Organizing Your Photos Part Two: What’s in YOUR WP Media File?

Featured Picture title

Try to Search Your WP Media Files!

As your Media Library fills up, you will either need to delete some of your photos, resize them, or start a new website, or purchase a more expensive WP plan. Every picture you’ve ever put in any of your posts is in your WordPress Media Library unless you manually delete them. Sometimes finding the photo to delete is not easy.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience

I’ve used this photo in more than one post, and even though I searched under Van Gogh, it didn’t show up. Find out why as you read.

If searching for a specific photo to delete or edit wasn’t successful, try switching to the Classic View in your Media Library. This is the view to use for editing, too.

Search by First Words of Post Title
Searching by post title did not work
If the post title doesn’t match the picture title, searching by post title will not locate your media file in a search of your media grid.

When I typed in SS for Sunday Stills into the Default View search box, I got everything from photos titled “Publishing Process” to “How to Overcome Messed Up Instructions.” In the Classic View, if your photo title begins with the initials of the challenge “ss-cobalt blue” then finding the photos is much easier

Search by date.

This search doesn’t work at all in the Default View of the Media Library. I tried searching for “2012” without quotes and got 108 pictures from every year between 2012 and now.

In the Classic View, there were 1,771 items. The first photos that appeared were the ones with 2012 in the title. Here is the first one that showed up, “20120811_043756000_ios.” That’s not my favorite title of all time, but it showed that the search for 2012 worked.

By the way, “20120811…” was a terrible photo and it was unattached. So I deleted it. Deleting photos have to be done with care. Other photos that I found, like the ones in this post, were labeled as detached. I corrected that and attached them to this post. I have 431 items that are unattached.

“Unattached files mean that the media file was uploaded directly to the media library, and not from within a post or page. If a media file was then added to a post or page after uploading to the media library, it is still considered Unattached.”

Media Library Unattached Media Files

After about seven pages of 20 photos on each page, I found some random media titles that showed up in the search. One example was “j0409425,” which was published in 2021. That glitch only continued for one page, then all the photos that showed up in the search were published in 2012 and had odd names like “Surprise 1.”

Using the Default View, I searched “2012,” and only 20 pictures appeared.

Search by Subject

I tried searching for history – bad idea – my blog address at the time I first wrote this post was tchistorygal.net, which is on EVERY MEDIA FILE! Note that the word history is buried, but WP still recognized it.

Media Grid form
Default View Media Grid where you choose pictures to insert into your post. All previous pictures for every post are in the media file.
Labeling Photos Before They Come to WordPress

In 2021 when I wrote this post, I labeled my photos in Photoshop Elements when I processed multiple photos. If you don’t have a name on your files when you load the picture into WordPress, you might have a picture called 20140403_230945000_iOS.jpg. This label becomes the title of the picture, or in some cases the alt-text unless you change it when you process the photo or change it manually in WordPress. Random numeric files are difficult to find in a search.

Adobe Lightroom works much better for adding keywords and changing the names of multiple files. You can also change the name in the file folders themselves on your computer. I have all my files organized by years and months, then named simple descriptions starting with the date like 2022 01 12 Butternut Squash.

After talking to Cee Neuner, I spend less time creating the labels in my computer files, but I still have a file for each month. It is more important to use Lightroom to label pictures with keywords.

Search by alt-text
Searching by alt text worked.

If you find commonalities in the alt-text or titles within the post, this will allow you to know the keyword to search. All the photo files in my post, Willis Tower Joke, had the alt-text of Chicago. Lucky me.

Searching by partial alt text worked.

If I think I might want to use the photo again, I can edit it in the post and update the alt-text, or I can go in and edit it in the Grid (probably easier, in the long run, to add in the description). The description box is missing in the Block edit on your post. You can only edit one photo at a time in the grid.

Alt text box location
Click on the photo. The location of the Alt-text box is on the right side of my screen. This might change depending on what theme you use in WordPress.
  • Add the post title in the Description box.
  • Add a date in the Description box.
  • Add the name of the building or exact location in the Description box.
  • Add other tags that are on the post in the Description box.
  • Add tags that are on the original photo in your file in the Description box.

Tidbits of Information

  • If you reblog a post, you have all the media files from that person’s post.
  • It is easier to edit in Classic View as well.
  • Correct your spelling errors as you find them. The search engine doesn’t allow for mistakes if you search by the correct spelling.

Should You Edit All Your Photo Files?

Lisa Coleman and I both agree that editing all your photo files would be onerous. If you have just organized your photo files on your computer, external hard drive, or online storage it might be easier to add a duplicate if you need that picture. Besides you might change it to make it more compelling by cropping or improving the coloring, or adding a filter.

