How to organize photos on your phone

We know how it goes. The photo collection on your phone is always growing, and it can easily become a source of frustration—especially when you’re trying to choose images for a photo book or a custom wall art print. Sorting, editing, and printing your favorite pictures doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you have a few tricks up your sleeve.

The more organized you are, the more time and energy you can spend creating your next project. Follow these tips to get your phone photos in order and keep them that way.  

Sort your photos

1. Choose a device for editing

No matter what kind of project you’re working on, it helps to have all your photos in one place—ideally on the device you will use for editing. If you take most of your photos on a camera phone and plan to create your projects on it too, you’re already ahead of the game. After organizing your images, you’ll be able to use Blurb’s mobile app to make a Photo Book on your phone or tablet or try our online tool to create Wall Art in minutes. If you prefer to design books or wall décor with our desktop software BookWright, make a plan to upload and sort photos from your camera phone once a week.

2. Organize image folders by date and project

As you begin sorting images, keep in mind how you plan to use them in future projects. Group your photos by year first, then by purpose, then by place, subject, or event. Give your folders clear, specific names. For example, you might divide 2020 photos into folders: Work, Friends & Family, and Travel, then create subfolders within each group, Friends & Family > Holiday, or Travel > Hawaii. Getting through this first phase of organizing photos on your phone can feel like a big deal—and it is—so use that momentum to tackle the next step.   

3. Delete the duplicates

Time for the slightly tedious but oh-so-essential task of deciding which photos to keep or cut. (We all tend to get click-happy with digital cameras and phones, and it is often necessary to take multiple shots to get the best one, but eventually we have to deal with those extra images.) When you take on the task of organizing photos on your phone, start by deleting the duplicates. Choose the best shot of each subject, and get rid of the 3 to 4 safety shots of the same subject in the same moment. You may have to do this in batches and take breaks, depending on how extensive your photo archive is.

4. Back up your photos

Once you’ve done all the work to get the photos on your phone organized, be sure to create backup copies up on a computer, external hard drive, cloud storage, or all of the above! Get in the habit of backing up your photos regularly, at least once a month if you are shooting often. Doing this in smaller batches ensures that you can keep track of your images and actually get the job done. You may also decide to upload your very best shots to an online photo-sharing website or portfolio, as a public or private album.

5. Stick to your system

The key to maintaining your photo organization is consistency. Hold yourself to the file naming conventions and folder structures you set up, and commit to a regular schedule of downloads and backups. It will get easier the more you do it. And as anyone who has lost digital files knows, it can be heartbreaking, so it’s worth making the extra effort now to ensure your photos are safely stored.

Stay organized

6. Know why you’re taking photos

Now that you’ve got a clearer view of your phone photo collection, you can bring that clarity and intention to your next photo session. Before you start snapping, think about what you want to do with these photos. Are they for a gift? For social media? For work? For posterity? To make a photo book or wall art? Of course, taking spontaneous photos can yield surprising, serendipitous images, but having a digital camera in hand can also make it easy to forget why we’re shooting in the first place. Don’t lose sight of your purpose.

7. Shoot in smaller batches

If the process of sorting hundreds or thousands of photos on your phone left an impression on you (whether it was a feeling of stress, relief, accomplishment, or joy), remember that experience and use it as motivation to take photos in smaller batches going forward. The fewer shots you have to manage at a time, the more likely you are to sort, file, and back them up properly and frequently.

8. Delete as you go

No amount of editing can fix camera blur, interruptions, and closed eyes. If there is a camera shake, someone walking into the shot, or unflattering expressions, delete these photos as soon as you see them. Ignoring them now just means you have to deal with them later!


Knowing exactly where to find the perfect photo feels good and feeds your creative process. Ready to start a new project? Bring your vision to life today with Blurb’s help!


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