How Do YOU Organize Your Photos?

Hi Friends,

Do you struggle with organizing hundreds or thousands of digital photos? I do. Maybe you have some words of wisdom to share about how you organize them so you can find them when someone asks you for a specific photo.

What are your biggest issues: finding pictures of people for someone (an award, funeral…), finding pictures for a challenge, events, finding the unaltered, printable photos?

Tomorrow I have the privilege of interviewing Lisa Coleman about how a photographer of 20 years organizes her photos so that she can find them again. The post will appear next Thursday or Friday.

In preparation for and to be a part of the interview, if you have a question, tip, or link to one of your posts on this topic, please leave it in the comment box.

Looking for Your Words of Wisdom on These Posts!

How do you teach your children responsibility? How did your parents teach you? How do you deal with people who are not responsible?

Don’t forget to write a post for this week’s #WQWWC using your own quotes about RESPONSIBILITY. To participate in the challenge, it’s YOUR responsibility to find an appropriate quote to illustrate your point, write the post – any genre you want, and link back to my post. 🙂

Do you know what’s in the cabinet? What would you do if someone took your trophy and put it in their cabinet?

Did you read Geoff LePard’s short story, “The Trophy Cabinet” this month? It’s not too late to ask him a question or leave a comment. I can’t wait to read your comments!

Author: Marsha

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. For thirty-five years, I lived in the most beautiful area in Central Valley of California in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains minutes from the Sequoia National Park. As a child I moved from Indiana to Oregon. With my first husband I moved from Oregon to Colorado to California. Every time we moved, it hurt so much to leave friends. I never wanted to move again. After Mark passed, I married again. I told Vince that I could never budge from my roots in California. He said he loved the high desert. I don't think he ever thought he would realize his dream. 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.

76 thoughts on “How Do YOU Organize Your Photos?”

  1. An excellent topic, Marsha, that will resonate with many people. I take many photos each week, and I have a sort of plan when organizing these photos. I greatly appreciate any recommendations and first hand tips from Lisa Coleman. One potential question: Are two copies on separate hard drives placed in a home safe a good way to preserve photos? Should I be doing more?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t have much to offer on this as I struggle with it too. But, one thing that works for me is to only keep the best photos. If it’s not the best — or at least meaningful, interesting, or irreplaceable — I delete it. The fewer photos you have, the easier it should be to organize them and find them later.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Same here, Jason. If it isn’t good, then I delete it. Plus, once a month, I go through all the photos I have taken over the last 30 days and delete more that I know I’ll never use. Decluttering gives me such a good vibe.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I bet your house is clutterless, Hugh. I have to really work at making those kinds of decisions. Sometimes it takes 20 years or so to decided that I don’t really need something I’ve been saving in the garage. Photos are even worse. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Nice concept. My problem — until we moved I kept both the shoes I didn’t wear AND the shoe boxes!!! 🙂 I know – HOARDER! But trust me, I only bought as many as my closet would hold. I buy and wear only one pair of shoes about every eight months now that I’m retired. Fashion is out the window. Comfortable and safe are in. But back to photos. Space is another important factor, and labeling so you can find your pictures wherever they are.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. This project has inspired me to work on my photos. Vince said this morning, “What are you doing? It’s like you have been at this computer for 24 hours.” Yesterday was windy, so he’s not far off.

            Liked by 1 person

      1. I created categories (I think I ended up with seven total, but whatever works) that all of my pictures could be classified into (Travel, Family and Friends, Local Fun, etc.), then I have folders under those broad categories. For instance, in travel, I have a folder for the year and location. When all else fails, I have a “Miscellaneous” category for anything that can’t fit into one of the others. My system isn’t perfect (sometimes I have to search, but not very far), but it works for me. And, I think that’s the key: develop a system that works for you and the way your mind processes things.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. You are the one who inspired this post. You and I both need help. It was right after the fiasco with trying to find the garden pictures that I contacted this photographer/blogger. I’m looking forward to our interview tomorrow. Any specific questions, Sally?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I try to keep mine organised – training as a librarian many years ago helps a bit, as I understand how to create a hierarchy of files etc. But I as I organise them by where they were taken (continent, country, then year of travel) I still struggle to retrieve them when I only half remember them. Where did I take that photos of a striking red flower? Which market was I in when I saw that strange fruit? And so on. Too late I realise that I should have been tagging all my photos for easy retrieval but it’s too enormous a task to go back to now!

