The day the camera roll on my phone hit 50,000 images, I knew I had a problem. I, like so many people I know, take way too many pictures. If I took the time to properly sort and organise them, I could tell you whether or not I have more than 5,000 photos of my Bernese Mountain Dog (my guess is yes), or whether I’ve photographed the sun setting behind One World Trade from my Brooklyn, N.Y., living room on more than 100 separate occasions (my hope is no).
And that’s saying nothing of my endless reel of travel snaps, which obsessively document everything from rooftop bars to intricate mosaic floors to random room service receipts. (Call it a hazard of the job.) I may be unique in the extent of my compulsive photo-taking habit, but I know I’m not alone in struggling to manage the thousands of shots I take each year. A study from the data scientists at InfoTrends shows that globally, people take more than 1.2 trillion images per year, a number that has been rising by 100 billion annually since the debut of the iPhone5. Vacation photos, no doubt, make up a big chunk of that sum.
With that in mind, here are the biggest pain points of a sprawling camera roll and how to best manage them. They’re solutions that I’ve started to integrate into my own life—and, though any solution requires commitment when your mountain of mementos is as big as mine, I can promise that they’re all easy, user-friendly, and well worth an occasional investment of time.