Taking Control of Your Digital Picture Organization
Remember when we needed shoebox after shoebox to store our pictures? I would spend hours putting my pictures in order and using index cards to create dividers. Now that many of us have digital cameras, we need to take control of our digital picture organization.
I decided very early on that I was going to need a system for all my digital pictures. Because we are not limited by the film, we take hundreds of pictures instead of just 12, 24, or 36. The best system is the one that you will be able to keep up with. I’m going to show you the system I use and you can choose to use what fits for you.
From Camera to Server
Here is the process I go through:
1. I set up my digital camera to use the date when naming the photos. I figure the date is the best way to try to find pictures. If I want pictures of my oldest when he was born, I know to go to the July, 1996 photos.
2. As I’m taking pictures, if one really does not turn out, I delete it on my camera if I have time. If not, I skip this step.
3. I upload my pictures to my server on a weekly basis. I’ll discuss the folder organization I use in a moment. I go through and fix any pictures that are sideways and delete ones that didn’t turn out at all.
4. Once uploaded, I open the photos up in Adobe Photoshop Elements (check out that link because you will see a video of my family & how I manage taking daily photos) and I make any obvious adjustments that I see like red eye, too dark or a pole behind a head.
5. The photos are then backed up to a second hard drive in case the first one fails and I also upload all my pictures to Flickr as a third backup. I pay for the premium version so I have unlimited uploads.
All of my pictures from 2003 and earlier are in a folder called Family Photos. I also have a few other random folders that I have created as I worked on projects and needed more photos.
The earlier years, I have in decades because I do not have as many photos. Those photos were all scanned from print photos. Inside the decades, I have the years and in some cases, I’m not sure exactly what years, so I group them.
For the years 2004 and beyond, I have in a separate folder because they are all in my main Photoshop Elements catalog. I have a lot more digital photos from the later years, so each year has it’s own folder.
And inside each year, I have it broken down by the dates the photos are taken. In a few cases, I have the name of the event if it is something I needed to gather everyone’s photos in one place.
The Raw Files folder is where I put all the raw files for my photos. I don’t always shoot in raw, but sometimes I do and they are all in that folder.
As I said earlier, this system may not work for you, but having a system in place will make it easier to find your photos when you need them. It isn’t too late to start.
What digital photo organization system do you use?