Organising Digital Photos 101

Well Christmas has come and gone for another year, and if you’re in the same boat as me this was your child’s first Christmas. So you probably went an itsy bitsy mental taking photographs.

Lets face it, since your child was born you have probably gone crazy taking photos. So now you have all these photographs what do you do with them? have them all saved into one file called My Photos? scattered all over the place? or don’t really know? Digital camera’s have made it really easy to take hundreds of shots in one session. This can be great because it means you will probably get one fantastic shot, it can also be a burden when you have to stored thos photographs later.

Your photographs are like any record, they should be findable. Think of it like this, in twenty years time when your child is about to have his 21st birthday and you want to pull out that hilarious photograph of him face planted in his birthday cake. You look on your computer and jaw hits the floor. When you pick your jaw up off the floor, what do you see? a folder marked my photos with 5000 photographs in it. You then are faced with the daunting task of trolling through ALL those photographs to locate maybe one or two. Sound like fun? no? didn’t think so.

So ensuring all those precious memories are locatable in the future is important. I have listed below some tips for organising your digital photographs.

  • Establish a folder filing system that works for you. This is important because you ned to be able to maintain the system in the years to come. Normally you would have 3-4 levels of folders. It would look something like this My Photos – 2010 – Birthdays – Grandpa Bubba 90th or perhaps My Photos – Birthdays – 2010 – Grandpa Bubba 90th.

Screenshot of logical folder structure

  • Always back up your files. Preferably to a few sources like a back up hard drive, DVD, or USB stick, and if you can an online website like flickr, picasa, or photobucket. Why? accidents happen; a hard drive can corrupt and die, a disaster can destroy your hard drive and the back up hard drive. This is where an online back up can come in handy, in the event of a disaster where everything in your house is wiped out then your photos are still stored somewhere safe.
  • Invest in a good photo management software. There are heaps out there now and most will do what you need them to do. Adobe has probably the best known one on the market, but shop around and see which one you prefer better (for ease of use and capabilities). I personally use Lightroom which does everything I need it to do. Try and get one that does photo editing as well as photo management so you get two for one. This is not essential but can be a really useful tool.
  • Tag your photos. You do this using your photo management software. This makes photos easier to find by subject matter. For instance if you want to find all your photos of  Melbourne Cup, all you would do was type Melbourne Cup into your search bar and all photos tagged Melbourne Cup will be located and displayed.
  • When uploading your photos to the pc put them in a named folder straight away.
  • Change the settings on your folder so you can view the images by thumbnails.
  • Delete! I know it’s a scary thought but do you really need that blurry picture of a blue blob? do you really need two photographs that are identical? or do you need four photographs of the same thing, but only one looks good? If not hit delete. There is no need to have them, you wont use them, and they take up space.
  • Name your photos when you upload them to your pc. For big batches try a general title like Europe 2008, for smaller batches try individual titles like Uncle Bubba 90th. Alternatively you could just use the number sequence the camera allocates (but this is where tagging becomes important).
  • Dont forget your phone. Get those pictures of your phone if your phone has those capabilities otherwise you could potentially lose them too!

 Hope this helps you organise your photographs. o you have any tips to share?

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