5 Simple Ways to Organize Your Digital Family Photos

Tips & Tools to Get Digitized Family Pictures Organized

How to Organize Digital Family Photos

Photo Credit: Ken_Mayer via Compfight cc

Now that you know how to scan family photos, create photo backups and make easy edits to your family pictures using online photo editors, it’s time to figure out the best digital family photo organizing method for you. There are many tips out there to help you organize family photos that are saved to your computer, but in the end, it comes down to efficiency and simplicity so you are more apt to stick with this very crucial part of your family history research.

These simple tips and free tools will help you get your digital family memories organized right now and keep them that way well into the future.

How to Organize Your Digital Family Photos

1.) Group Digitized Photos & Label

If you have a large collection of digitized family photos on your computer that aren’t named and organized properly, you can easily arrange and label your photos by name, decade, date, event (weddings, births, graduations, vacations) and place.

Joe Adams Screenshot
For example, say you have a handful of digital family photos saved to your computer of Grandpa Joe Adams. You find one of Grandpa Joe graduating from college in 1933 and want to rename the photo for easy grouping by name, date and event. Use your mouse to right-click on the photo you’ve located, scroll down to “Rename” in the popup menu, then type the new name of the photo. We chose to rename the photo Adams_Joe-1933-graduation in order to locate the photo easily by last name. Keep up the process for each photo (Adams_Joe-1934-wedding, etc.) Once you rename your family photos using this method, it will make things even easier to organize them into proper groups and file folders.

Tip: Get in the habit of naming your digitized photos every time you save them to your computer so you don’t have to do it later. 

2. ) Figure Out a Photo Foldering System 

As you’ve been creating digital files of your family photos, you’ve likely already started saving them to a specific folder located on your computer’s hard drive. But, if you’ve simply been saving your digital photos to just one folder, you’re now probably left with a jumbled mess of disorganized photos. You can easily remedy this digital photo faux pas by creating and maintaining sub-folders within your main photo folder. Once you organize the pictures you already digitized, saved, grouped and labeled, the following process will make it even easier to organize newly digitized photos in the future.

For example, if you’ve been saving your family pictures to your computer’s “Pictures” folder, you can organize those saved photos into sub-folders marked by year, month, a specific date, events and even family members’ names.

Here’s how:

New Folder Screenshot

On your PC, open your “Pictures” folder or the file folder where you typically save your family photos. Using your mouse, right-click anywhere inside the folder where you see white, blank space. From there, scroll down through the pop-up menu options until you see “New.” Hover your cursor over “New” and then select “Folder” at the top of the next pop-up menu.

Family Photos Folder Screenshot

From there, a new folder will appear within your main photo folder. You will have the option to rename the folder — and you should! Here, we renamed our main folder, “Family Photos” to keep things simple.

Photos Organized by Date Screenshot

Next, you’ll want to double click on this new folder in order to create sub-folders. Be sure to rename each new sub-folder however you see fit to organize your digital family pictures. Here, we created sub-folders by decade such as “1940s.” To create various sub-folders within each of the decades, simply repeat the “New Folder” creation process within your main “Family Photos” folder. Within each decade folder, you can also create sub-folders under family members’ names, then events, by specific dates and so on.

Tip: When saving your family photos to each folder, be sure to also name photos according to family member name, a date, etc. so you know which sub-folders to save them to. It makes the organization process much easier this way! 

3.) Sort Photos with Free Image Management Software

Another great option that can make navigating and organizing your family photos even easier are free, simple-to-use photo and image management tools. These free software options allow you to search photos by tags, facial recognition and more.

Here are three good options:

Picasa by Google


This freeware app by Google gives you a plethora of photo organizing options. Sort through photos on your computer by file folders and even create online albums for sorting. Tag photos and sort through them by person, location and more. With a few simple clicks, organizing your photos is easy — as well as sharing them with your family members through email and in print.



This free photo management tool makes photo uploading easy and organization a breeze. Sort and organize family photos by “Events” to make the process simple. You can tag each photo, move them into other “Events” folders and sort through newly created photo albums. The “Smart Album” feature allows for ease of searching by date, tag and other search criteria.

FastStone Image Viewer

Faststone Image Viewer

This user-friendly image organizer is perfect for those who need to not only manage and organize family photos, but make simple edits and share photos with family members via email for ease of family tree collaboration. There’s even a great musical slideshow option so you can show off your photos to the entire family at your next gathering.

4.  Utilize Crestleaf’s Free Timeline Feature

Crestleaf Family Tree TimelineEasily organize your digital family photos under events using Crestleaf’s family tree builder and timeline feature. The timeline provides another great, free way to capture your family’s story in photo form and chronological order. After you’ve signed in and uploaded your family photos from your computer and Facebook, you can select which photos you’d like to add to specific dates on your timeline, type in descriptions and share your photos online with family members.

5. Call On Fellow Family History Enthusiasts for Help

The Organized Genealogist Facebook Group

Even though there are plenty of tips and tools out there that will help you organize your digital family photos, some of the best insight can come from your peers, as they have “been there, done that!” Many online resources are available to help connect you with family history buffs such as forums, genealogy blogs and social networking sites. And we’ve found that one of the best ways to get help is to connect with over 20,000 family history and genealogy enthusiasts all in one place: The Organized Genealogist Facebook Group.

Simply request access to the group where you and your peers can freely share personal tidbits on organizing genealogy research and family photos, plus see and share links to helpful products and services.


Do you have any tips on organizing family photos? Let us know in the comments! And once you’ve picked the best family photo organizing method for you, add your newly organized photos to your Crestleaf Family Tree!