However, if you can’t find your photos on your computer, these tips will help you find them in WordPress. Once you find them, you might want to take the time to make changes.

Upcoming

Frank at Beach Walk Reflections is hosting this week’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge. Be sure to link your post to his this week. We will both follow up with them.


69 responses to “Organizing Your Photos Part Two: What’s in YOUR WP Media File?”

  1. Terri Webster Schrandt Avatar

    Certainly an informative post, Marsha and Lisa! When you think of how important images are to a blog, it’s always a good time investment to handle your images with titles and alt text. As a dot com user I find it easy to search my media files and count on it for ease of access. Any image that is watermarked also is saved in my Dropbox files which is also easily searched. Thank you for taking the time to go through the tutorial!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Thanks, Terri. I’m honored that you took your time – which is so precious right now to read this post. It has made a huge difference in my searching ability and my time to create a photo challenge post – other than finding and checking factual information when needed.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. MichaelStephenWills Avatar

    Lightroom helps me by including titles and keywords in the image file metadata.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      That makes it sound very worthwhile. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Cindy Georgakas Avatar

    it’s such a great idea! It takes me forever finding pics for blogs and then I never do sometimes! 😜

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Thanks, Cindy. I have had that happen for sure. I found several lost photos during the writing of this post.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Cindy Georgakas Avatar

        sooo time consuming!!!!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Marsha Avatar

          Amen. I spent about two or three hours last night organizing 2018 photos in my computer. I’m still not done with that chore, and I’m addicted to it! 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Cindy Georgakas Avatar

            Whooo hoo! In the long run lots of time saved. good job!💖💖👏👏👏👏

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Marsha Avatar

            I just think I’m addicted, but I’m getting rid of trash, and locating some good material. I guess I love tedium! 🙂 LOL

            Liked by 2 people

          3. Cindy Georgakas Avatar

            Oh that’s too funny! I’m back to another loosing search for tomorrow I think. Tedium at its best…🤣🤣🤣

            Liked by 2 people

          4. Marsha Avatar

            I love to clean when something looks a little dirty when I start so I can see improvement. I guess I’m the same with organizing my photos. They were an enormous mess. Now they are about half labeled and I’ve been through enough of them now that I’m getting acquainted with the time frame again and some of the other labels I might have called the pictures. It’s still a hunt, but not as long! 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          5. Cindy Georgakas Avatar

            I think I’ll have to revisit your post on organizing them!!! Good for you for making strides! 💖

            Liked by 2 people

          6. Marsha Avatar

            We’ll have a contest to see who had the most messed up files! Or maybe an organization challenge each week. That actually might be fun. Totally different. I think you should have a fitness challenge each week. Or if you do, I need to know where it is!

            Liked by 2 people

          7. Cindy Georgakas Avatar

            olo.. that’s hysterical and such a good idea. I think that’s a great idea Marsha. I just don’t know that I have the time to pull it off by I love the idea. hmmmm you are making me think tho.. great idea! 💖

            Liked by 2 people

          8. Marsha Avatar

            I seem to be full of ideas today. 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          9. Cindy Georgakas Avatar

            🤣👏👏You sure do! Thats what makes you an original! 💖

            Liked by 2 people

          10. Marsha Avatar

            Thanks, Cindy. Happy Monday to you!

            Liked by 2 people

          11. Cindy Georgakas Avatar

            You too!! 💖💖

            Liked by 2 people

          12. Cindy Georgakas Avatar

            Thanks Marsha!
            Here we go… ready or not! 🤣

            Liked by 2 people

  4. photobyjohnbo Avatar

    Thank you for the tip. I will experiment.
    I’m a bit frustrated with the way WordPress.com handles the media files. Looking at the library from the dashboard shows the image files and the posts they are tied to, however, in more than one example, a photo that I know is being used is “unattached” in the media list. Do you have any comments about what might be going on here?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Thanks for the comment and the question, John. I saw that, too and attached several. If they are attached to a post, it might make it easier to find if you remember the post. I did not attach too many in case I wouldn’t be able to use them in a different file. That will take a bit more experimenting. I didn’t want to go into the difference between the grid and the list because the post seemed complicated enough as it was, and I didn’t feel confident about attaching files yet. 🙂 Very good question.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Susan Gutterman Avatar

    This was over my head, Marsha. I do put my posts into categories, so if I want to find my “Birds Weekly” posts, for example, I look in that category. Tags also work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Susan, thank you so much for your comment. You are much more organized than I am, I think. As with most of my blogging tip posts, I had a problem that I needed to solve. Hopefully the posts helps someone else, too. Nine years of blogging on three different blogs means I have a nightmare of a media file because I imported files from a deleted website. I do have a photographic memory for certain pictures, but not where I put them!!! LOL One picture I might want would be in Cee’s Oddball and another might have it’s own name, not a phot challenge at all. I even have photos in my media file that I never used! Like I said, I have nightmare files and over 1,100 published posts. 🙂 Just don’t tell anyone that I’m such an organizational mess. It will be our secret. I love all the help you have given us during this short series. 🙂 Wish you lived next door!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Susan Gutterman Avatar

