Clearing the Digital Clutter

Like most digital camera owners, Craig and Alison de Lauzon love that they can snap hundreds of photos at a time without having to worry about running out of space.

The problem? When all those pictures started to pile up on their home computer.

"We were shocked that we had nearly 22,000 photos," Craig de Lauzon said.

VIDEO: Becky Worley helps one family get their 22,000 digital photos organized.
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Those 22,000 photos -- enough to stretch for nearly two miles if laid out end to end -- were clogging the de Lauzon's computer, and their sheer volume made it almost impossible to find a great shot in a hurry.

"Sometimes, we'll label a file so-and-so's christening, but somebody else's wedding pictures are on there too, and then somebody else's birthday pictures," Craig de Lauzon said.

To remedy the digital photo overload, "GMA Weekend" sent in Becky Worley to teach the de Lauzons how to use new technology to finally sift through the photos, delete the bad ones and highlight the great ones.

Back Up Automatically

The first step was backing up all those memories. If the de Lauzons' computer crashed, those 22,000 photos would be gone. Unfortunately, it's something they've experienced before.

"A couple of years ago, we decided that we were going to take our entire CD collection and put it on our computer," Craig de Lauzon said. "So we actually did go out and buy a back-up hard drive, but ... there was always tomorrow, so we waited a week ... and the computer hard drive crashed."

The de Lauzons lost some of their music, but still do not back up routinely. Worley set up an external hard drive that made the process automatic, backing up any new photos every night all by itself.

Putting Your Digital Memories in Order

Get Organized

Worley's next tip is to get organized using free software.

Google's Picasa program is available for free online, and runs as a program from a computer hard drive. Mac users can take advantage of Apple's iPhoto program.

Picasa and programs like it can be used to sort photos into folders and albums, to mark the best pictures as favorites, and to tag pictures using the names of people and places.

Some new camera memory cards can automatically assign a geo-tag to each photo, so it's easy to sort by place. But others can geo-tag manually using Google Earth.

"So many events are tied to a certain place, and one of the ways you can organize is by looking at the geo-tag that's embedded in the photos," Worley said.

Worley also recommends tagging photos with names, which gives you the ability to later search through photos and create folders by person. And there's a bonus for Mac users: The iPhoto software can use facial recognition technology to sort through photos and tag people on its own.

Use Editing Tools to Correct Shots

In the past, a great photo was made in the camera. But these days, the editing that takes place after a shot is downloaded to computer can make the difference between an OK image and a classic.

Most of the photo organization software includes editing tools, and often all it takes to make a picture better is a click on the auto-correct button.

"You don't even think it's a bad picture until you apply something, and then you say, 'Wow,'" Alison de Lauzon said.

Get Creative With Printing

Finally, when it comes to printing, think outside the 4-by-6 or 5-by-7 box. You can make virtually anything online, from collage posters to fleece blankets printed with favorite photos.

For the de Lauzons, this is where the real pay-off happened: After organizing those 22,000 photos, they narrowed it down to their absolute favorites, which they used to fill a wall in their living room.

"I see all these people who display their pictures in their home as if they're pieces of art, and that's what I wanted to do," Alison de Lauzon said. "I wanted to incorporate our family into the art of our home."

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