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Are photographs eating up all your storage space? Here is how to organise them better

From Google Picasa to Cloud, these photo managers will help clear space on your device.

Updated: Nov 23, 2016, 12.41 PM IST
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Are photographs eating up all your storage space? Here is how to organise them better
By now, you’ve probably amassed a truckload worth of digital photographs. It will eat up the storage space on your devices and you’ll never find the photo you’re looking for.

Here is how to keep those photos in check:


On a Mac

Apple’s own Photos app has seen a lot of useful updates in the past couple of years and is now our favorite photo manager for Mac. It automatically sorts all your photos into different albums and even has built-in face recognition (it sorts photos by identifying people — and works remarkably well).

By default, all your photos are placed in a single album along with a separate album for last imported photos, videos and panoramas. You can easily create a custom album and move photos to it in batches, view photos sorted on basis of date/time or location. There is also an option to add tags/keywords to search for photos easily.

On Windows

Google Picasa was our choice of app for photo organization and management on Windows platform but Google has since discontinued it. You can now opt for the built-in Microsoft Photos app that lets you organise photos via date, album, or folder — it automatically groups related pictures too. If you want a more powerful organizer, try Magix Photo Manager (www.magix.com) — it is one of the few apps available for Windows that supports face recognition (the free version limits it to 10 people). Your photos can be organised with folders, data, albums or you can sort them on the basis of tags/keywords added in the Exif information of the photos.

On Your Smartphone

For iOS users, the Photos app works great as it has organizing features like the desktop app. Your photos are automatically sorted under various albums (selfies, screenshots, slomo, panoramas, etc.). There is also a memories section which compiles photos from previous dates or locations into short videos.

Android users have the Google Photos apps pre-loaded that scans through media on your devices and sorts them into albums like places, people, collages, videos and so on. However, it also takes things one step forward by grouping photos based on things such as flowers, sky, cars, beaches and food which makes finding photos simpler.

Resize Photos On Your PC to Optimise Space

If you’re running out of local storage for photos, it is possible to resize photos without losing too much quality. One of our favourite ways to do this is by using a free program called IrfanView (www.irfanview. com). IrfanView is a great image viewer and basic editor on its own but it also has powerful batch resizing tools built in. This means that you can open up a large folder of photos, select them all, select an output size (as a percentage of the original, as specific pixel dimensions, in cm/inches or as megapixels) and resize all of them in one go. If you only want to save them for viewing on digital devices, you can choose a smaller size. If you want to retain the ability to print, you can keep the dimensions intact — IrfanView’s image compression algorithms will still be able to reduce the overall folder size between 20 to 40%. Just open IrfanView and type ‘B’ on the keyboard to open the Batch Conversion window. Make sure that you set a different output directory so that you don’t replace the original photos. Once you’re satisfied, you can go ahead and delete the original folder to reclaim space.

Store in The Cloud

You probably know that Google Photos offers unlimited storage for photos from your smartphone, but they are uploaded in reduced quality (unless you have a Google Pixel, that is). On the other hand, Flickr offers 1,000GB of space for free to store photos and they also have apps for Android and iOS. Sign in with your Yahoo account and you can keep your camera roll in the cloud. Obviously, you can also edit and share easily.

Easily Digitise Old Prints Using a Smartphone

Printed photos decay fast — if you have memories you want to preserve, you’ll need to scan them. If you want the best possible quality, you will need a dedicated scanner. But smartphone cameras are getting so good that you can get good scans with the right app. If your phone has a good camera, one of our favourite apps is Office Lens by Microsoft. It can scan and save photos (in high quality) apart from other documents, business cards and whiteboards. Google’s new app (PhotoScan) is also really quick and easy but it does reduce the quality of the scan as compared to Office Lens. It’s built more for speed, ease-of-use and integration with Google Photos. If you want to scan negatives, there’s a free iOS app called Film Photo Scanner (by Nusoft). Keep in mind that you’ll need to place a light behind the negative for best results. On Android, you can also try Camera Scanner by Accountstudio.

Deleting Duplicates on Your Phone

On phones with non-expandable storage, you might need to manage the size of your local photo library. One of the ways to do this is by deleting duplicates and you’ll need an app if your photos number in the thousands. On iOS, get Photo Cleaner by Jimpyo Hong — it scans through and quickly finds duplicates. You can multi-select and remove them all in one go. As a bonus, Photo Cleaner will also compress your photos (slightly) without affecting the quality. The app is free and ad supported (banner ads) but not limited in functionality. On Android, get Gallery Doctor by AVG Labs. It will identify duplicates as well as ‘bad’ photos. Or you could try Duplicate Photos Remover by Tweaking Technologies.

Transfer Between Portable Devices (On The Move)
One the easiest, most crosscompatible and most inexpensive ways to transfer photos between devices is by using Sandisk’s Connect Wireless Stick. It’s available in capacities of 16GB (Rs 1,599) to 200GB (Rs 6,999) and is barely larger than a USB drive. It has its own battery, creates a WiFi hotspot and you can use the app to transfer/share full resolution photos. You can also use it to transfer from phone to phone, phone to tablet or phone to laptop. If you’re OK with something a bit larger, Kingston has the MobileLite Wireless Pro (Rs 8,999) with 64GB internal storage. You can transfer to it wirelessly, transfer using an SD card or USB drive or use it as a power bank. The low-cost method to transfer between portable devices is by using OTG USB drives: these have a micro USB port on one side and a full size USB on the other. A USB 3.0 compatible 16GB OTG drive is as low as Rs 479. Sandisk has something equivalent for iOS devices (with an Apple certified Lightning connector) called the iXpand, which is available in capacities from 16GB (Rs 3,099) to 128GB (Rs 7,325). You can only use it for transfers between iOS devices (including iPads) by using the companion app.
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