Thanks to modern digital cameras and a nearly endless availability of disk space, our computers end up with a lot of photos saved on them. Very often these snapshots are archived and forgotten about while still taking up space on your hard drive. This quickly leads to you losing oversight of all of your photos. With a few simple tricks you can avoid this and you can save your photos from disappearing amongst the chaos. We’ll show you what measures you should take in order to organise and manage your photos in a sensible manner. If you put these tips to good use, you’ll be sure to bring order to the hurly-burly of your photo collection.
Less is more – sorting out unnecessary image files
Your holiday is over and there are countless photos on your camera just waiting to be downloaded to your computer. Thanks to modern advancements in photography and almost limitless storage space, many people tend to photograph the same motif multiple times from different positions and vantage points. Very quickly people end up with a collection of similar photos. But, is it really necessary to save all of them?
Our tip: look at all of your photos closely and decide which ones you really want to keep. Blurry, fuzzy, over-, and underexposed shots can be deleted right from the get-go. You can also immediately delete any photos that just don’t catch your fancy. Deliberate whether the photos might be able to serve a purpose at a later point in time. To go through your photos, you can use a free photo browser such as IrfanView or FastStone Image Viewer. These programs help you save time by showing you thumbnails of your photos with corresponding information and they also allow you to turn your photos around into their correct positions. If you do not wish to install any extra programs, you can also just use the built-in functions of the internal file browser on your computer.
Being organised makes life that much easier – a sensible folder system for your photos
After you’ve sorted through your photos, the next logical step is to save them on your computer. When downloading your photos, make sure to use a detailed file system. This will help both you and others looking at your photos to keep a general overview. Make sure to keep your job-related and personal photos separated. It is also a good idea to create a new folder for photos each year. Collections of photos from a specific event should be sorted into their own subfolder. Here, a combination of dates in year-month-day format and a short description of the photos provide a good title for the subfolder. For instance, for photos from your summer holiday in France in July 2015, you could name the folder something like “201507_Summerholiday-France.” Putting the date in year/month/day format will help keep your photos in chronological order.
If you need to edit your photos at a later point in time, it’s always best to use the raw image files. To keep organised, the raw image files should be kept in a separate folder with a similar folder structure.
Use names and tags for your photos
You’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s worth your time to rename every single photo. The fact is that this can turn out to be a lot of work when you have a heap of photos to go through. It might be more sensible to use tags. By attaching keywords to your photos, it makes it easy to order photos according to a certain theme. For example, you could tag photos from your holiday in France with the tags “summer holiday” and “France.” If you take photos of some sights, you could add the name of the monument as well as the name of the city where the photo was taken. Tags provide you the advantage of being able to save time by searching through your photo files by just using the corresponding keywords.
Managing your photos – pros and cons of using filing software
Many of the tips and tricks we’ve already mentioned above can be even simpler to implement by using the appropriate software for managing your photos. There are various programs available, either free or for purchase, that can help you. Several worth mentioning are Google’s Picasa, Photoshop Lightroom from Adobe, as well as ACDSee.
The advantage of using this kind of software is that it makes it much easier to keep an overview of your photos. Tagging your photos is made much easier and the integrated search filters provide you with countless ways of searching through your photos. Advanced viewing possibilities allow you to peruse your photos according to the date they were taken or to view them on a calendar. High-quality programmes like Photoshop Lightroom even offer built-in functions to edit your photos. This makes using other photo-editing software unnecessary.
Securely store your files – solutions for backing up your photos
Many beautiful memories are attached to our photos. This makes it that much more tragic should some of our photos be forever lost. Photos taken with your smartphone are especially at risk since smartphones can quickly become lost or damaged. In order to avoid losing precious photos, it’s important to think about backing them up. There are numerous ways to do this.
A simple way to backup your photos is to regularly burn them on a DVD and store them in a safe place. With a high number of photos and the constant need to add more photos to your collection, however, this can quickly become a pain and lead to an organisational nightmare. Something else to consider is the fact that fewer and fewer laptops are being manufactured with built-in disk drives, which can make viewing photos saved on a DVD that much more difficult to view in the future.
For these reasons it’s a better idea to backup your photos on an external hard drive which can be kept up to date concurrently with your computer’s files. Yet another possibility for securely backing up your photos is using a cloud. There are many providers that offer free or low-cost online storage space. If you use Picasa from Google, for instance, you can save an unlimited number of photos for free. This kind of method of data backup is one of the most secure and you also have the added benefit of being able to access your photos anywhere an Internet connection is available.
No matter what kind of method you use for backing up your photos, make sure to keep the backed up files up to date. It’s also a good idea to save multiple copies of your most important files. This will help further ensure you don’t lose important data.