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

Hi friends,

Thanks to Lisa Coleman, hostess for Bird Weekly Challenge, photographer, and graphic artist, for spending about an hour with me researching to write this post, searching for files, editing and making adjustments to our WordPress Media Files.

Before we start, here’s my main question to you this week. Are you blogging on or I have done both for almost an equal number of years. My preference for ease of use is because I’m a technophobe. I’d rather concentrate of writing and photography – that’s hard enough. or

I wrote this article experimenting with the media files in Whether you chose to make changes to them or not, is up to you. The media files for work the same way, but the problem may not stem from the media file.

If you are a .org user, your best help will come from your hosting service. As Sarah found out, her problems stemmed from lack of storage.

I had that problem, and I had a speed of loading problem. Both Bluehost and SiteGround successfully helped me, but I spent way too much money and time with technology experts on the phone. SiteGround provided slightly more responsive, speedy, and knowledgeable service, but I needed their help far too often. has several levels of service that rival any of the hosts that me my needs and it was completely compatible with my WordPress site. I’m not trying to sell services here friends, just sharing some of my nine years of blogging experience.

Try to Search Your WP Media Files!

Every picture you’ve ever put in any of your posts is in your WordPress files unless you manually delete them.

Uh huh, searching wasn’t as successful as you thought it would be, was it? LOL

Search by First Words of Post Title

When I typed in SS for Sunday Stills. I got everything from “Publishing Process” to “How to Overcome Messed Up Instructions.” Do you see the pattern?

Search by date.

I tried 2012 without quotes and got 108 pictures from every year between 2012 and now.

I tried “2012,” and only 20 pictures appeared.

Guessing from the pattern in my last search, I concluded that if the media contained any date starting with 2 or 20 or 201, it would show up. But I have many more than 108 pictures in the last nine years. So I was at a loss and more than a little irritated.

Search by Subject

I tried searching for history – bad idea – my blog address is, which is on EVERY MEDIA FILE!

I read the WordPress help post about searching and editing the Media Library. I still had a lot of experimenting to learn how to find my files and fix them so I could find them again.

Media Grid form
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

I label my photos in Photoshop when I process multiple photos. If your don’t have a name on your files in your computer, 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 manually in WordPress. These files are super hard to find in a search.

Usually the name from my computer describes the picture, not the title of the post. If the title of your picture doesn’t include the title of the post, searching by post title WILL NOT WORK.

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.

You want a specific media file to put in a current post. Search for the post, NOT FOR MEDIA, by categories, tags and even specific words. You WILL find the post.

Now, you found the post which will help you find the media file, just not directly. Finding the post allows you to see the photo information such as the alt text and the description as well as the title.

If you know the alt-text, the title of the photo or the description, you can search the media file to reuse the picture. This can save you hours of work trying to find the original photo in your computer files, if they are not organized, or don’t go back far enough, or the file is stored in drive other than your computer.

Now you know the Alt Text. YAY!
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. However, you can only edit one photo at a time in the grid.

Alt text box location
Click on photo. The location of 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 my name or my brother’s name in the alt-text, title or 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.
  • When you edit more than one media file, click on it when you’re done so that you don’t have to keep scrolling through it for every file you edit.
  • 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.

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.

Lisa and I both agree, it’s best not to delete files, either.


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

69 replies »

  1. 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

    • 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. Thank you for the tip. I will experiment.
    I’m a bit frustrated with the way 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

    • 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ Very good question.

      Liked by 2 people

    • 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wish you lived next door!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 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

    • 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

    • 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

  6. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • 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

  7. 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

    • 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

  8. 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.๐Ÿคฃ 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

    • 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

      • 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. ๐Ÿ˜

        Liked by 2 people

  9. 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

    • 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      • 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

        • 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




Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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