These Four Steps Will Help You Organize Your Camera Roll


If you’re in any way at all like the average human, a smartphone has become the center of your personal universe. Because of that, you need to learn to organize the camera roll!

Ironically, actually talking on the phone is usually at the bottom of the list of things people do with their devices. Sure, people use them for other mundane activities like taking notes, keeping track of important dates, and sending text messages, but it’s impossible to overlook or overstate how image-oriented mobile devices are.

For many, their phone is their only camera. And even if it’s not their only camera, there’s a good chance it’s the camera they use most often. It makes total sense — your phone is always with you, and it’s easy to pull it out of your pocket and quickly snap whatever you want and not worry about focusing or fiddling with settings.

Such ease of access and use creates a bit of a problem, however — a tendency to overshoot. And what happens after you’ve shot your ice cream cone from eight different angles? You probably post the best one to social media and forget about the rest.

Which leaves you with thousands (tens of thousands?) of photos cluttering up your camera roll.

A messy camera roll makes a simple task like finding that one photo you want to print more frustrating than it should be.

So here are four steps to keep your camera roll better organized.

Mark Your Favorites

Social media has conditioned everyone to “like” and “heart” other people’s photos, so why not do the same for your own.

After you take a set of photos, get into the habit of tapping that heart icon on the shots that you like the best. But avoid “over-favoriting.” Every shot can’t be your favorite. Don’t favorite the “maybe” shots or the “it’ll grow on me” shots. 

Only choose the photos that really work, which is probably only going to be one or two from any given set.

white Android smartphone near green plant
Photo by Pratik Gupta

Delete Liberally

After you’ve labeled your favorite shots, it’s time to get rid of the ones that simply don’t work. What’s the point in keeping all your bad photos? The ones of your best friend with her eyes closed, the accidental shots of your knee, the shots so underexposed you can barely tell what was going on at the time.

Delete them. All.

black and white plastic bucket
Photo by Donald Giannatti

Make Albums

I bet your camera roll would already be in far better condition even if you only applied the previous two tips, but don’t stop there.

The steps above are really designed to help you clean things up a bit.

There are multiple ways you can accomplish this, but the simplest and most effective method is to create photo albums based on themes within your camera roll.

Food, vacation, family, events, screenshots. You get the idea. Take all your photos of a given theme and drop them into a corresponding album. Imagine all the scrolling you will cut down on by doing this.

person holding Android smartphone
Photo by Chris Coe

Back Them Up

Don’t let a lost/stolen phone or a catastrophic software failure destroy all your hard work — back up your photos!

Cloud-based apps make this incredibly easy. You don’t really have to do much; all the necessary functionality is typically automated, so all you have to do is turn the feature on and let it do its thing.

If you want to take things a step further, you can periodically back up your photos to a hard drive or flash drive.

black iphone 7 on macbook
Photo by Siyuan Hu

Final Thoughts

If a photo is worth taking, it’s also worth taking care of. Keep your photos well organized so that you can easily find ones you want to revisit (to share with others, post to social media, or make prints), and keep them backed up so you can safeguard your memories.

Further Reading:

About Author

Jason Little is a photographer, author and stock shooter. You can see Jason’s photography on his Website or his Instagram feed.

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