How to Organize Your Digital Photos
If you’re like me, you may have taken tons and tons of digital photos with your trusty digital camera, but never took the time to organize them. It’s certainly not a good idea to have thousands of photos lying in your hard drive totally disorganized. For one thing, it’s going to be very tough to find a specific photo for viewing purposes.
So what can you do to put those photos into some semblance of order? Well, this article will show you how, so read on. We’ll assume Adobe Photoshop Album is used as the photo management program of choice.
Step 1: Get a Good Photo Management Program
Personally, I think a dedicated, commercial grade program is better since they is usually more user friendly and there are a host of extra features (e.g. the ability to catalog and backup your photos). Currently, my favorite program for organizing photos is Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0. You can also consider an alternative option, Ulead Photo Explorer 8.5, which is equally good.
Step 2: Bring your Photos into Photoshop Album
I guess it’s appropriate to introduce my folder structure for digital photos. I use a very simple folder hierarchy. In my computer’s C: drive, I have a folder called ‘Photos’. Under ‘Photos’, I have 3 subfolders.
* Raw photos
The ‘Raw photos’ directory stores all original versions of my pictures. This means they have been untouched by any image editing program. Assuming I had 50 photos in my collection, I’d name the photos here in running order using filenames like PIC0001.jpg, PIC0002.jpg, PIC0003.jpg … PIC0050.jpg.
The ‘Edited photos’ directory will contain only the edited versions of my images after perform edits like cropping, sharpening or red-eye removal. Following the above example, if I only edited PIC0001.jpg and PIC0003.jpg, then only these two files would appear in this folder.
The ‘Unsorted photos’ directory is sort of a temporary area I use to store any new pictures imported from the camera. After I import the pictures, they may have funny names like IMG001.jpg, IMG002.jpg, etc. What I usually do is to rename them according to my convention in the ‘Raw photos’ folder. In the above example, I would name the photos in the ‘Unsorted photos’ directory as PIC0051.jpg, PIC0052.jpg, PIC0053.jpg, etc.
Step 3: Tag your Photos
For example, if I had a tag called ‘Uncle Joe’ attached to 30 pictures in my hard drive (regardless of their filename, which folders they were in or when they were taken), all I need to do is to search for the tag ‘Uncle Joe; in Photoshop Album. The program will automatically locate and retrieve those 30 pictures for my viewing pleasure.
OK, back to Photoshop Album. If you have existing tags, you can attach them to your photos by dragging and dropping them on individual photos. You can tell that a photo has been tagged if there is a small icon shown in the photo’s thumbnail.
If you don’t have an existing tag, you can create a new one choosing the Tag > New Tag option from the menu. You’re allowed to specify the category of the tag (e.g. People, Places, Events) and can enter the actual tag keyword, along with a note for describing the tag.
Step 4: Move Your Photos to Appropriate Folders
Step 5: Edit Your Photos If Necessary
Step 6: Backup All Your Photos Regularly
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Hendricks runs a hobby site at www.basic-digital-photography.com. Read his tips on digital photography and learn to shoot better photos with your digicam.