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need advice | how do you organize your photos?

I need help, friends!

I can’t figure out the best way to organize all of my photos on my computer!  I have files everywhere…

  • CR2
  • PSD
  • JPG

Do you save all of the photos you take? How do you tell which rejects you’ll trash?  Where do you put them all? Do you keep them all on your computer? Or do you transfer them onto your external HD?

The ones you do keep on your computer….how do you keep them organized? Did you buy Aperature?  Do you use iPhoto? Do you use Bridge? Do you have them in folders by year?

I’d love to know how YOU do it!  Or refer me to someone else who knows how! 🙂 HA!

Thanks in advance!

Meghan - With kids, I’ve found it very necessary to organize by year, I have a file for each year and within it each month. This way if I’m looking for a specific picture I can kind of remember what holiday or event it was by and go from there (it helps too that when my pictures download they automatically go in a folder with that day’s date. I pull them out of the folder and put them in the appropriate monthly folder). This also helps because I don’t have hard copies to write how old the kids were on it, but if I know it was taken XXXX year in XX month I can tell exactly how old they were. Also, every year for the grandparents we create a calendar and I try to put last year’s photo’s in the coming year’s so for example this December’s Christmas pictures will be on the December 2011 page. Just what works for me.

Kate - I use an external hard drive to save my photos. I, too, file my pictures by year, then in subfolders by month. I have naming conventions so that I can find my information. In these folders, I save my files as “originals” (RAW and/or JPG depending on how I took them). I keep them all, but that’s probably because I am a ninny. Editing down your photos makes more sense.

Because hard drives (internal or external) are fallible, I do a double backup. I put all of my pictures up on my family photosite using the same naming convention. That way, if my computer gets full, I offload to the hard drive. If that dies, I still have my photos. I have the goal of making the wonderful photobooks that everyone is talking about – but haven’t gotten that far yet. Life is just moving a SMIDGE faster than I can keep up with at the moment :)!…

sandi - i make a big folder with the year and then folders inside by the month. i don’t trash any photos. even if they’re blurry or off center or of random people i keep them. i want to remember all the odd faces or the multiple pictures of people’s butts since that’s my son’s eye level. i know one day all those strange photos are going to be laughed at and keepsakes.

Audra - Ack. I don’t organize photos. I need to, and then I need to back them all up!

Liz - For me, it depends on what it is. For my personal family stuff, I have a folder for each year, and then monthly sub-folders. I shoot everything in raw, but once I have a jpeg that I like, I usually trash the raw files to save room. I use Lightroom for my editing and raw to jpeg conversion, and Photoshop for my retouching, etc. For my business photos, I have a folder for each client (I can tell you more about my naming conventions if you are interested). I save all of the converted jpegs, but I usually only save the raw files of the pictures that they order. Take it from me … BACKUP!! I had an external hard-drive die on me, and it costs me A LOT of money to recover the data. Now, I save everything to an external drive, plus we have a drobo that holds backup #2, and I burn CDs or DVDs. We also use jungle disk for online backup. Overkill – yes, worth it – definitely!

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