        Your last sentence made me chuckle, Marsha! I wish we lived next door, too, just to be friends!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Marsha Avatar

          Yes to that. I know we’d be good ones. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  6. bushboy Avatar

    I am a .com and 98% of the time renamed my photos. When I use a phone photo when not at my computer I just bung them into a post and they are the ones that are hard to find as they are a series of numbers. I can search and find most things but yes a lot of images come up that are not what I want.
    I am deleting photos to make room as my media folder is almost full and I want to keep my blog name. I can’t justify the cost of upgrading to Business. Premium suits me. The downside is that some posts will have blank spots as I do use photos more than once depending on the photo challenge topic mostly.
    I have to work out an easy way to delete posts and photos without having to close the media folder to open the posts to find which ones had that photo. It’s going to be a bit of a big job but I do a bit now and then. I also found I have a few double ups so am deleting the older photo when I find them.
    A bit wordy but hope this helps explain what I do

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      You are in much the same shape I am, but the Premium still works for me. Business is a bit pricy. Lisa uses the business because she does her round up posts and has so many photo files each week. I don’t know a great way to eliminate media files that have names on them My phone files all have IOS as part of the name. Maybe that would help. Search in MEDIA for IOS (or whatever) then click on the ones you want to edit/delete. Hope that might work, Brian.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. bushboy Avatar

        I do a search, say tree, and delete doubles and older photos so photos are easy. It’s what post they were in to delete as well is the tricky bit Marsha

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Marsha Avatar

          It is tricky, Brian. I’m not ready to delete yet. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          1. bushboy Avatar

            I am at 92% full so time is almost up 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Marsha Avatar

            Yikes, Brian, and you have tons of pictures! : Good luck. I think I’d rather pay a little to up my storage than go through the effort of deleting so many photographs. I had that happen to me on my self-hosted blog. I tried deleting, and really accomplished so little, When I upped my limit, suddenly, the world opened up. A year later, though, it wasn’t worth it to me, and I deleted the site and went back to WordPress.com

            Liked by 2 people

          3. bushboy Avatar

            I do tend to take lots of photos and am addicted to photo challenges. I shall press on and see how much I can delete because I cannot justify the cost of upgrading.

            Liked by 2 people

          4. Marsha Avatar

            I hear you loud and clear, Bushboy! 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

  7. Emmanuel Enifu, Snr Avatar

    Eish..it was a bit hectic I must say, othou starting up a blog on WordPress has automatically made me a development and web designer so to say..haha, coming across wonderful post as this always makes my day. Thanks for sharing. Great grace
    @Emmanuel Enifu

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Thanks, Emmanuel. I know. I’m not great on the technical side, but I’ve learned a lot, and in my social circles, I’m an expert! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. -Eugenia Avatar

    This is an excellent post and so helpful! I use .com and keep photos that are special on my hard drive and an external hard drive. I have deleted photos from the media that no longer are attached to a post but it is a very tedious process. Wow, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Thanks for your lovely comment, Eugenia, Deleting IS a very tedious task. I wouldn’t take time to do that unless I needed the space. I spent about an hour last night labeling photos in recent posts. I was shocked at how many I hadn’t labeled. I thought I had. Maybe the alt texts disappear, I don’t know. Worry, worry!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. -Eugenia Avatar

        I haven’t needed space yet, but I am trying to think ahead! I am going to try labeling and see what happens. Thanks again for your informative post!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Marsha Avatar

          Thank you, Eugenia. If you don’t need the space, then spend your time having fun instead of deleting photos. 🙂 Labeling them is another matter. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  9. Lisa Coleman Avatar

    Reblogged this on Our Eyes Open and commented:
    Another great bit of info from Marsha on part II.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Thanks so much, Lisa! I learned a lot again through our conversation and playing with making changes. But on the up side, I found a ton of pictures I’d been looking for. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Lisa Coleman Avatar

        Makes my heart sing! Wild Thing! You done opened a can of worms and found photos inside it. LOL! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Marsha Avatar

          LOL, It was wild! 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  10. Lisa Coleman Avatar

    One thing we didn’t discuss is the alt-text is there for impaired folks. It is read aloud to blind users on a screen reader. It provides the content to go along with the written content. So to give an exact description is always best for you to search but for the reader who can’t see the photos. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      I thought the alt text was for the blind readers. I don’t know if the description is read aloud. The other thing I didn’t mention is to put the contents of a sign or other written material in the caption, which is also read to a visually impaired person. It would be so time-consuming for a visually impaired person to read blogs! Whew! Especially photo challenges.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Lisa Coleman Avatar

        I always put exactly what the photo is in the alt text on the single photos just for the purpose of blind readers. For those with the disability, they have electronic readers that can read that data of what the photo is and they can visualize it. It takes an extra 5-10 minutes but it is worth it to give that to them. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Marsha Avatar

          You are amazing. Your information is so fabulous. Like I said encyclopedic. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Lisa Coleman Avatar

            🙂 thanks Marsha!

