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Musings

Photo Organization - Digital Files

Posted by nrsmcmanus@gmail.com on April 27, 2015 at 3:20 PM

The coolest thing about digital cameras is the ability to take as many pictures as you wantTo some readers this might not be a big deal, but if you grew up PAYING for both film and developing - it is!  For many of us the camera was reserved for special occasions, and you kept ALL of your photos, be they blurry, off-center, bad lighting, poor composition, long forgotten scenery or duplicates.


Unfortunately this hoarder mentality makes it hard to delete anything.  I am so guilty of this.  It's especially hard to delete pictures of my child, even the ones of the back of her head!  Ideally, only keep the best and get rid of the rest.  You really don't need twenty shots taken within ten minutes of the same thing or any that didn't come out well, unless it's all you have - again, guilty (thanks church lighting).


Several thousand photos later, there's a problem.  They've taken over the computer.  After a little research, I organized all of my photos by year, then month, then event, and created a tidy library structure neatly contained in one file.  I even labeled the month folders with numerical prefixes like so: 01 - January, 02 - February, 03 - March... great job, right?


WRONG - I couldn't find anything!  When I went looking for Girl Scout camping pictures, I couldn't remember the year or the month.  Same problem with choir, ballet, school activities, movies, and everything else.  So, how to store digital photos easily and logically?


My new system still uses year, month and event but things are separated first.  I now have a folder for Girl Scouts, one for Ballet, School, Sports etc. etc.  If you have more than one child, I would recommend a main folder for each, but still keep a "By Year" folder for family.  Make sure to create main folders for Vacations, Holidays, and special events too.


Folders are broken down by year (or grade), then by month using a different labeling system.  The folder name is still numerical, but a little bit longer to give more information, for example: 201208_Aug_bowling lives in the 2012 folder.  With this system, the numbers automatically place the files in chronological order, the abbreviated month because it's easier to read, and a brief description tells me exactly what is in there without opening the file.  The year is there in case the folder ever gets moved "accidentally".


Having a file structure in place helps to find things, but pictures take up a lot of room, so make sure you have the additional storage needed.  Plus other methods of back up - just in case.


Sample photo I don't need but can't delete!  Note:  I cleaned it up for this post, but it's still not a good picture (shhh, I have many that are much worse).




 

Categories: Organization