How to upload, organize, and share family photos

Store family photos in the cloud to ensure your memories are kept safe and accessible.

Jun 18, 2021

Remember sitting with family looking through photo albums, admiring how someone had spent hours meticulously curating each page? Photos in the shape of hearts, handwritten notes with the dates tucked neatly into the borders. Now those photo books are fading, and the tape's lost its stick. They've been stashed safely away in a box to be moved from closet to basement to garage. Very sentimental, but not so accessible. 

Now imagine your family can view full-resolution photos of all your best moments—and you can see theirs. The beauty of storing your photos online is that you can keep them secure, organize them properly, and share them with the ones you love most. Think of all the shoeboxes you can recycle, space you'll save, and memories you'll share.

Collect your photos into the cloud

Uploading your photos to a cloud storage service like Dropbox is a first step to making sure family memories are kept safe, accessible, and shareable.

Camera uploads

The easiest way to make sure all of your latest photos are safe and accessible is to automatically upload all of your images from your mobile device and camera to Dropbox. One benefit of using camera uploads is that Dropbox will rename all of your photos from a number to the date you took them, making it much easier to stay organized, i.e., "IMG_1801.jpg" to "2021-04-26 15.30.42.jpg"

Another bonus: When you back up full-resolution photos and videos to Dropbox,  you'll be able to delete them from your phone, freeing up storage space.

File requests

Trying to collect everyone's photos from a wedding, family reunion, or holiday celebration? Instead of creating an annoying Gmail thread with your cousins, siblings, and friends, send everyone a file request and have them send their photos directly to your Dropbox. You can even create a shared folder so everyone has access. 

Scan old photos

Instead of letting them fade or stay hidden in a box in your closet, make sure all of your old prints are secure. Convert them into high-quality PDFs right from your phone or iPad with Dropbox Scan.

Facebook transfer integration

Many of us have been using Facebook as our photo storage for years. Instead of constantly logging in to social media, transfer your entire photo and video libraries from Facebook to Dropbox with the Facebook app integration.

Device and computer sync

You can use smart sync or manually select folders of photos you want to sync to the cloud. Once synced, you can access and edit them from all of your devices.

Organize your photos like a pro

Now that you have all of your family photos in one place, you can make them easier to find later with the right filing and naming system.

Delete accidental or duplicate photos

Dozens of accidental iPhone screen capture images aren't very interesting to look at and take up a lot of cloud storage space. If you use automatic camera uploads, you will inevitably upload a lot of unneeded photos. Thumbnail previews are a great way to find and delete the photos you don't want quickly.

Put into folders

Instead of renaming, you can organize your photo library into folders. The most efficient folder naming convention, used by everyday people and professional photographers alike, is to first break it down by date, with folders for each year. Within those, you can create a subfolder for each month. Then create a subfolder for a specific event, trip, or occasion. For example:

My Photos > 2018 > January 2018 > Coulson Family Reunion 

If you don't take many photos or are uploading old photo scans, you might want to only have subfolders for events, like "Jack's baby years," instead of a bunch of empty month folders.

If you use camera uploads, Dropbox will automatically change your photo names to the date you took them, i.e., "IMG_1801.jpg" to "2021-04-26 15.30.42.jpg." Using this naming convention as a base, you can select a batch of photos from one day and put them into a folder, like "2021-04-26 Hiking When I Should Be Doing Work." If you have a lot of pictures, you can nest them in year and month folders, like "Photos / 2021 / 2021-04 / 2021-04-26 Hiking When I Should Be Doing Work."

Rename (if necessary)

Renaming is time-consuming and often unnecessary. Before renaming, we first recommend organizing your photos into folders. If you must rename some images, a reliable format for filenames would be to include the place or event where you took the picture and its date, "Paris_Oct 2019_01.jpg," for example. You could be even more specific, like "Paris_Oct 2019_Eiffel Tower Tour_01.jpg," or include keywords that can act as identifiers.

Share photos with easy access

Once everything is on the cloud and organized, photo sharing with your loved ones is as simple as sharing a folder with an email or text. You can also give other friends and family members editing access to a shared folder to add their photos easily.

Get your crew on Dropbox Family

With the new Dropbox Family plan, everyone in your household can share their pictures in The Family Room folder. Get plenty of storage space and save a lot of money when you split a plan between parents, kids, and siblings. It's a great way to stay connected even when you are apart.

Ready to bring your family together?

Get Dropbox Family