According to the April 2012 edition of National Geographic, Americans were projected to take 105 billion digital photos this year. That’s 322 per person and I’m pretty sure I take WAY more than that.

Inforgraphic Credit: National Geographic

Inforgraphic Credit: National Geographic

I have no idea how my mother ever got a single good photo of my sister and I without a digital camera. She’s got albums filled with decent shots of us smiling into the camera, but when I take pictures, I usually take 20 and settle for the one where my five-year-old isn’t frowning and my two-year-old is still in the frame.

Alison is Silly

I used to save every shot, download them, and keep most of them – even if they were bad photos. Now we have a million photos taking up a lot of space on various drives and if I have to find a particularly good shot? Forget about it.

Three Tips for Decluttering Photos As You Go

Tip #1: Delete Photos As You Go

Knowing that someday I will need to do a full digital declutter of our photo folders, I’ve started to pre-declutter. After taking a few photos, I immediately go back and delete the bad ones. I save only one photo – the best photo – of each pose.

If I’m really on top of things, I save only one photo from an entire event. Photos are great for bringing back memories, but those memories can just as easily be triggered by one photo as they can with 20.

Keep only the best shots. Only download keepers.

Tip #2: Mark Favorites

Another key part of keeping photo folders clean is picking out the very best photos as you download them. This is a tip from Joshua Becker’s book Clutterfree with Kids. He suggests using a photo-organizing program like the Mac OS X Photos software in which you can tag or favorite photos. That way, when you need to go back and find a good photo you have a quick list of the very best ones.

Keep a short list of your very favorite photos.

Tip #3: Photo Blogging

In a slight twist to favoriting photos, I keep a private family blog. My best photos go on the blog along with some commentary. At the end of the year, I turn the blog into a book, which serves as a photo album for the year. When I need to go back and find a great photo, I start with the blog.

Our Private Family Blog

Our Private Family Blog

I love this technique because distant relatives can keep track of what we’re doing throughout the year and I don’t have to spend a bunch of time scrapbooking. The blog serves both purposes. You can do something similar by starting a free blog on Blogger or WordPress and turning your blog into a book at Blog2Print or Blurb.

Blog only your favorite photos.

Note: There are many, many other sites you can use to write a blog and print a book. I recommend doing your research before starting. I have used Blogger and Blog2Print in the past, but every year there are new options that warrant evaluation.

Do you have any tips for choosing your best photos? Comment and share!