How To Organize Photos

July 19, 2011 by  

How Do You Organize Your Digital Pictures?

Digitally Organizing Photos

Just as in real life, digitally we need to be organized.  You may wonder why, since there isn’t any physical clutter associated with our computer or laptop.  But we can still have “clutter” on our computers.  Photographs can be a big culprit.  Do you load your pictures onto your computer and forget them?  Can you find them when you need them, or do you just have to scan, scan, scan until you see it?   There are some simple ways to make browsing and sharing your photos easy.

5 Ways to Organize Your Photos Digitally

Step 1: Up Load

Load your pictures onto your computer.  There are many applications you can use  on your computer (ie: iphoto, picasa, photoshop)  but pick one and try to stick to it.  Do not use several different ones on your computer and have your pictures in several different locations.

Step 2: Sort

Just as in real life, we need to “sort” our things, and in this case pictures.  You do not need to keep ALL the pictures you take.  With digital cameras we tend to take a lot more pictures than we used to.  It is alright to delete a picture!  If you have 15 pictures of the same subject. Pick the best one, or maybe 2 and delete the rest.  Remember, these pictures can be copied, shared and saved – so you can break away from the “running out of syndrome”.  You don’t ever have to run out of copies of a digital picture.   Keep your best ones and delete the blurry ones, or ones where you cut off the top of someone’s head.

Step 3: Label

Label your pictures.  Try to do this as soon as you upload them onto your computer.  You have the best memory of the event soon after it happens. Add dates, people’s names, events and thoughts.

Here are some other labeling methods

Face recognition: You can label a photo via faces with some computers. (this is from iphoto on Mac)  If there are people in the photo you label a square that is around their face with their name. Your computer photo software then remembers this face and recognizes it in subsequent photos so labeling becomes easier.  The person who views the photo later can place their cursor over the picture and the persons name appears.  Here is a picture of what a Face folder may look like in your computer.

iphoto uses Faces to label.

Step 4: Separate

Separating your photos into folders enables you to find them quick and easily.  If you just have all your pictures loaded but not separated in any way, you can be searching forever for a particular photo.

Here is an example of folders from a PC.  But I have all the folders labeled and dated for fast and easy referencing.

PC folder method

This is iphotos folder method.  I used to have a PC and loved how I organized it.

I like having the picture on the front of the folder along with labeling below. As you use the scroll bar to scroll down the pictures you also get the letter of the category you are on. I have mine in alphabetical order.  But it can be more difficult to access these pictures when you are wanting to use a picture for a blog post or to put on Facebook. The text labeling do not show up on that screen.

You can separate your photos into broad events:

Holidays, sports, Vacations

Or you can separate them into more specific events (this is my preferred method)

Christmas 2009, Thanksgiving 2008, Youth Football 2006, San Antonio Vacation 2010

You can separate your folders by dates, events, alphabetically or by place.  That is up to you. But which ever method you chose, be sure you can find your pictures fast and easy.

Step 5: Share and Store

Sharing your photos is what taking pictures is all about. There are so many avenues to sharing with social media today; Facebook, Flicker, Kodak Gallery, E-mail, being able to find your pictures easily  makes sharing them a breeze.

The m-series Kodak cameras even have a Share feature on them. You can mark how you want your photos shared, (Facebook, Kodak Gallery, email) and when you connect your camera to your computer they are automatically sent.

Store – Back up those photos! Be sure to not store your photos on your camera, get them off your camera and onto your computer to use them. But be sure to back them up with flashdrives, external hard drives or an off-site back up company so that you do not have to worry if your computer crashes or is stolen.

Digitally organizing your photos is not hard.  It does take a little extra time when you initially load your pictures onto your computer. But that time will be made up ten-fold when you want to find a picture later.  As with any organizing project, maintenance is required. (But well worth it!)

I originally  wrote this post for Kodak last year.

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6 Responses to “How To Organize Photos”
  1. Mary says:

    I am really into organizing my digital photos. I have a system that works really well for me. Thanks for sharing yours, though, I’m always interested in what others are doing with this.

    My computer tries and tries to do facial recognition on my pictures and is always asking me to tell them who is in each picture. The problem is that I have identical twins – so it NEVER can guess who is in the picture. Of course, it would probably guess wrong half the time. Ha ha!!

  2. Thanks Sandy for the people recognition aspect. I just got a new computer with Windows 7 and it started asking me who the people were in the pictures. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start that or not, but if it’s done automatically after I do a few then that works for me. I might just try it!

    I organized my pictures by year/month, and change the filename to whatever the event was so all the pictures stay together within the month file. I’m all about chronological order as compared to subject. It does make for a challenge though when I’m looking for a harvest photo for a blog post and then I have to look in all the harvesting months to find the right pic. Hum I might just have to rethink my organization!

  3. Sandy says:

    Thanks for the comment Irek. However I don’t show comments that are put up to sell product. I do have a contact form that could have been filled out. Thanks much, I’ll take a look at your product.

  4. Thx for sharing. I’ve been round & round w/iPhoto. It drives me nuts! Apple finally says I have too many photos and I should try Aperture. I did look into it & think that’s where I’m headed. =)

  5. Petula says:

    I always get overwhelmed when I try to organize my pictures because there are so many and they are all over the place on my computer. I had most that I want to use on my blog in the blog folder, but that’s not in the picture folder so… sigh… then when I finally load them I don’t remember – or have time for – exact explanations. Well, short story is I have no system. I’ll keep this in mind and get this started and finished eventually. I also can’t figure out what program I want to use. (sigh… LOL)

  6. Sandy says:

    They told me that also, but that still doesn’t make any difference in how they have it set up. I still struggle with trying to find a picture when I’m hunting for it.

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