Taking photos is easy. But organizing digital photos is a different story.
We live in a world where more people than ever have a smartphone. Photographing the world around us has become a way of life. Most of us have hundreds, if not thousands, of photos stored on our phones or computers or both.
As a photographer, I’d like to share five easy steps for organizing digital photos. Once that’s done, it will be quicker and easier to find your photos and share them with others.
1. Delete, delete, delete
Do you really need to save every photo you take? No. The first step for organizing digital photos is to delete the ones that you can live without. This includes photos that have already served their purpose. Example: photos of restaurant meals that you took to post on Facebook.
If you find more than one version of the same picture in your mobile device, choose the best one and delete the others. Having fewer photos will make it easier to organize the photos that you want to keep.
2. Create sub-folders
Having sub-folders for different photos is quite useful, but what is the best way to do it?
One way is to create a folder for each year, so you can search your photos faster by dates. Then you can create a sub-folder for each month of that year and put all the images that you took in that month into a corresponding folder.
Another option is to create folders for different occasions. Having different folders such as Friends, Family, Selfies, Vacations, etc. can be useful. This method will also allow you to search for a specific photo even quicker as you will remember in what folder each photo is located.
3. Back up your photos
You’ll want to have a copy of all your photos in a safe place – and that’s not on your phone. If you accidentally break or lose your phone, you can say goodbye to your precious memories. Plus, if your photos are backed up, you can delete them from your phone so you have plenty of storage space available to take more.
My preferred method of backing up photos is to transfer them to a safe place such as a USB drive. Then use that USB drive only for your photos. Don’t loan it to a friend or record anything else but photos on it. Transfer photos regularly – I recommend once a month.
Moving your files to a cloud server is becoming more popular these days, and this is also a great option to consider. Servers like Google Photos and Amazon Prime are not only free, but also considered by many to be the safest.
If you decide to go for a cloud server option, be sure to save your username and password by using a secure password saver or writing it down. It’s almost impossible to log in without it unless you chose alternative methods of resetting your password.
4. Rename your photos
Let’s admit that we don’t have time to name all our photos as it will take too long. But renaming photos is useful since it will help you to find a specific image easier and faster.
What you want to do is create a standard naming system for your photos. For example: Let’s say you went on a trip to the Grand Canyon on the 15th of December 2016 and took a photo of your friend named Jack. And let’s assume that your photo is in the sub-folder “December” of a central “2016” folder.
Name the photo something like “15 My friend jack in Grand Canyon.” The number 15 will tell you on which date the photo has been taken and the rest of the name will clearly describe what the photo is about.
This might seem like a tedious method, and to be honest with you, it is. But spending a few hours of your time renaming all your old photos is worth it as you will have all your photos organized.
Even if you choose not go back and rename older photos, if you start doing it now, all of your photos from today forward will be better organized.
5. Select your favorites
The last method for organizing digital photos you took with your camera is to create a separate album that will include only your favorite photos. Go through all of them and copy the images that mean the most to you. Then place them in a folder named “Favorites.”
This folder should contain only one or two photos of each trip or your favorite moments from special events. By creating a folder with only your favorite photos, you are allowing yourself an easy way to re-live the best moments of your life and share them with your friends and family.
John Bennet is a professional photographer with a great knowledge of and passion for camera lenses. He’s also the co-founder of Lensespro.org, a website that helps photographers find and choose the best lenses.