Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Organizing photos

I have lost track of how many pictures that I have over the past few months, let along the 10 years since I've been shooting digital.  Don't even get me started on the negatives and prints that I want to scan.  On the plus side, I did get about 1500 prints scanned last fall when Black's Photography had a shoebox scanning sale.  Which reminds me that I still have to get all those pictures into my hard drive and organize them because they were just scanned in random order and copied to CD.  It was a hugh step forward to get that done and I'm very glad that I didn't have to do them all myself.  But all those pictures are just identified by number so I need to integrate them into collections.  All the more reason to revamp my system.

I thought that I had an effective filing system but it is in serious need of review and refinement.  Every time that I go to do a layout or gift project, I'm spending way to much time trying to find a certain picture that I have in mind or something that works for a project idea.  One of my goals for the remainder of the year is to finish 3 story books [albums] and that means I need to streamline my search time looking for photos.

I've got a new EHD ready to go for just pics and I'll continue to burn DVD backups because I know that I would be devastated to lose blocks of pictures. Not that it has ever happened to me of course, but I know people that had the experience (right, and if you believe that...).  I definitely envy the Mac users when it comes to these types of projects but there are lots of things that anyone can do to improve the process.

Photo organizing tips and ideas

  • Plan a file naming structure that will make it easy to find images.  For example, filing only by date didn't work too well for me because I very rarely look for pictures on the basis of date.   Consider a date AND a name in a consistent format that works.
  • Label all new pictures when uploaded from the camera.  Empty your camera card at least biweekly, depending on the volume of pictures that you take.
  • Avoid major edits when first uploading.  Do that on separate editing session.
  • Add keywords / tags to each of the pictures so they can be searched in different ways.  Do not copy the same picture into multiple files.  
  • Batch changes - rename groups of files rather than one at a time.
  • Discard duplicates and near duplicates.  Pick the best example of a series of similar images and discard the rest.
  • Save pictures that tell different parts of a story - be sure that there are wide views, close-ups and pictures to provide context BUT don't forget the previous tip.
  • Avoid unfiled or miscellaneous photos to help minimize numbers of images ignored or forgotten. 
  • Tackle a big organizing project in small bits.  For example, work for a defined period of time or number of images sorted.  Set a timer and move on when target is reached.  If you open a file looking for a picture, label all the pictures in the file.
  • Do new photos first and work back to the older pictures. 
That is probably enough to get me started.  I'm setting a deadline of end of the month to file all 2012 pics up to end of September.   Wish me luck. Getting started is the hard bit but Lewis Carroll offers a plan.

“Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely [to the White Rabbit], "and go on till you come to the end  then stop.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

What strategies do you use to organize your digital photo collection?   Please share in the comment section.

Keep keeping the stories.  See you next time.

Mary Elizabeth

No comments:

Post a Comment