How to organise your mobile phone images

The Story Keeper

One of my passions as a photographer is memory keeping and creating tangible items that embody your precious moments in time for years to come. This is where The Story Keeper stemmed from, this continual series explores all areas of creating, preserving, organising and maintaining your own family story.

Having a camera that is so accessible to us that we can take images on the fly within a few seconds is a pretty incredible tool to have. Organising those images that continually pile up it a whole new challenge! It becomes overwhelming, storage runs out and as the year’s tick by that image count grows dramatically if it’s left untouched. So let’s dig in and get your phone images organised because I’m sure this has been on a must-do list for a while! 

Here are five tips to unravelling your mobile photos and getting your images organised. 

*These tips relate to an iPhone but can easily be adapted to other phone systems.

01 ~ Sort and favourite your images right away

Every time you pick up your phone and take a bunch of images, get into the habit of whittling down those images straight away. If you took 18 pics of that cute moment your bub was covered in spaghetti, don’t hold on to them all. Mindfully curate the best images that tell the story of the moment, favourite those images with the little heart icon. The images you ‘favourite’ will automatically be added to your Favourites folder. 

ALTERNATE OPTION > Take images within a photo app on your phone, such as VSCO Camera+ or Lightroom Mobile (what I use). You can then choose your favourite shots, edit them right in the app and save them to your main camera roll. This saves time, gives you a lot more control when you take the image and speeds up the editing process.

02 ~ Embrace the delete button

Now that you have a folder of your favourite images, go through your camera roll and select all the images without a heart and delete them. You can do this in bulk quickly by pressing the ‘Select’ button at the top right and swiping and selecting multiple images at once and then deleting them. 

Now go to ‘Albums’ and then the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder where you can permanently delete all the images you have culled and free up lots of phone space!

HELPFUL TIP > If you are using iCloud and all your images are being synced to all your devices, you can actually organise all your images on your desktop computer. I find this really helpful as you can view larger images and organise easily into your albums in bulk. All changes that you make on your desktop computer will sync with your phone. (Check out Tip 6 if you would like to set up iCloud).

03 ~ Create albums on your phone

Create albums on your phone so that you can easily go into your favourites folder (which now has all your curated fav images) and you can add them into albums. 

You may want to do albums of the month, specific people or events, helpful things you have screenshotted or a yearly album of shots that you would like to put into a book at the end of the year. I use Chatbooks and on my phone, I create a ‘best of the year’ album. At the end of the year, I use that one album to create a photo book within minutes within the Chatbooks app.

04 ~ Create shared albums with friends and family

Set up shared albums with family members so you can easily share images and those images then live in an easily accessible place, not within emails and text messages where they are easily lost and forgotten. 

From these shared albums, you can then save images easily into your own personal albums that you have created. Every month I go through the images on my husband’s phone as I often get him to take images with me in them which is something every mum should do! I share the best images from his phone into a shared album we have and then I have these images from him on my phone to organise and use in one yearly family album.

05 ~ Edit your images (if you want)

If editing your images is something you want to do, go for it! You can create a ‘to edit’ folder and edit in bulk and then save those images into the folders you have set up when you have edited them. As I mentioned in tip 1, if editing your images is something you regularly do, I would suggest always taking images in your app of choice so you can edit and save your final images straight to your camera roll. This will save you going back and forth and means you can easily edit in bulk. 

Save the camera app that you regularly use (such as VSCO, Camera+ or Lightroom) to the main screen on your phone so you can quickly access it when you want to take a picture. 

06 ~ Back up your images often

This is the most important step! It’s the one that many people don’t do but it’s super important. You want these images of your life backed up and stored safely and if you keep getting that dreaded ‘phone storage is almost full’ message, you need to get this sorted. 

Backing up to iCloud or Google Photos is what I recommend doing for your phone images. 

iCloud: I personally use this service and love it as everything is backed up and synced across all my devices. All photos and videos that are stored in iCloud are held in their original formats at full resolution (some services reduce file sizes to save space). There is 5GB of free storage available on iCloud but if you use this as your main backup, you will likely need to increase your storage which starts a $0.99 USD per month. 
Check out this tutorial to get iCloud set up on your devices.

Google Photos: is another great option for phone backup. You can download the app to your phone and backup all your images through their app for free (up to 15GB). Do the backup regularly each month once you have culled and deleted the images you won’t be keeping. Doing it this way means that Google Photos will be set up in a similar way to your camera roll. 

Google Photos comes with free, unlimited storage — but that’s only if you opt to save “high quality” images, as opposed to original quality images. That means those larger files will be compressed to save space unless your account’s settings say otherwise. The resolution limit for photos is 16MP, while videos are compressed to 1080p. For those who prefer to go with original file sizes, it’s free up to 15GB and then you can upgrade, via the Google One subscription plan, starting at $2.49 AUD per month or $24.99 per year for 100GB of storage. 

Read more about Google Photo or check out the storage plans they offer through Google One.

07 ~ Set up a regular plan

If you have a simple plan that you follow to regularly to go through and organise your images it will take away from the overwhelm that comes with the build-up. It will also equip you to easily create tangible memories like prints and photo books straight from your phone. 

Each week ~ go through and favourite your images and then delete the rest. 

Each month ~ go into your favourites and add these images into albums and back up through your chosen service. 

Tackle the backlog ~ start small. Set yourself a goal to tackle one previous year of images each month. Select the earliest year of images on your phone and start there. Go through and bulk select the duplicates, missed shots, and the curate the rest and delete!


Want to organise your memories with me each month?

I’m currently doing a monthly photo challenge to keep on top of photo organisation and filling out my children’s memory books. If you would like to join in, jump on this list to be a part of it ~

Share what you’ve been working on and don’t forget to tag
#iamthestorykeeper or #storykeepingmama so I can check it out!


[…] over here if you’re looking for tips on getting your phone images organised […]