My Super Simple Phone Photo Management System

Several readers have recently asked about my photo organization and workflow on my phone, since it is my primary camera and digital scrapbooking tool. I created a layout for every single day in 2015 and I’m continuing in 2016. I can’t imagine trying to fit a whole week or month of my life on one page anymore (but when I started, I was lucky to have ONE photo per day). I have a lot of photos on my phone! If you don’t have very much memory on your phone, I have suggestions for you as well, continue reading.


Q: Do you edit and delete your photos everyday?

A: No, I don’t. I subscribe to the philosophy I learned a long time ago for managing clutter; only handle things once, they say it saves time. When I am ready to work on a layout for a day, I tap on my photos app icon, then the photos tab at the bottom; the photos are then organized by date taken. I go to the day I want to scrap and edit the photos I want to use and delete the photos I don’t want/need. I use the native editing app (top right corner). It really does a good job (I especially love the ‘shadows’ feature in the Light menu). I can reset the edits at anytime (even after leaving the photo and coming back) and they are saved at a high resolution (most photo editing apps save at a very low resolution).

Q: When you are working on older photos, it’s a pain to scroll through the whole year’s worth of photos. Any suggestions to make this easier?

A: As I choose a photo to go on a layout, I tap the heart at the bottom of the photo, which automatically sends it to the “Favorites” album. Then, when I’m making a layout, I just go to the Favorites album instead of the ‘All Photos’ tab. This makes the photos much quicker to find and add to a layout.

Q: How do you back up your photos?

A: I have my photos on my phone quadruple backed up. My favorite methods, and the ones I use the most are 1) Dropbox Camera Uploads (automatically syncs anytime I open the DropBox app and I’m connected to wifi, which I try to do at least once a day) 2) the Photos app on my Mac is set to sync with the Photos app on my phone so anytime anything is added to one, it automatically saves to the other. I also use Flickr (automatic backup similar to DropBox, you have to open the app to activate it), and Amazon Photo (free unlimited photo back up for Prime members; limited video though). The biggest reason I like ALL of these is that they do not reduce my photo size and it’s automated, as long as I go into the app and I’m connected to wifi.


Q: I have hardly any memory on my phone. Do you run out of room? What can I do?

A: I have a 64gb phone. I actually wanted the 128gb, but they were on backorder at the time, and I couldn’t wait for them to come in. I always try to get the most memory I can afford. I just recently started running out of memory and had to delete all of my podcasts and movies. My husband has a 16gb phone and has memory problems all of the time. A couple of tricks we have learned are

  • when you delete photos on the iPhone, they don’t delete, the go to the ‘Deleted album’, so you need to delete them from the deleted album as well, in order to free up memory.
  • I ordered this for my husband for Christmas and it works really, really well. It creates it’s own “ad-hoc wifi” connection, so you do not need to be on wifi. You can transfer photos from your phone and back again WIRELESSLY!! It is SUPER easy to set up! Just download the app and read the instructions in the app. Photos transferred from the phone to the drive in mere seconds. The photos are named by the date taken on the USB. You can also, as easily, transfer photos from the USB to the phone. He is thrilled with his 128gb of space and I think I might buy myself one now too. I’m the more tech savvy of the two of us and he had it set up and working great in under 5 minutes!

Q: Have you tried saving space by saving the original photo in the cloud and low resolution on your devices? How does this work for scrapbooking on your phone?

A: I’ve tested this a bit and it works great IF you will always be on wifi when you want a high resolution image. The high resolution image will be downloaded anytime you want to access it, IF you are on wifi. If you aren’t on wifi, it will be the low resolution image. I opted not to use this feature because I really like to work on layouts while I’m flying…no wifi.


Q: What apps do you use to document and create layouts?

A: Project Life is for sure my power house for documenting the photos on my phone! I also use PicStitch (collages), DropBox (transfer supplies into the Project Life app), Phonto (to create my own journaling cards), Over (to create my own journaling cards), Rhonna Designs (to make journaling cards), Scannable (to scan in items to use on my layouts), iMovie (to edit videos), Video 2 Photo (to take photos out of a video), and QR Code Creator (to make a QR code from a video in DropBox, to add to my layouts).

What else? Are there other questions you have that I didn’t cover? Post in the comments and I will do my best to answer!

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