Good cell phone photo hygiene

To be clear, if hygiene makes you think of germs, then yes, you need to clean your cell phone regularly. (If you’re looking for tips for that, use a 50/50 mixture of water and alcohol and a microfiber cloth. Use a cotton swab for the crevices.)

But this post isn’t about germs. It’s about the photos on your phone that seem to multiply like bacteria.

Do you have thousands of photos on your cell phone?

Are you paying monthly fees to back up your phone photos even though you never look at the backup and have no idea what photos are being stored?

Do you struggle to find a particular photo on your phone when you want to show someone?

Well, this post is for you. It’s time to clean up your photo routine. No rubber gloves necessary.

Here are four tips for better phone photo hygiene.

Delete liberally.

Just because you took the picture doesn’t mean you need to keep it. We are no longer living in the film age where we got double prints of every camera click. You need to go through your digital images periodically and click the trash can icon at least half as many times as you clicked the “take picture” button. Face it: Most digital images are junk. You tried different lighting, or you turned your phone sideways, or you took a close up, or you snapped a shot of an item you wanted to buy (and now you’ve purchased it), or you just accidentally took extra pictures. Delete the ones that don’t matter. Yes, right now. Or at least take a few minutes at regular intervals (the first of every month or every Sunday night or while you’re waiting for your hair stylist/doctor/oil change) to delete mercilessly.


Backup the photos on your phone either with a cloud service or by saving to your computer or thumb drive. If you’re not sure how to save photos to your computer, check how this post on how to find your DCIM and move photos from your phone to your computer.

After backing up your photos, consider deleting them off your phone. Blasphemy? OK, you don’t have to delete all of them (though I do because I absolutely hate showing people photos on my tiny phone screen), but you can delete older ones and ones you no longer want to show other people. If you have photos on your phone you want to show off, check out this next tip.

Create albums.

If you have an iPhone, you can tag photos so they appear in different albums. Your phone will do this automatically for some photos, but if you want to show off photos of your kids or your new house, you can segregate those photos into an album so they’re easy to find. Here’s how:

  1. Click on the Photos icon.
  2. Click on “Albums” on the bottom right.
  3. Click the + sign in the top left.
  4. Name your new album (i.e., “Kids,” “New House,” “Biggest Fish”). Click save.
  5. Now tap the photos you want to save in that album. Scroll up and down to see all you have on your phone.
  6. Click Done in the top right.

Now when you want to show someone these particular photos, click the Photos icon, then Albums and find the one you want. Voila.


Many photo print shops offer apps just for this purpose including SnapFish, Shutterfly, CVS and Walgreens (search “print photos” in the App store). To make this work, you actually have to use the app and print some photos. In many cases, you can print items other than simply photographs, like photo books and other tchotchkes. Listen, if the photo was important enough to take and save, then it might be worth printing and enjoying in real life inside of only virtually.

There, now your phone is lighter, at least in terms of  memory use, and you can better enjoy the photos you’ve decided to keep. Nice work.

Now you can clean up the germy parts.

Good luck!


3 tips to better photos with your iPhone

Since almost no one leaves home without their iPhone, it’s no wonder so many photos are being snapped with it instead of cameras. It’s just so convenient!

The iPhone 4 has a 5 megapixel resolution while the iPhone 4S boasts 8 megapixels, plenty of resolution for excellent quality images on the go.

If you’re using your iPhone as your only camera, check out these three easy ways to make it even more responsive:

  • Focus: As you compose your image, tap the screen where you want the iPhone to focus. It’ll adjust the exposure and white balance automatically for that area. For example, you might want your daughter’s face in focus while the flowers are not. Or you might want to focus on the faraway horizon instead of the close-up tree.
  • Comfort click: If using the shutter button on the screen is awkward, you can take a photo by pressing the volume button (the one imprinted with “+”) on the side of the phone; when your phone is sideways, it’s the natural position for a shutter on a camera.
  • Edit: After taking an image, click on it, then click “Edit.” You’ll get the option to rotate the image, auto-enhance, fix red-eye and crop. Take a picture of the dog right now and experiment so you can smoothly improve your images on the go and before uploading to Facebook, for example.

Clickago helps tell your stories

Clickago has added Storywerks to its name and mission.

Clickago = Click + Chicago

Storywerks = Story + works with a quirk

I’m a storyteller at heart, and my new venture adds storytelling to my photo organizing skills. My career has spanned from daily newspaper reporter and headline writer to an executive in a worldwide scrapbooking company and communications director with a food company dedicated to bringing families around the dinner table to share their stories. My role with the Association of Personal Photo Organizers has evolved from territory manager to certified photo organizer member and membership rep.

At Clickago Storywerks, we can help you organize and enjoy a lifetime of photos and tell your stories in meaningful, beautiful ways:

  • Sort Printed Photos: I’ll coach you through the process or simply take the whole mess off your hands and return your photos to you in photo-safe boxes, sorted and labeled.
  • Photo Book Creation: I’ll take 30-150 printed photos, scan them and create a beautiful photo book. I create scrapbooks, too.
  • Slide Shows: I’ll create a slide show of your still images in a video set to music. I’ll even connect your computer to your big-screen TV so you can “go to the movies” right in your livingroom.
  • Gifts: I create personalized postage stamps, memory boxes, calendars and other photo gifts, usually shipped right to your door or to your gift recipient.
  • Personal History: I can help you tell the story of a single event or an entire lifetime for use in a book, photo album or blog.
  • Website or Blog Copy: I provide fresh, interesting copy to attract search-engine traffic for a website or a personal or business blog.

I also sort and backup digital images, provide one-on-one instruction on software and speak to groups.

Meanwhile, I’m working on publishing my memoir. You’ll be hearing more about that in the coming months.

If you’re a subscriber to this blog, rest assured you’ll continue to receive great ideas for enjoying your family photos. And as always, we love comments!

Organizing your photos: There’s an app for that

Tap, swipe and share your way to organized photos in 2012 with the new Linea app for iPad and iPhone.

Linea is easy to use, improves your viewing experience and allows you share high-quality images securely.

And best of all, you can try it for free.

Say you’re taking pictures at your holiday gathering. And so is your sister. And your mother. And your nephew on his new iPhone.

Download the app from the App Store for your Apple device or go to on your PC. Create a “line” and upload your photos, then invite your sister, your mom and your nephew by email address. They can add their digital photos to the line and comments to all of the photos. Just the act of creating and naming a line imposes a sense of organization on your photo collection.

Unlike Facebook, which provides easy photo sharing, you can compile all your photos with your sister’s, your mom’s and your nephew’s, all in one place. And Linea doesn’t compress your photos — these images remain at the same quality as you loaded them. And you don’t have to worry if you’re sloppy with your “friending” habits or about hackers (do you hear me, Mark Zuckerberg?) — the only people who see these photos are the ones you invite to the line.

The app improves the view of your photos, even on an iPhone. Remember wallet photos? I’m amazed nowadays when people talk about their kids or their dogs and say, “You want to see a picture?” as they whip out their cell phone — the way they used to pull out a wallet — with a teeny, tiny image on it. Linea makes sharing digital photos that way much more satisfying.

I’ve created a line of images from my personal blog at Minnesota Transplant, and if you want to be invited to it, send your email address to (Don’t forget to download the Linea app first.)

For consumers of a certain age, be like Alka-Selzter: Try it, you’ll like it.