There has been one item on almost every to-do list for the past three years, chances are you have a similar one on yours — or at least the thought in the back of your mind. “I need to organize and back up all my photos and videos.”

You with me? Good, keep reading:

Since you’re still with me, chances are the thought of backing up and organizing all your photos fills you with a certain sense of panic or doom. For me, it’s the fact that I use 5+ devices to take photos and videos which makes the task — in a word — monumental. While my DSLR photos are really well organized, my phone and point and shoot cameras usually just end up getting their memory dumped in a folder appropriately named “Phone Dump” with the intention of going through them later. (Later has yet to happen.)

I upload a lot of photos to Flickr, which is considered my back up of a back up, but I haven’t established a very efficient way of searching them and at the rate they change their desktop site around and the lack of functionality with their mobile app, I’ve been left using a few choice words in Flickr’s direction here recently. I also have two external hard drives, one dedicated to photos, the other for weekly backups of my entire computer. Again, I have all my photos in each location but there just isn’t a very good way to search or browse them (despite being fairly well organized in tidy little folders.)

Enter ThisLife, a new service from Shutterfly.

Used in conjunction with (or without) your Shutterfly account, it backs up and organizes all your photos from all your devices without much effort beyond setting it up. I downloaded the desktop uploader to get all the photos and videos on my hard drive taken care of and I used the mobile app to make sure every image from my phone was uploaded into my account as well. (In the words of Shutterfly “Go from photo mess to photo bliss.”)

I have considerably slow Internet at home and it took nearly 5 straight days of uploading to get all 29,000+ photos and videos into my account. While it may have seemed slow as molasses, I didn’t really have to do anything but wait for it to finish. Want to know how long it would have taken me to upload and organize all those photos on my own? Way more than 5 days, that’s all I’m saying. If you do decide to give ThisLife a shot and it is slow and/or looks like it isn’t uploading anything at all? It is. I know because I emailed the lovely people from Shutterfly a whole lot and because photos kept showing up even when the upload process had seemed to stop completely. (I kept telling myself “Twenty-thousand is a lot. Twenty-thousand is a lot.”)


ThisLife will scan all of your photos for faces and let you tag them, so you get a folder for each of the people you like the most featuring their wonderful faces. And this isn’t some wimpy face detection either, it was spot on 90% of the time. (However, if you have twins or a lot of different babies photos it may have a bit more difficulty.) It will also read any pertinent date, location and tagging information for another way to browse your photos.


My most favorite feature is the mobile app, I can get to any photo I’ve ever taken over the past 14 years in just a few seconds from any of my devices.

What was going on one year ago? This:

one year ago

What did Addie look like when she was Vivi’s age? Like this:

addie at vivi

I need a picture of Vivi making a goofy face. Done:

goofy vivi face

Now that all my photos are organized and uploaded, I don’t fear something happening to my phone or computer (as much) because my photos are set to upload automatically. Now that all my photos are organized, the idea of making a chronological photo book is actually enjoyable rather than stress inducing. (And you can do it straight from ThisLife through Shutterfly.)

ThisLife 2

My photographic life has been made infinitely easier, and for the amount of photos I have taken/will take that is a huge statement. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to hear about ThisLife if it weren’t for them contacting me, so I’m so happy I can tell you about it now, just in case you have the lingering cloud of “organize all the photos” over your head.

I’m giving away a one year standard subscription (25,000 photos or up to 100GB plus HD video, worth $59) of ThisLife to one of you, to help chase away the fear of something happening to all your photos and squash the lack-of-organization guilt. (A premium plan that allows storage for 100,000 photos (or 400GB) is $159 annually, a free plan allows storage of 2,500 photos with no video.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find four other chances to win from Sarah, Aimee, Kristen, and Amy.

Disclosure: Special thanks to ThisLife by Shutterfly for sponsoring this post. All opinions (as usual!) are my own.


  1. Hmm… I would guess like 5000?

  2. This is great timing! I have probably about 10K pictures and have been meaning to do various photo albums for years. The sheer number of these pics totally make me procrastinate and (almost) long for the day when I could drop off the roll of film, pick it up, and stick it in an album.

  3. Sigh. I’ve never organized photos. Digital or otherwise. This would be a godsend……in spend all day on a computer so it’s not something I like spending my free time on. Thanks for introducing This Life!

  4. I think I probably have about 5000 waiting to be organized. And I know that number will grow as i take more and more pictures of my toddler!

  5. David Sandel says:

    Thanks for this. I have 50,000 pictures and they are gonna get organized. Yea!