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Where did I put that photo on my computer? I don’t REALLY want to look through all those hundreds of thousands of photos.
Before I started organizing my photos, I couldn’t seem to find any one photo unless I had recently downloaded it onto my laptop. I bought an Expansion Drive to store all of my photos, then set to work trying to organize them all. But, after so many times of downloading without order, how was I going to do it?
Although you can sort your photos by something in common (foliage, portraits, etc), I started off by sorting photos by the year in which they had been taken. This is helpful for sorting family vacations or annual events, like Christmas and Thanksgiving. If, however, the camera did not have a set date and time, I put the photos in an “Other” folder.
After sorting by year, I then sort by month. My mom frequently asks for photos from vacations and family portraits, so it helps if I know which month the photos had been taken in. If I went on vacation to Washington, DC in May, I would easily be able to find my photos.
I find it very hard to not take photos every single month. Thus, I usually have 12 monthly folders in each yearly folder.
When the monthly sorting is done…No, I don’t sort by date. I take all the photos in common and put them into folders with descriptive titles. For example, I would put all of my April flower photos in a “Flower” folder (or, to be more specific, “Redbud Flowers”). This was helpful when I wrote my Flowery Photography post. I found plenty of such photos easily.
As you can see, I have a folder titled “SORT.” Just like every other person, I don’t always have time to go through every photo. But when I have spare time, this can go to sorting. Also, you may notice that some photos don’t have a folder. This is okay if you don’t have enough of a common subject to create a dedicated folder. I haven’t taken many photos of my dog, Kip, so I’ll just set those aside until I either have enough photos to create a folder or May comes around. Then, I’ll switch over to downloading photos into the 2015 May folder.
A couple more tips that will make organizing your photos a snap:
Limit Your Photos. All the time, I hear “Back in the film days, we could only shoot as many photos as we had on the roll. With digital, that doesn’t matter anymore.” Well, yes, it does matter. If you shoot 500 photos a week (or a day!), then have to sort through all of those, you’ll probably be worn out. Unless you have to shoot special events (in which you may need to take 300+ photos), limit your photography. Between downloads, I usually limit myself to 250-300 photos. That way, I don’t spend a lot of time organizing when I could be shooting.
Delete Worthless Photos In-Camera. While some blurry photos are creative, I’ll bet a majority of camera-shaken photos are not. In portraits, it’s the closed eyes. In macro, it’s out-of-focus. These are the photos that should be deleted before you download them. If you wait, there is a bigger chance that you won’t delete them. Everybody procrastinates. Not a good thing. Don’t take up space on your SD card by keeping the blurry photos.
So there you have it! How do you organize your photos? Do you organize or not? I’d love to hear from you, so please comment below.