If you are asked where your digital photos are, what would be your response?
Your most likely answer is you have them stored on your smartphone or perhaps in a cloud account or two. It’s also possible that you’ll say that it’s on your computer and then remember that you have it all uploaded to your social media accounts. Then perhaps, you’ll add that you have some unretrieved images from your SLR camera or some other flash drives.
Does this sound familiar?
In this day and age where just about every device can take hundreds or even thousands of photos, this is an all-too-common scenario. Thus, organizing photos can be a real head-scratcher or downright overwhelming. It’s a good thing that there are ways to organize digital photos and make it less of a chore.
Best Tips on How to Organize Digital Photos
Organizing your colossal photo collection might seem well, a colossal task, but it’s not really that hard. You just have to get in there and sort out the mess. Here are some tips to help you out:
Decide the Main Location for Your Photo Files
You can start by deciding on a single location where you can dump all of your photo collection.
You really don’t want some photos saved on your computer, some stored in your smartphone, some uploaded in the cloud, and the rest sitting on your social media accounts. The main idea is to create a destination that will serve as your central hub for all photos you’ve taken and for future captures.
For your main location, you may use your computer or laptop, but you don’t want to use up your system’s hard drive and slow it down. So in this case, buying an external hard drive is the smarter approach. External hard drives are very affordable these days like the WD 3TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive which costs less than $100.
Once you have decided on a central location, the next step is to create folders that will keep your photos organized.
The simplest way to do this is to create folders for each year, and then create monthly folders within those main year folders. So for instance, you can create one folder for 2019, and within the folder, you can create 12 different folders for each month. Make sure that you name the folder by adding a number before the month such as 01-January, 02-February, 03-March, and so on. This is to make sure that the folders are in order.
Within each folder month, you can also create more folders for photos that are taken for a particular event or activity. For example, under the 06-June folder, you can have a folder like “John’s Birthday” or “Mt. Rainier Camping.” Be as descriptive as possible to let you know what’s exactly in a folder.
Sometimes, we just can’t help being trigger-happy when snapping photos in hopes of getting that perfect shot.
This is fine, but you’ll be better off learning photography techniques like the Rule of Thirds and framing. Fortunately, you can just opt to delete photos that won’t make the cut like exposed images or those obscured by the shooter’s thumbs. Also, don’t hoard photos that are basically the same shot or duplicates.
Don’t be afraid to delete photos not only to make your collection a lot easier to organize but also to free up storage space.
Use Keywords and Tags
To make your photos searchable, change their metadata.
Metadata is basically the information embedded in every photo file like the location and date it was taken. Many images also list other relevant info like type of camera used, exposure, lens, and more. Adding keywords and tags to the photos themselves will make them easy to track down by simply using a native finder app on your computer.
For example, if you’ve visited Disneyland on several occasions, you may tag all your photos with a simple keyword like “Disneyland.” This way, you can easily find the photos even if they’re located in different folders.
While a hard drive is a reliable storage device for your photos, it can fail at some point (it’s a matter of when, not if). If your hard drive fails, you will lose all your photos forever – unless you create a backup.
You have several options to back up your files.
First, you can simply buy a second hard drive and manually copy everything. Second, you may use cloud storage services like Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon Photos, and more.
Note that some services require a monthly fee or subscription.
Get your Photos Under Control
These are just some of the best ways on how to organize digital photos. Organizing your photo collection isn’t that hard but it does require a bit of work.
Do you have any other tips that you can add? Feel free to share in the comments section.