Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Organizing Photos

A couple weeks ago, someone sent me an email that I did not respond to. And now it's lost somehow?
(Sorry! Email me again!)
BUT. You asked how I organized my photos and I wanted to share, because I'm actually quite proud of how tidy all my pictures are. (Quite unlike my email folder, obviously.)

I used to use iPhoto to just organize everything, but I hated it because I felt like I could never find what I wanted or save pictures to different places. So as I started taking more photos and videos, (and as I started to edit them outside of iPhoto, with Photoshop or Lightroom), I learned to better organize.

At first, I felt quite proud that my photos were organized like this:

Left to right, in case you're not familiar with this set up: Folder, subfolders, pictures.

You can see, everything is kind of labeled, but mostly it's just CONFUSING. There are no dates. At all. Instead, things are labeled alphabetically, but often with arbitrary title names.
Things are sorted a bit, but most folders are a jumble. In the Africa folder (which is selected), I have several subfolders, but they're all still confusing. Some folders contain just small, web-versions of photos and I don't know where the full-sized ones are. Some folders are mislabeled, with pictures from Kenya in folders labeled Uganda, etc. Some folders are even empty!
I am so sad that I did such a poor job saving all my millions of pictures, because they don't do me any good! I can never find what I want when I want it.

Now, my external hard drive (where I save all my pictures) looks like this:

Yeah, it does. Boo-yah!
It is so extremely easy for me to find pictures. So, as you can see: I organize every thing by date.
Where I list the years, I also have a few collections of photos that transcend years, which I copy photos into, so they're saved in two places.
Pictures of Travis and the boys (my favorite), pictures of the boys together, and now! Pictures from this pregnancy.
When I want to print pictures for our home, I often click through those first - looking for sweet pictures of my favorite people.
The rest of the year is divided by month, date, and then labeled with subject matter.

Inside of individual folders, I'm also pretty fancy:

So, here's what I save and how I label it.
If there are only 10 pictures in a folder (like "Frosting Cookies," probably) then I don't really sort them. If there are 200 pictures in a folder, like "Family Pics" then I sort like crazy.
First, I move all my favorite pictures to a "Favorites" folder.
All the pictures that I post on my blog, I resize to about 600px x 800px. I save them as 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.
So the pictures at the top of folder (easy to find) are small-format versions of my favorite pictures.

All the pictures which are edited in their full-size, I add a 2 to the end of the file-name and save it. (If I edit two versions, eg: a color and a black and white, I add a 3 to the end, etc.)
Thus, the original and edited versions are all saved. Because of the way my computer is set-up, it saves all the file-names with an extra number at the bottom of the folder.

This creates almost another subfolder. You can see, in the photo above, starting at IMG_10692.jpg there is another group of photos. Those are all the pictures I liked enough to edit and save.

Hopefully this is neither confusing nor super boring!
It's so nice to have all these pictures saved so methodically. As my boys grow, I'm constantly surprised by looking back - even just a few months! Because I label things by subject and date, I can easily search for things.
Whether I want pictures of the boys on tractors or eating popsicles, I can scroll quickly through all my fall and summer posts or type in keywords that I probably used in the title. Rarely do my photos fall through the cracks. And it's especially nice this time of year as I compile my Photo-A-Day book for the year.
Even though I have a folder with the pictures I used for Photo a Day, sometimes I decide I want a different one in the book, and it's easy to scroll through April pictures and see when and what we did.

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Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
janette said...

Hooray! This is lovely, thank you! & I'll e-mail you again ;)

Marge Bjork said...

I really really need to do this.