Help! My Photos Are All Over the Place!

Peggy Farren 2016-11-03

Simple tips to help you organize your photos.

One of the biggest problems we have as photographers is keeping our photographs organized. Some of our pictures are on our computer, our smart phone and/or our tablet. Here is a simple guide to getting yourself organized. I said simple, not easy!

  1. Set up your system and start using it on future pictures.
    1. How do you look for your pictures? Is it by name, date, event? Identify and come up with a list of keywords so you can tag your photos as you upload them to your computer. For instance, you could tag words or short phrases such as: vacation June 2016, Naples, alligator, bird, Jane, grandchildren, family, etc.
    2. Use a folder system. My naming system for folders is: Event and date. So it would say Farren Christmas 2016 or Mt Dora Ladies Trip Feb 2017. I find it confusing if the date is first because I can never remember when I did something. However, I celebrate Christmas every year so I need the date right in the folder name.
    3. Decide on one photo organizing software. If you are a professional or serious amateur, Adobe Lightroom is the industry standard. If you are a hobbyist, check out Flickr, or use iPhoto or Windows Exporer.
    4. Learn your Photo Organizing Software. One you decide, go through some tutorials so you are using the software efficiently. Learn how to tag, how to upload, how to move photos from one place to another, how to search for photos, how to download or print.
  2. Take inventory.
    1. List all devices containing photos: cell phone, tablet, hard drives, computers.
    2. List all websites containing photos: Facebook, Photobucket, iCloud, Dropbox, Flickr – where ever you have photos!
    3. Do password retrieval for all of these devices and sites. Make a list.
  3. Migrate photos to a single location.
    1. It's much better to keep all your photos in one location, and a cloud storage site is probably the best bet as you can access it from any device. A few cloud storage sites are Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.
    2. Put together deadlines to migrate one device/site at a time to your chosen location.
  4. Backup.
    1. A detachable hard drive is a great place to store your images in the first place. It’s a great idea to keep all your images on one hard drive, then back that hard drive up to another hard drive.
    2. Another option is to burn DVDs for each event. I am not a fan of USB drives because it is too easy to copy over them and erase your pictures.
    3. The best backup is to print your pictures! Prints will last longer and you’ll enjoy your images so much more if they are in a book or on your wall.
  5. Accountability.
    1. Find a buddy who wants to do the same thing. It will take discipline to get this done. Let’s face it – we are all busy and this is not that much fun. Call each other each week for status reports. You are more likely to get this done this way.

Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. Migrating old pictures into one system will take time and effort. It will be worth it! Enter your email address below to receive our free worksheet to help you get organized.

~Peggy Farren is a professional photographer, instructor, speaker and the founder of Understand Photography Training Center. You can view her work or check out her classes here:

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Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, instructor, writer and speaker.

With over 17 years as a full-time professional photographer, Peggy offers photography training through her training center, “Understand Photography”.

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