    One tip – I find the free software of Fast Stone Image Viewer very useful for sorting and labelling images, as you can drag them into order in a folder and then bulk rename with a numbering system that keeps them in your chosen order 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That is good advice, Sarah. I’ll check out the Fast Stone Image Viewer. You have the same problem I do. I can’t always remember when I took the picture I remember, or where. The ones I use for a post, I process through Photoshop using the multiple picture processor which resizes them for digital use and puts a signature on them, names the file and numbers the picture. But those are not good for other purposes because of their size. Do you tag some of your pictures?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I will investigate Fast Stone Image Viewer. I have a sort of system for filing in the Photos app, yet I would LOVE suggestions. I use the “Info” category often when I am hunting down a photo, since I know approx date/year/event and go from there. I often immediately categorize into A/B/C depending on how much I like a photo. I greatly appreciate your above suggestion.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Hmm, for as organized as I like to think I am, I could do better with my thousands of photos, especially when I need to dip into the archives when researching themes for my Sunday Stills challenge. I have a premium Dropbox account for which I pay $120 a year for 2 terabytes of memory. Every photo I take automatically lands in the camera uploads folder. As I prep photos those go into labeled folders. Since I’ve been shooting photos since 2006 with my first digital camera, I have 100s of folders. I tend to use photos taken since January 2017 when I got my Lumix so I really only have to dip back 4 years. But, I’ve been gifted with a ridiculous memory so I can find photos relatively easy once I remember the year and month. I wouldn’t recommend this practice to others, lol! Sometimes one photo triggers the memory of another so I can find it. Again, I need to do better before my memory eventually goes the way of the dinosaur 🦕 Great prompt Marsha!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You must have a gifted memory, Terri. Thanks for this great input. Does your camera take HEIS photos? My camera uploads go to my one drive which has 1TB of memory, but with my new phone the photos are unusable unless I load them manually. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

        1. They are interesting photos. They move like a micro second video. We have the new iPhones, and that is the default setting. They are also supposed to take up less space. I haven’t tried opening them in LightRoom. I downloaded the program for a trial, but I haven’t tried it yet!

          Liked by 2 people

  5. Mine are organized in Lightroom and I swear by this method. 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. Occasionally I export as “ choose folder later” if I want to move the photo somewhere else. When I want to search for a photo in an archived catalog in LR I switch to that catalog and then switch back to my current catalog when I’m done. I do need to be much better at culling photos that I will never use!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow, Susan, I’m impressed. Did you take a Lightroom class or watch the videos. I downloaded it but haven’t tried to use it yet. Also I’m going to have to learn more about tagging photos. Do you do that right in LR?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Marsha, I watched videos. I think the best instructor is Julianne Kost. Start with Lightroom CC: Organizing Your Photos. Yes, 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.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. So you keep all your photos stored in lightroom rather than in files on your computer. Do you get a ton of storage? It sounds like you do both. I’m trying to figure out how to create tags that stick with with photos. I process them, which labels all of the ones which have been formatted for WordPress, but the originals are not labeled.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Marsha, photos are actually never stored in LR. They live on a drive and LR stores all of the information about them in the catalog. Mine are stored on an external drive with large storage capacity, so I don’t use space on my computer. LR automatically creates the same folders on the drive that you’ve set up in LR. A very important rule is to only move photos in LR, not on your drive. If you move them on your drive LR won’t be able to find them. It sounds very complicated until you actually start using the software.

            Liked by 2 people

          3. You are right. I think Photoshop Elements has something that works similarly, and I spent about an hour trying to figure it out – to not much avail. I can’t say none, because I now know it exists and there are catalogs and they have the same names as my files. How they got there and how to make changes in them is an entirely different matter. More to learn. that’s what keeps me going! 🙂 Thanks Sue for all your help and suggestions. I spent the evening putting alt information into my photos from today on Word Press after I processed them through Photoshop. Thanks again!!!!!

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Keep trying with LR. My understanding is that PS is great for editing but doesn’t store in the same way. LR can do almost all that PS can and after watching a lot of videos, I find it more intuitive.

            Liked by 2 people

  6. And don’t forget to get rid of duplicate photos (or ones that look the same) by way of an app like the Rem Duplicate Photos Remover. Not only will you free up space on your computer (or, in my case, on my iCloud account), but you’ll have a lot fewer photos to sort through.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. They’re not in sync totally. My computer is not an Apple. The camera roll will still download automatically but the pictures are in HEIC form, and I can’t put those on Photoshop, WordPress, Canva, or anything.

          Liked by 2 people

        1. That is a lot of decision making. What is best? lighting? fuzziness, composition? Could cropping help, or enhancing the color? Might it be a good one to play around with in Photoshop? See my decision-making dilemma?

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m finding iPhotos really useful now, and have over 30,000 pictures on it. Those take on phone can easily be located by place or date. For RAW files straight from camera, I download into named folders on laptop or external hard-drive. When I’ve processed the “best” ones, these JPEGs go into named folders in iCloud or external drive.
    During past 12 months I’ve really enjoyed revisiting old files and processing images from trips from way back (yes, I have kept every single image from all trips to foreign parts! Thank goodness. )
    Also I have a Flickr Pro account, where I upload pictures, with various tags, once they’re done. This is often the simplest way to find a particular image. Some of these images are made public, some are not.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great suggestions. I follow the rules of directories and sub directories, year, theme, place. Have a Best category within some categories. Use iCloud on PC and phone and Camera. Major agro is Pictures app on PC. It doesn’t synch pictures I edit/delete on the phone.

    Liked by 1 person

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