How to Organize and Manage Pictures | Part 4

Congrats! I hope you’re following along because you should be kinda-sorta starting to get a handle on all those pictures. So far we’ve

  • decided to start taking less pictures

  • started the good habit of culling a little every week from our camera rolls

  • found a way to order our camera prints directly from our phone

A good start, indeed!

Next up, let’s talk about getting the pictures off your SD cards and cameras and onto your computer. Again, if you are a shutter happy person and take lots and lots of pictures, you will need to do this more often than someone who doesn’t. I suggest once a month. You can take an hour where you’d normally read or watch a show and do this instead!

Tip #5 - Organize First

Over the years, I have tried different methods of organization and have settled on the following system. It works for me. You could do this on your hard drive, on Google Photos, or on another photo organizing system, but I like to use an external hard drive. This allows me to store a ton of pictures without taking up computer space (aka-slowing it down). I also use a back-up service that backs up my entire computer, should a failure/fire/flood/etc., occur. I honestly probably wouldn’t use this service if I didn’t a) love pictures so much and b) make some of my living taking other people’s pictures. It is worth it to me, but it might not be worth it to you. I am very interested in checking out Google Photos. It seems to meet the needs of storage, organization and back-up. Let me know if you use it.

Before I ever connect a camera or insert an SD card, I set up a system. I do this at the end of every year. I create a folder with the year - “2019”. Then in that folder, another folder for every month.

Screen Shot 2019-06-16 at 2.51.59 PM.png

After I do this, I am ready to start uploading my pictures.

Up until very recently, I just connected my camera to the computer with the cord that came with it, and used a program to import them. In the pre-photographer years, I used the Photos program that came on my computer. Now I use Lightroom. It doesn’t really matter what you use, just import them!

Let’s say you haven’t culled your images yet. Do that now.

Remember, I sometimes go through my pictures 3 times before I have all the toss pictures gone. Remember the phrase, “that’s a keeper” or “that’s a framer” or even “that’s a Kodak moment!”? Get rid of the junk. Keep the good stuff. I can’t stress this enough. Only you will be able to tell what is a keeper and what is not! When you have your keepers, you can edit if you choose to. I wouldn’t if I were bogged down.

Now we export!

Screen Shot 2019-06-16 at 3.03.46 PM.png

You’re going to export those keepers right to your organized system, placing them in the month they were shot. I realize you can create albums in these programs, and largely keep your photos in them without the export option. However, over the years, I have realized that it makes it kind of difficult to upload to different printing companies, etc. I also like the ability of going to my external hard drive and being able to quickly find something I knew I took at Christmas time in 2016, etc. In Lightroom, I set my file-naming to the following option: year, month, day, image number. This is another way that helps me find pictures if needed. If I want to find a picture from when Rocco turned 3, I could type in “201610…” and let the search look through those October, 2016 pictures for me until I find what I’m looking for. I used to rename everything very specifically and I didn’t find it any more helpful, it just took a lot of extra time. That’s what I do. You can choose to do something different!

Your external hard drive should now have some pictures ready to be sent off to the printer! At this point, I always delete my SD card so it’s completely blank. No need to keep thousands of photographs on your card when you have them organized at least once a month on the computer.

Screen Shot 2019-06-16 at 3.09.27 PM.png

Hopefully, you’re seeing how truly simple it is to manage this digital images! Get your system organized because next we are moving on to printing!