Are you looking for a better way to organize and store photos and videos?
Would you love an easy way to share those special clips directly with students and their families – especially those that aren’t a part of social media (yes, they exist).
Google Photos might be YOUR perfect solution!
My husband and I are PC users. He’s in the business world so that’s just how it goes in our house. For years I tried but never loved iCloud Photos. The interface just didn’t feel good to me and I was frustrated and unhappy.
For years I was hoping for a way to store photos and videos that would easily allow me to tag photos of multiple students on one photo.
Don’t laugh, but in the old old days, I even tried renaming every photo on my desktop file manager to include the name of each student that was in the photo.
This was a TERRIBLE idea but I was desperate.
I felt like I had the rest of my digital life organized and in order but photos were getting the best of me.
Then I met fellow Louisville-based piano teacher Daniel Light at a session I was giving to the teachers of Louisville MTA and he changed my world forever by introducing me to Google Photos!
Today, I want to share with you five reasons why Google Photos may answer your needs (as they did mine) for a better media storage solution.
#1 Visual Interface
The first and simplest reason why I like Google Photos is the look of the interface. It’s clean, simple, and more appealing to me than iCloud Photos.
Here’s what it looks like on my desktop and mobile device.
#2 Albums and Sharing
The ability to add photos and videos to albums is perfect for studio teachers. The fact that you can add a single photo to more than one album is even better!
While this feature is not necessarily exclusive to Google Photos, again, for me, it’s very much about the visual/functional look.
Adding photos and videos to albums is super easy. Here are a couple of screenshots. Click on the photo, select “add to album”, select the album, and voila!
Individual photos (without being duplicated) can show up in more than one album!
Once a week – generally on Thursdays or Fridays – I sit down and spend 10 minutes clicking through the photos and videos I took that past week and adding them to the appropriate album.
I title all my albums for students with an [S -] at the beginning making it easier for me to distinguish student albums from other albums.
(One thing Google Photos doesn’t do that I wish it did was allow you to rearrange albums in a certain order, but I guess we can’t have it all!)
Using albums is a fast and easy way to not only keep photos/videos of students in one place but sharing with families is sooooo easy!
Here’s a 17-second video demonstrating how to create the link to the album. (Expand the video to see up close.)
I keep one photo album per family, not per student, that way they don’t have to visit two different albums.
When you send that link, if they click to “Join” the album, it will notify them any time new photos or videos are added to their album.
This is what they will see when they click on the link you send them:
Emailing the Album link
To make your life even easier, here’s the email I write to studio families at the beginning of each year.
(TIP: If a family has already joined the album, there is no need to notify them again.)
Hello, studio families!
Throughout the year I frequently try and capture photos and videos of studio “moments” throughout the year. Photos are used a lot (as mentioned in my policies) for the studio newsletter, studio website, and social media. I also like taking videos of students performing pieces that they especially enjoy. Capturing these videos is a wonderful way for students to see their progress from year to year.
I use Google Photos as my photo management system.
Each student/family in my studio has their own album. Here is the link to YOUR album: *insert link*
If you click “join” you will be notified anytime I add a photo or video to your student’s album. Don’t worry, it won’t be that frequently. At most, I process photos/videos once a week but more likely you would only get notified of updates once every 2-4 weeks when new items are added.
Please let me know if you have any questions!
I used to simply email the link with a brief explanation, but this year I had the father of one of my new students reply back and ask the reasoning behind photos for piano lessons. His question prompted me to re-write my email template to include a more explicit explanation.
#3 Search Function
As is all things with Google, the search function in Google Photos is very powerful.
When you click on the search box, it gives you lots of options to search by, or you can type in anything you want.
Search by location
In this 20-second clip, I show you how, when I select “Spokane” in the search box, it will bring up all my photos from MTNA 2019!
One of the options you would have seen in the photo above is to search by “screenshots.” What a cool search function!
The nice thing about this? If you’re a digital de-clutterer like me, this makes it really easy to get rid of all those screen-shots you take to help you remember things that you no longer need.
The strong search feature is gold in that it eliminates the need to organize everything into photo albums. I have very few photo albums other than those I use for my studio.
Leave it up to search!
#4 Unlimited Storage
Google photos will give you free unlimited storage of photos and videos if you are willing to sacrifice a bit of the visual quality.
Make sure in your settings, you have it selected as “High Quality.”
Even if you do want to keep the full resolution, the storage is super-cheap. Get 100 GB for only $1.99/month.
#5 Free-Up Space on your Device
On your mobile device(s), Google Photos will frequently suggest that you free up space by removing items. Don’t worry though, they’re not going anywhere!
They’re still viewable on Google Photos, they just won’t be stored on your device.
Hear It From The Pro’s
My favorite tech guru, Steve Dotto, gives a great explanation of 5 Awesome Google Photos features. His video touches on some of the items we talked about in this post. View each specific topics at the time indicated.
3:05 Search feature / image recognition
4:20 Search feature / location
7:50 Frees-up space
Happy photo-organizing! Do you use Google Photos or something else? What do you like most about the tool you use?