As a photographer, organizing photos is essential to help keep track of images and have readily accessible photos. Because of digital photography, almost anyone can have a camera or phone with which to take numerous amounts of pictures. However, this usually results in a ton of unorganized photos scattered on your computer, making it often impossible to keep track of what photos you have and where you can find them. I have taken thousands and thousands of photos in my time in Virginia and North Carolina, and finding a system to organize my images has saved me a lot of time and energy. If your picture folder is a growing mess, it is important that you find a system to bring order to your photography.
1. Set camera date and time
Before you take any more photos, go into your camera settings and ensure that your camera is set to the correct time and date. This will help to automatically sort your photos by tagging each image with the time and date it was taken. If you are sorting your images chronologically, this is a very helpful way to keep your images in order.
2. Know where you are importing your photos
Create a folder on your computer where you will import all of your images from off your camera. Having this set place to know where your images are going helps to avoid images being scattered across different folders. I personally am a very disorganized person and I used to be very negligent of where I would import my images. Instead of importing into a universal folder, I had several different locations and unfortunately lost several photos on my computer before finally switching to a single picture folder. Whether you use the already existing "pictures" folder on your computer or a unique folder you create for yourself, always make sure you know exactly where your pictures are being imported.
3. Find a system to sort photos
If you take numerous photos, just having a universal “pictures” folder won’t be enough to keep photos organized. Once you have accumulated a collection of photos, you will want to sort them into individual sub-folders. I like to file my images chronologically by year, and then further refine my folders by month, and finally by day. If you take pictures for specific photo shoots, then organizing by name, title, topic, or event of the shoot is also a helpful organizational method. For instance, use the name of the person featured in the shoot if it is a portrait photo shoot or the name of the organization if you had a shoot for a specific company.
4. Backup your images
Computers can be unreliable as a sole place to store your images, so it is necessary to back up your photos in a different location. Usually the best and simplest way to do this is to store a copy on an external hard drive. Having these two locations is ideal in case something happens to one of your sources of storage. It is also advisable to store images on an online site such as Flickr, Dropbox, or Carbonite in case your computer or hard drive is damaged or stolen.
In summary, having a system to organize and sort through your images will save you many hours of time and help make your photography endeavors more effective. There is no one hard fast system that every photographer should follow, so customize these tips to whatever fits your method of photography organization. I hope these few tips are helpful in sorting through your images and developing a filing system!