Thanks to Contributors
From the bottom of my heart I want to thank those of you who contributed to this post.
Why Organize Your Photos?
Terri Webster Schrandt has a photographic memory and can remember when and where she took a picture. Most of us are not like that. I can remember a picture that would be perfect for a post but I can’t find it. I get a lot of requests from friends for pictures for projects or funerals, if I’ve been close to someone. I’m always shocked at how few pictures I can find and how long it takes me. Like Terri, I can remember the picture, but have no idea of time or where I took it.
Hugh Roberts organizes photos for his blog so that others can find them including SEO trolls. Janis creates files with broad categories, (Travel, Family and Friends, Local Fun) so she can find what she needs. Sarah was a librarian, so organization is part of her make-up. Carol and I are teachers, so we file photos to teach and share what we know.
But there are some more efficient ways to organize your mounds of photos than my simplistic file folders, but like cleaning the refrigerator, they take some time.
Introduction to Lisa Coleman
Lisa Coleman started blogging in 2019 but has been a photographer and graphic artist for twenty years and has accumulated up to 200,000 photos. We started talking about this topic several weeks ago, and decided it was worth a zoom meeting to explore the topic more.
Lisa has a lot of storage space spread out over 3 external drives, 2 laptops, a Mac, iPad, 6 iPhones, 10 memory sticks and 9 camera cards. She just purchased a 5 TB hard drive for storage. Like most of us, she organizes them by subject and date.
“I do a little every week. The main goal is to have ALL my photos organized on the new hard drive while keeping all the other cards and drives as an additional backup. Once you get organized, it wouldn’t hurt to put all this data on the cloud somewhere as a different backup. I have a 1 TB external drive that is my working drive like a server for my Etsy Shop and Blog photos.”Lisa Coleman
When Lisa started blogging, she was interested in birds.
“There used to be a Bird of the Day Challenge, but it disappeared, so I started the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge.”Lisa Coleman
If you forget, her challenge is listed on Cee’s For the Love of Challenges page. I want to explore her Challenge more in another interview. She credits Cee Neuner and Becky of Winchester for being so helpful to her as she got started.
Culling photos or more storage?
Several of you talked about culling photos.
Hugh said, “delete those photos you know you’ll never use.”
Jason said, “Hugh, decluttering photos is vastly underrated! It helps with productivity, creativity, and staying organized.”
I adore Hugh, but I panicked. How do I know now which photos I’ll never use? I am a hoarder and my being rebels when I have to throw something away, Tina Schell from the Lens Artists challenges us to repurpose our photos and turn forgotten to favorite. It’s amazing what you can do with ugly photos.
I asked Lisa how she decides what to delete.
“I delete the blurry ones. You can never use them. I take a lot of bursts with a variety of exposures. I pick three or four of the best of those and delete the rest. I also make copies of photos and keep them in different folders. The most important things is that you don’t delete the originals.”Lisa Coleman
In spite of myself I deleted so many pictures that Microsoft asked me if I had lost my mind. I pulled some of them back out and put them in a separate folder to make sure my mind was still in tact.
So instead of culling, Lisa actually adds photos. Other photographers were more interested in how and where to store and label photos for easier retrieval. Storage is relatively inexpensive. Terri gets Dropbox for $120 per year. Apple costs me $2.99 a month, One Drive comes with Microsoft, Google Photos is free if you have a gmail account. I have several for different purposes. Hard drives range in price depending on their storage capacity.
Erica/Erika asked, “Are two copies on separate hard drives placed in a home safe a good way to preserve photos?” Lisa nodded affirmatively
If you have taken pictures for years and have them stored in different places, the next question is how to label and file the photos.
Tagging or Folders?
The thinking behind what to name files differs from person to person and what they need.
Carol says, “As I download photos, I put them into named folders within folders for each year and place we visit. ”
Susan G says, “At the start of each year I set up a new catalog. Folders and sub folders in the catalog are named by subject. For example, I have a folder called “Nature Photos” and a sub-folder inside of it called “Flowers”. I also tag the photos within each folder so a flower might be tagged “red rose”. When I export my folders out of LR to an external hard drive I generally export them to “same folder as original folder” so the stay organized as set up in LR.”
Erica says, “ I know the approximate date/year/event and go from there. I often immediately categorize into A/B/C depending on how much I like a photo. A super basic A, B, C, helps me when I go back to the photos for more sorting.”
Anne says, “I follow the rules of directories and subdirectories, year, theme, place. Have a Best category within some categories. Use iCloud on PC and phone and Camera. Major Agro is a pictures app on PC. It doesn’t sync pictures. I edit/delete on the phone.”
Lisa and I have two or more sets of files of the same photos. I process for WordPress using Photoshop Elements 15, then store them in an Always Write folder under the name of the challenge. Unlike Lightroom, I can’t organize by tags in Photoshop Elements, but I can make the changes I want to make to the copy like cropping, adding a border, changing the brightness, adding a filter or changing the look completely. Then it is an easy step to process multiple files quickly and reduce the file size for the web, name the files, add my signature, and put them into a folder.
Until we talked about this all of my larger sized files, which I use to make puzzles or other gifts, are labeled IMG 9602 or something as difficult to find in my Camera Roll by month and year. Except the millions that I took out to make a mega file that I could sort easier. It turned out that I couldn’t sort them at all.
All of us used files, but only Hugh was big on adding tags. My question was how to do that without spending any more money. Lisa was going to try Susan’s idea and use LightRoom because she already paid for all the programs.
Lisa and I talked through all your comments and then spent a good part of an hour experimenting with the File Folders that come free with our computer.
How to Organize Photos using Microsoft Files
Together we opened a file. Lisa took me directly to “View+ in the menu. I always choose “Extra-large Icons” because my vision is blurry, and like Hugh, I’m a bit dyslectic. She took me instead to “Details.”
“You can look at the size of your photos here so you don’t delete your original picture when you are cleaning and organizing. Once you have the pictures sorted by detail, you can change back to “Extra-large Icons.” They will be in the same order as you sorted them.
After our conversation, I tried to figure out how to change a tag faster than one at tag at a time. I also discovered that you could rename your files with just a right click on the any of the selected photos to bring up “Rename” on the main menu. Once you renamed and pressed enter, all the selected photos emerged with the new file name and a number.
That was so cool, I tried it with tags. It was trickier, but remembering what Lisa said about “Details,” I selected a group of photos, right clicked to bring up the main menu then clicked on “Properties” which is at the bottom of my menu. A screen appears with a menu across the top. Click “Details” on the menu at the top of the box, and select tabs. Click and a box appears to fill in your tabs.
This is wonderful, but like Susan said about Light Room, “I tag my photos right in LR. Unfortunately the tags don’t follow when you export, so I have to tag again on my drive.”
This is not the only time you have to label your photo files. When you export photos to Photoshop Elements 15 (other Photoshop products are different) to be multi-processed, the title disappears but the tag stays. When you export them again to WordPress, the tag is gone again. We will talk more about adding the alt text and all the details in WordPress in another post.
Lisa and I talked about many photo-related topics during our Zoom conversation. We are going to do it again. It was so much fun. I didn’t get to ask her much about her Challenge. So that will be another post as well.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it helps you as much as it helped me. My photos have undergone some radical changes. It’s nice to get on the phone and talk to a real person when you have an issue.
What’s your issue with photography or blogging? There are tons of amazing bloggers out here. I love it when we put our heads together.
Would you be interested in having a copy of all the comments, questions in a Word Document? If so, I’ll polish it up over the next couple of weeks and have it available by download.