How to organise your digital photos, like a Pro.
These are my Top 5 tips on how to organise your photos with the best photo filing system just like the pros.
One of the most common questions I am asked is "How do I organise my digital photo files?". And then... "Naida, will you do it for me?"
Well, I won't do it FOR you, but I will share with you some tips to help you sort and stay organised, so that you will never need anyone else to do it for you.
ONE: Archive the old!
OK so you're totally swamped with thousands of photo files, arbitrarily sorted by your phone's or computer's file management software. Start with a fresh slate, and archive your old stuff!
For a quick tidy-up solution, I recommend making a new folder or album called something like "Before_2018" and put everything in it. Then back it up it to another device.
Once you learn a filing system you can work with... and you have time... go back through your archive folders and sort them out. Pro's rely on archive folders to house the thousands of files that are not for current use, but definateely not for deleting.
TWO: Hit the delete button.
Regardless of the device you use, you should make a habit of deleting as you go. It's easy to do, you just need to be brave. When shooting we all tend to check our photos for correct settings etc. If you've seen something that's no good- delete it on the spot!
Sometimes, it's not possible to check and delete often. For example, if there is fast action or you are using burst mode. In this case delete at the end of the shoot or after you have downloaded them.
Pro's call this step part of a 'workflow' , which simply means the process they use every time they work with files.
THREE: Don't Delay! Put them Away!
You've had a great day and shot loads of photos. If you tell yourself you will sort them out later.... chances are, you won't!
If you brought home something new to add to a collection, you wouldn't leave it lying around on the floor would you? The same applies to your digital photo files. Put them in named folders or albums. Use a consistent naming convention for your filing system. Something with dates and names like "012018_Amy's_BBQ"
If you use a consistent naming convention, your computer will be able to quickly find your images when you search for them.
Pro's rely heavily on a consistent file naming system that is consistent across all backup devices and is easy to use when searching for folders. This is also an important part of their workflow.
Even if you only use a smartphone, you must backup your files to another device. You've heard the horror stories of phones or cameras being lost, stolen or seizing and losing all data. Don't be one of those sad people who have learned this lesson the hard way.
I recommend a double backup system. First to a cloud based server- iCloud, Dropbox or something similar. Second to an external hard drive.
If you've followed my other tips, your filing system will be the same on your device as well as your computer, so it wont matter where they are stored, the system will look the same.
Oh my goodness! A Pro will back up their files a hundred times a day if necessary.
FIVE: Sort your Archive Mess
I know it sounds like a task for the '...in-the-next-millenium...' section of your 'to-do' list, but if you take some time to sort through the archive mess, delete the duds, put them into correctly named folders or albums you will be amazed at the benefits.
Firstly, its always fun and a little inspiring to go back through your old photos. If not for nostalgic reasons, at least to see how your work has improved. I have found some of my old work has inspired me with new ideas for future ideas, so never underestimate the benefits of taking a walk down memory lane.
Secondly, at some point in the future, you might need some of those images that you took 4 years ago. Since you have them sorted into dated and named folders, you should be able to search and find them with very little difficulty.
Finally, you might be surprised at how awesome some of your old photos are, you just forgot about them because they were buried under the others. Imagine how you could repurpose those images to spark your imagination.
Organising your photo files like a pro is not difficult. Its about developing good habits and sticking with them.
- for a quick clean-up- archive it all.
- practise deleting as you shoot and when you download.
- use a practical folder naming system that you can stick with
- always back-up twice, use a cloud service as well as an external hardrive.
- find those hidden treasures by tidying up your archive mess
Do you need practical help to organise your files?