Photo Organization 101

2015 is officially here and it’s time to get ourselves organized. In addition to the obvious organizational tasks of cleaning out our kids’ closets or taking unused toys to your local Goodwill, we also encourage you to organize your digital photo library.

Today we’ll walk you through the process of organizing your digital photo files. 

Photo Organization 101

Step 1: 

Upload your photos from your camera or phone to your computer at least once a month. If you are a power user (you know who you are), upload at least once a week.

You can upload your files directly into a photo management program such as Picassa, Lightroom or iPhoto. There are a number of free programs available. Just find one you like and use it! The alternative is not uploading your images and risking the chance of your photos becoming corrupt or your memory card being stolen.

Photo Organization 101 1 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

Step 2:

Once you’ve uploaded your photos to your computer, quickly sort your images. Programs such as Lightroom  will allow you to flag and rate your best shots and remove shots that are out of focus or duplicated. Identify your best shots and edit them.

If you have a lot of photos to edit, try batch processing them or editing in 15-20 minute increments. 

Step 3:

We recommend using folders to organize your edited photos on your computer.

There are a few of different approaches: chronological, thematic or a combination of both. Use a folder for each year. Within that folder, create folders for each month using a number (example: January is 01) so that you computer can correctly order them. Within the month, you can create additional folders to separate special events.

Step 4:

Now that you’ve created folders, rename your photos to something that will help you better identify your images later. 

We like to edit photos from a set, then use a program such as Adobe Bridge to batch rename our files. For example, if you took your child to the zoo in September 2014 and you edited 20 photos from your visit, you might rename your files Trip2theZoo_0914_01.

Photo Organization 101 2 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

Step 5: 

Regularly back up your edited files (at least once a month, or more often). It’s best to use at least two back up methods such as an external hard drive, online storage service or prints to ensure that your memories are safe and sound.

  • External Hard Drive:  Just connect the drive to your computer (usually via USB cord) and drag your photos over in their respective folders. These days, you can get a 1 TB external hard drive for around $50.
  • Online Storage Services: There are a number of online storage services on the web that offer a range of services from storage to printing to online sharing. Be careful to choose a company who focuses on storage. Web services who specialize in printing or social media can also be used for backing up your images, but your photos are not usually saved at the highest resolution.
  • Prints: While more and more photographers are moving towards the web sharing of files and/or photo CDs; prints are still the best way to preserve your memories. Home printing isn’t usually as cost effective as you might think, but there are a number of companies that offer photo printing (including albums). Be careful to test several print labs to find prints that most accurately match the image you see on your screen. You can even calibrate your computer with a specific printer to ensure that what you see on your computer will match the printed image.

If you shoot RAW, these files are often difficult to back up because of their size. However, we recently learned that Amazon is offering unlimited photo storage to members with active Amazon Prime accounts through their Cloud Drive service. Just one more reason to have an Amazon prime account!

Step 6:

Once your photos are organized and securely stored, you can safely erase them from your camera and/or phone.

With all that said, let’s get those digital files organized. Once we get that accomplished, then we can move onto creating photo albums for each of our kids.

Discover more ways to organize your photos. Check out:
Protecting Your Photo Memories



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Ashley Sisk
Ashley Sisk
Ashley lives in North Carolina with her husband, two kids and Kitty Paw. She’s a work-from-home mom with a natural light photography business and a passion for sharing everything she knows. Since leaving the corporate world, she now spends her time trying to get through elementary school with her daughter, chasing her firefighter loving little boy, writing and finding ways to enjoy life. You can find her on Facebook, Google + or on her website.
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