Digital photography has done wonders. In addition to being able to zip photos of little Johnny’s first steps around the world in seconds and being able to safely store a large number of high-quality pictures in a small amount of space (CDs, etc.), we also have the problem of thousands of uncategorized pictures cluttering our computer hard drives.
So, what’s the most efficient way to deal with this plethora of picture? Why, it’s to organize them, of course! And I’m not talking about downloading them into the “Pictures” folder on your computer, although that is a start, of course. The first step is to make a folder (within the pictures folder) for each year of pictures you have stored on your hard drive. The next step is to make monthly folders within each of those yearly folders. Then, you can transfer your pictures into the correct yearly and monthly folders. Remember that digital cameras automatically provide date information, even if it’s not displayed on the actual photographs (you should be able to access this info. by hovering the mouse above each picture).
Within each monthly folder, you can add additional folders, if need be. For instance, I would probably put my Christmas pictures in a separate folder from my December birthday pictures.
Many computers allow you to add tags as you upload each set of pictures from your camera. In addition to the date, which is added automatically, I add a brief description of the event in order to help me locate pictures quickly.
This may be a job you could farm out to a tech-savvy teen or preteen, if it sounds too time consuming for you to do. It also doesn’t have to be done all at once; just do 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there, and before you know it, all of your pictures will be neatly categorized!
After you have all of your pictures put into the proper folders, it will be much easier to upload them to Facebook or Flickr or whatever and to decide which ones you want to print for your scrapbooks. Also, I suggest making a CD of all of your pictures by year for 2 reasons. 1) You’ve got a condensed, secure way to store your memories that can be put into a fire-proof box. 2) You can then delete previous years of pictures off of your hard drive to create more space since picture files are quite memory-intensive.
This system is easy to maintain once you have it going. At the beginning of each month, just create a new folder for pictures, upload your pictures immediately (not every six months!), and make sure you put the pictures in the right folder.
Those are my best tips for organizing your digital photographs. What are yours? Did I miss something vital?