​How to Declutter Your Camera Roll and Actually Do Something With Your Photos

Imagine a year that trades the dreaded full camera roll for treasured photos that are aren’t trapped in the overflowing digital archives of your phone. Deciding to do something with your photos — right now, before you take too many in 2018 — will not only you give you a keepsake of your memories, but will also lead to some compelling and surprising consequences.

3 Good Reasons to Be Mindful About Your Camera Roll in 2018

Being intentional about whether and how you do things almost always leads to a healthy dose of assurance that you’re doing the right thing, if not a good bit of actual happiness. Your iPhone photography is no exception.

You’ll take fewer pictures

This sounds counter-intuitive, but having a plan for what to do with your photos will leave with with fewer photos to deal with and, simultaneously, ones that are all more meaningful. It works like this: Having a project gives you parameters. For instance, when you know you’ll be preserving a memory every day for a year, you may back off on snapping multiple pictures of one event and stick to one really good one of it. This frees you to enjoy the moment rather than stressing over photographing it. In addition, as you begin looking through your camera roll to choose photos for your projects, you’ll see how many pictures you take that pale in comparison to the ones that move your heart. You’ll also begin to hate slogging through so many extra photos. Your photo-taking behavior will change and, again, you’ll take and have fewer photos. This is a very good thing.

You’ll become more thankful

As you spend a few minutes every day or week or so, you’ll have a built-in practice of reviewing life’s flying-by moments. This time for casual reflection will help you savor the life you’re living right now, whatever it is that’s going on, and this, eventually, subtly, will have a profound effect on your outlook and daily living.

You’ll help others look back

This is obvious, but creating some kind of simple keepsake with your memories gives other loved ones (and yourself!) a way to enjoy them. A photo book on a coffee table or a video compilation viewed collectively on the TV in the living room offers a vastly different experience of consumption that an overwhelming, un-curated library of photos on your phone.

Easy Ways to Print, Store and Organize Your Favorite Photos

For many of us, the more automatic and incremental a big project is, the more likely we won’t lose steam halfway through or earlier. Here are some of the most painless and beautiful ways to create keepsakes with your photos and videos.

Chatbooks pulls photos from your Instagram or Facebook feed. You can sign up for automatic books, which will ship to you every 60 photos for just $10. The photo books include dates and captions, so there’s really nothing you have to do after you take your photos and post them. Chatbooks also has an option to make books out of photos you favorite on your iPhone camera roll, so you can skip the social media step if you want.

This app makes it incredibly easy to create a compilation video from your year (or any specified amount of time). You basically fill in a calendar with a one-second video clip from the day and the app does the rest. The result is truly delightful and captures the everyday joys and trials alongside the more momentous.

This option is slightly more involved, but still remarkably easy and user-friendly. Pull photos from your camera roll or Dropbox and assemble beautiful digital scrapbook pages that include your own journaling, if you want. When you’re done with your project (which you can work on while you’re riding in a car, on an airplane, waiting for your child at dance lessons, etc.) you can print a photo book directly from the app. You can read more about why I love Project Life here.

Use this app to create a photo journal. You can even set it up to do a photo-a-day project. When the year is over (or you can also do it for any specified period of time), you can create a slideshow or export the photos with their captions to be printed and put in an album.

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