How to Organize Your Family Photos and Videos Using Online Albums

Old family photo with men in suits and ties, women in nice dresses
Family photo from colleague Margarita Buitrago

Organizing your family photos isn’t physically hard, but the memories can suck you in because it’s easy to get wrapped up in a stroll down memory lane.

Let’s face it. We’re not folding laundry here.

Your family history is unique and it’s worth taking the time to do it right. Tackle the task a little each week. You can get a lot done in just 15 minutes a day or about an hour a week.

In this post, you’ll get tips on how to:

  • pull your pictures together with other old media files like videos
  • store them
  • share them today and during the next several decades

You’re not just doing this for yourself, but for your grandchildren and future generations who won’t know your family. You can help others appreciate what life was like, lessons you learned and the love you expressed for others.


Create a starting location

Let’s get started.

Pictures of photos, albums, and boxes that need organizing

Find your physical photos and bring all of those envelopes, loose pics, and photo albums to one spot. If you have a large number of pics, then you can create manila envelopes marked with different decades like 1940s, 1950s or sub-divide based on photos like Mom, Dad, Kids.

Choose what to keep

Choose the physical photos that will spark conversations, provide enjoyable memories, and reveal what life was like in specific decades.

How did you or your parents look in those ‘70s fashions? Did Grandpa or Great-Grandpa enjoy working on classic cars with amazing designs?



The thought of tossing old photos may seem appalling so don’t make yourself do it yet. Choose the ones you definitely want and set others aside in an large envelope or box marked with something like Keep?

Woman's hands pressing photos on paperTurn your attention to digital photos on your phone. Choose ones that represent something specific quite well like important milestones. Scholastic awards, sports playoffs, weddings, births, adoptions and funerals are certainly keepers.

Choose photos that illustrate favorite hobbies like baking, hiking or important vacations.

Fitting photos to categories will clarify what pictures are really important.

If you have questions on the process, then please contact me and I’ll give you more tips on organizing with a process to fit your lifestyle.


Digitize and upload

You might do some scanning on your own, but there’s a way that’s easy.

Convert your old media like VHS tapes, slide shows, old home movies and more to digital through the most convenient service that I’ve found in my nearly 27 years of being a photo coach—FOREVER.

You pack up a box, send it off, and conversion is done within the U.S. Then your memories are sent back to you speedily and safely.


Create your albums

FOREVER provides an online platform where you can store your most treasured photos and media, guaranteed for a lifetime, plus 100 years.

It’s easy to create digital albums that match the categories you made when you gathered your photos and videos.

All you do is title the album, set visibility parameters so you can let the public see it or restrict your audience.

A benefit to digital albums is that you don’t need to have a perfect plan since you can re-order and re-name if necessary. This is a shot of an upload in progress. The Name field comes with a default but you can customize like Grandmother’s Life. Fill in the Description field with a few sentences or several paragraphs.

Woman in wedding gown, 1957 and digital storage platform
The FOREVER album makes arranging pictures easy. Upload by Don Simkovich

Combine photos with genealogy

If you’re researching your family tree then I’ve mentioned free resources to help you develop your family’s story. If you get stuck, FOREVER has professional researchers to assist you.


Get the most from your photos

From your album, you can arrange images in photo books to print and download to give as gifts and thank-you mementos like T-shirts and coasters. This is a great way to put your family photos out of hiding and into circulation.


I’m here to help

Office Hours with Melody Event
Melody Whitehead, Safeguard Your Memories

Organizing your family photos and storing them safely is like having insurance for something that’s unique to you and your family history.

Contact me if you need a helping hand to get started.

Join me and my friends throughout the month for our virtual events on writing your story, organizing your photos, and using your family’s memories in many other creative ways.


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