After having a conversation with a friend over the weekend about organizing photos, I thought I would share my simple method of keeping my photos on the computer. I’ve been doing this since we had our photography business and have kept it up because it’s been easy.
The only “hard” part is making the effort to get your photos off your digital devices. Our computer runs on Windows, but we have iPhones and despite my best attempts to sync them it’s just easier to plug it in and do it manually!
Anyway, here’s how I organize our photos. I start on a folder in our hard drive. I have a specific hard drive for this (since Brian is the one who built our computer) but you can just make a folder and label it Photos.
Next, make a bunch of folders by year (the last 3 folders are leftover from our photography business):
Then start organizing by month, and then year. Don’t type 1, 2, but actually use the 01, 02 so that the folders stay organized:
Inside the folder you can click in. This is where it can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. For me, I have several folders.
I have a folder called Blog for resized images that I might or might not use for the site.
Next I have Edit In, which is where I store RAW files from our DSLR. If I ever run out of space, I would delete that folder, like I’ve done for previous years. These are photos that I’ve kept after deleting the yucky, blurry, non-keepers, etc.
iPhone is for all the photos I’ve kept for the month on the phone. Sometimes I get Brian’s phone and include it, mostly not since he doesn’t take as many photos, and the ones I want he’ll just email it to me.
JPG is where I store both DSLR and iPhone photos and it’s where I’ve edited them by adjusting colors, exposure, etc.
Final is where I run any Photoshop actions on them, especially if I print them. It’s basically a sharpening and slight color adjustment action and then they get dropped into the folder automatically when I run the action. Again, this is leftover from the photography business days, but not necessary for our personal photos.
Here’s what the Final or JPG folder looks like:
This is also where I don’t go further in my organization. I’ve seen tips about making subfolders for the month with a description on it, or tagging them, or renaming them. I don’t do this for several reasons.
First, I don’t make subfolders within the month because I would have a million more folders to click through. I take photos almost everyday and sometimes it’s 10 and other times it’s just 1 photo. I don’t need a folder for 1 photo. 🙂 I like seeing the whole month of photos all at once.
I don’t tag photos, or use any other system because I’m lazy. If I ever go back and need photos I just click and look at them by the month. This works for my monthly folders because then I click through 12 times instead of 120 times for the subfolders.
I don’t rename my photos either. Print companies like Persnickety Prints or Shutterfly print the date the photo was taken on the back. I will rename the photos when I have my print order ready, but that’s more for the purposes of a specific project that I am working on, like if I am ordering prints for Project Life and need a quick reference for month and year so I can stick it all in one folder.
I don’t have every single photo super organized either! I still have to go back to pre-2008 and sort my photos better, but I just do a little bit here and there. Here’s another backup hard drive with scanned photos I had sent in to a scanning company. I’m not in a hurry to work on it because it’s generally organized enough:
I could talk more about photography organization, including storage, how to edit the photos, etc. so if there’s enough interest I might cover this a bit more in the future.
Please let me know if you have any organizing tips or tricks for photos. I love hearing other people’s systems.