Strategies for better photo organization

Jennifer Wilson

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January 5, 2011

At about this time every year I wince at the chaos the holiday season has left on my hard drive. All the busyness of the last few months of each year sends even my best photography routines into a tailspin.

In this post I’ll share three of my best tips for regrouping and charting a course for more organized digital photos.

Tip #1. Take fewer photos

This can seem counter intuitive, but think “more better” when it comes to the quantity of shots you take. Take time to properly compose your shots and upon offloading, delete the duplicates. Pretend your camera has just a roll of 36 and be wise when it comes to the photo clutter you bring into your life. 

Tip #2. Make photo processing a priority

I am as guilty as many others of letting photos go unlabeled and in disarray, of being behind. However, the easiest way to stay organized is to stay caught up. Use folders to date/label your sets, making sure to keep a running backup. If you edit photos, do it right away. If the task seems too much, see Tip #1.

Tip #3. Keep your system simple

While I use Lightroom to sort and edit my photos, I don’t do any complicated tagging or organization. Every event has a folder and I keep one folder for the random photos of each month. Events are binned into folders by month and by year. By using a minimalist system, I spend minimal time organizing.

There are no right ways to organize your photos; these are simply a few strategies that I know work for me. Tell us, what simple photo organization strategies have helped you?

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4 Comments

  1. Natalie (AlmostNeverClever)

    I really try to look through the pictures after I take them and delete unnecessary photos. With digital, it’s easy to just dump all the pictures from one event into a folder and not look at them. Do you really need that photo that came out blurry? I’ll copy the pictures onto the computer from the memory card, then go through lightening fast and delete anything that doesn’t pass first muster.

    Reply
  2. Shelly Scott

    I’m a lot like Natalie. As soon as I take the pictures, I go through them and delete blurry or unnecessary photos.
    I download them into a folder on my hard drive labeled for that year and month. Then at least I know when they were taken. I try to make time to go through the folder by the end of the month and make additional folders within the original for any special events such as birthdays, reunions, holidays, etc.

    Reply
  3. Gina

    I just bought the Cropper Hopper photo storage holder. Hopefully this will make my life easier and more organized. I’m getting better at printing photos more often so I have tons to scrap when I actually sit down! I’m also getting better at downloading them to my laptop more often too. 2011 is my year to be more organized!

    Reply
  4. Georgia

    I put mine in a folder named by date and event. For instance for this Christmas it will be “2011 1225 Christmas”. This naming system automatically keeps them in date order. That goes in a folder called “Pictures to back up” in my Dropbox folder (a service that automatically backs up on the internet.) Then I take a picture of my computer to help me remember when I downloaded photos or I delete them from my camera if I am SURE that dropbox has completed backing them up. Then once a month, I take them off dropbox (my membership is only for 50Gb and I use that for my non-photo files) and back one copy onto a usb drive and another onto an external drive. I also keep a copy on my laptop not in dropbox. I know I’m paranoid to have 3 copies but I don’t want to lose my photos!

    Reply

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