how setting yourself a deadline and having a photo project as a goal will give you the motivation

Carly discussed the key characteristics of an organised photosystem being:

  • organised – chronologically is the easiest
  • centralised 
  • accessible – ideally on your phone
  • backed up  (consider the 3-2-1 system –  3 copies of your photos,  stored in 2 locations with 1 of those being off site)

Carly discusses the risks around cloud storage (eg Google’s recent change to its terms and conditions that states If you’re inactive for two years Google may delete the content. She also discusses the importance of distinguishing between a back-up and a sync.

The key steps to get your photos organised are:

  • Gather – Make a list of all your photos (including on devices and in the cloud)and gather them into one physical location
  • Centralise – Put all your digital photos into a central hub – ideally using a hard drive. If you have issues extracting photos consider using Dropbox. It is also useful as a backup
  • Back Up – Carly recommends using BackBlaze
  • Deduplicate – Get rid of duplicates – Carly recommends using Photosweeper for a Mac and Duplicate Cleaner Pro for a PC
  • Organise your photos (folderise them) – Carly recommends using Big Mean Folder Machine for Macs and Photomove for PC. If you run into issues with dates you can use Adobe Bridge to assist with finding the original dates
  • Maintain – consider using dropbox to make a backup of your photos from your phone (not a sync) until you reorganise them. Then create a habit (perhaps by pairing with another regular task) to make sure you oragnise your folders on a regular basis. Also consider changing your behaviour to curate your collection as you go. Adopt the same mindset as you had when you took photos with film.

Carly also discusses scanning hardcopy photos – noting that if you are going to scan photos you want to scan once and to the quality you want. You can scan photos using your phone with apps such as photomyne, however, the quality will be limited. She notes that if you are going to scan you want to organise as you scan.

Carly also recommends changing your photo setting on your iPhone from HEIC to JPG and not using the Live feature.


PhotoGenie – Digital Reset Service

Back Blaze – Backup service 

Photosweeper – to deduplicate photos on a Mac

Duplicate Cleaner Pro – to deduplicate photos on a PC

Big Mean Photo Machine – to organise photos on a Mac

Photomove – to organise photos on a PC

Adobe Bridge

Dropbox Camera upload

Photomyne – app to scan photos from your phone


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