Photo Management 2020

I still take photos with my iphone and camera, and those automatically upload into a Onedrive folder using the Onedrive iPhone app. Once a month, I cull it. I delete photos that aren’t great, and I either delete or move screenshots. You’d be surprised how many things end up in your camera roll just from using your phone normally. That usually leaves me with a small batch of photos for each month. Those photos go into a folder named after the month, and that folder goes into another folder for the year. This lives in Onedrive, and on an external hard drive.

Sometimes I think I’m behind on backups, but I almost never am. I’ve been doing this routine for over ten years and it works. I set a reminder for the first of the month, and I take the hour.

I don’t exactly remember where I picked up the habit and I don’t know exactly when I began, but I have month folders going back to 2008. It’s not unlike this video — How to Remember Your Life - YouTube. That’s actually a much more professional and poetic look at the process.

But once I’ve taken and then culled and organized the photos, what the hell do I do with them? Up until recently, I didn’t have a great answer for this. Onedrive and/or the Windows Photos app is only okay at holding optional metadata, like faces and captions. And Onedrive has an on this day” feature, but I found it super random and not well programmed. It would lift photos from anywhere in my onedrive, which includes all sorts of image styles from work projects. Not terribly useful.

Essentially, photo sharing happens through apps, which means it happens through my iPhone. Instagram still doesn’t super work on Windows (hacks abound, though), so the phone still has to be the place where a photo you own becomes a photo someone else can see.

iCloud and the built-in Photos app should probably be where my photos are. But I don’t want to just keep my photos on my iPhone. Enter iCloud Drive for Windows. It now has the same year/month folder setup Onedrive has. It acts as a third backup point, but more importantly, it fills the Photo app and populates it with actionable stuff. It’ll show me featured photos, auto-create events, and let me search by person.

So now, once a month, I delete the unorganized photos from iCloud Drive, then add back in the month folder. This does two things: keep organizational parity everywhere, and eliminate live” photos, which are okay for when you take them but somewhat useless years later.

If you have an iPhone and haven’t used a widget yet, try out the Photos widget. Once an hour or so, it’ll show you a new photo. It doesn’t feel like a big deal but it is. It was one of the nicest things about a Windows Phone and now it’s one of the nicest parts of an iPhone.

November 14, 2020