            Liked by 2 people

  11. Retirement Reflections Avatar

    This is super helpful, and very timely for me. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Thanks, Donna. You are so kind. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Frank @ Beach Walk Reflections Avatar

    Super interesting and something I haven’t consider much. In the past, I rely on my memory to guide me to a past image – but that doesn’t always work. So – my main take-away from your research is to use the alt-text box. Question, in the Alt-Text box in the block editor, do you list the “topic” then Enter, then “topic 2”, then Enter? Does each topic then appear separately? Appears similar to the listing in the Tags box?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      First you use the title box and make sure that it matches at least the key words in the title of your post. Second, in the alt-text box, use key words . For example if your Title is birds that eat fish, and your picture is a duck, then write duck or fish eating duck. If you want to list other topics, like you are also on a Prescott Walk #5 where you see the ducky, the put that in the description along with the date, people who were with you, the name of the trail, etc. So, there are three boxes to fill out: title, alt-text and description.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ingrid Avatar

    Numerous times, I have toyed with moving to dot org. However, I feel I may be getting myself in over my head. I recently did a series of posts where I stepped back in time and I was able to find most of the images I was looking for. I must’ve done something right unbeknownst to me at the time.🤣 BTW, my brother and his wife are looking to move to Prescott in the next or two from Grand Junction, CO. I’m super excited!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Ingrid, that’s great! We love it here, even if it’s cold right now. Compared to Grand Junction, it’s a heat wave!!! How much snow do they have right now?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ingrid Avatar

        GJ and Prescott are very similar weather wise and I don’t think they have much more snow than you do. So from a weather point of view, Prescott won’t be much of a change. They moved to GJ from Temecula, CA 15 years ago and at that time it was a toss up between Prescott and GJ. 😏

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Marsha Avatar

          Now Prescott wins!! Yay!

          Liked by 2 people

  14. Marje @ Kyrosmagica Avatar

    This is a great idea and one I should use. Thanks for the tip Marsha. Always new things to learn with blogging. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Thanks for stopping by, Marje. In spite of writing about it, I still struggle to write in the boxes as I post. fortunately most of my pictures are labeled with the post name. Have a great week, my friend.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Marje @ Kyrosmagica Avatar

        Yes labelling pictures is a good idea. Lovely week to you too Marsha. ❤ x

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Marsha Avatar

          Hugs, Marje! 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  15. Hugh W. Roberts Avatar

    I learned a long time ago to fill in those boxes when I add photos and images to my WordPress media library. I can find what I am looking for very quickly in most cases, but I have images in the file from my early day of blogging that I did not add information on.

    I agree that if you can not find an image, then add a duplicate. However, if you’re on a free plan that does not allow a lot of free media space, you may have to upgrade and pay for more storage.

    I’m still deleting photos and images from my WordPress media library that I know are no longer linked to blog posts. I know there’s a chance I may reuse them one day, but I’ll create a new image or take a new photo if that happens. I enjoy creating new images on sites like Canva, so I don’t mind having to recreate them.
    I’m sure this post is going to very helpful for many who read it, Marsha.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Thank you, Hugh. You comment means a lot because you are an expert on all things blogging. I usually write when I’m struggling with something. Now I know HOW to find something if I need it, and I can edit as I go. I just woke up from editing and labeling my Willis Tower media. It puts me to sleep! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hugh W. Roberts Avatar

        I forgot to mention that I’m a WordPress.Com user, Marsha. I’ve never been tempted to go self-hosted. I’ve heard too many horror stories about it and like to know that I have the Happiness Engineers on standby if anything goes wrong. They’ve always been accommodating when I’ve needed them. Plus, I love the WordPress platform and the new Block editor.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Marsha Avatar

          I’m with you 100% Hugh. As an experimenter I gave .org a fair trial of 4 years. Not a happy time for me blogging. I also kept up this .com account but without much structure or attention to details like alt texts. I deleted my .org. account about 9 months ago, and I’ve never enjoyed blogging so much!

          Liked by 2 people

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