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Most people want to just shoot pictures and ignore these crucial steps for organizing their collection of digital photos on their computers. Then they wonder why they are frustrated when looking for photos and trying to do fun projects with them!
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Simple steps for organizing your existing digital photo collection

Categories: Organize Pictures    Tags: ,   2 Comments

I have written recently about the best hardware setup for your photo storage devices. But what do you do if you have multiple external hard drives full of duplicate pictures and your internal hard drives are also completely unorganized? Well, I have created a simple procedure or checklist that you can go through if you want to organize all your photo storage devices and eliminate all your duplicate images. It’s a tedious job with a great feeling of satisfaction at the end. So, read on to get started and organize your digital photo storage.

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Create a “clean” area containing your new and organized digital photos

On the internal hard drive establish an area that would be the “clean” area. This means you create a folder…create it in My Pictures so it’s obvious and call it 00-ORGANIZED. This is where you start building your folders with pictures that have been organized.

Create the correct folder structure in the “clean” area.

Create the folder structure I suggest in my BIG book…so something like this:

  01-TRANSFER (this is for all new pictures from your camera)

Organize your “unorganized” digital photos

Start combing through the pictures on your internal hard drive first and get those squared away. Your goal here is to go folder by folder and rename them using this convention: year-month-day-place-short-description. You can get the date when a group of pictures was taken by displaying the “Date Picture Taken” field in Windows Explorer or the equivalent on Mac. This will be very very tedious.

I would not use Picasa for this tedious operation…I would use a fast software that works well with folders…something free like FastStone Image Viewer or XnView.

Move “organized” digital photo folders into the “clean” area

Then move it to the appropriate folder in the CLEAN section. You can fire up Picasa and use it to make sure you don’t have duplicates…even though the folder names in your CLEAN section will immediately give you a clue if you have duplicates.

At this point in Picasa you can add keywords to the newly organize folders…if you have the time. This will make it more tedious but can help in the long run.

Organize your pictures from the external hard drives

After finishing your internal hard drive…move to one of the external ones and start cleaning that up by identifying and moving picture folders to the new CLEAN section on your hard drive.

Make the “clean” area your only digital photo storage area

Now that you have cleaned up everything and gotten rid of your duplicates it’s time to get rid of the 00-ORGANIZED folder. So copy everything under 00-ORGANIZED under My Pictures and remove the 00-ORGANIZED folder.

Setup a backup schedule

Once you finish one external hard drive, use it to setup a backup strategy…which you’ll find in the last part of my book. You can use SyncBack to create a backup schedule that will backup your My Pictures folder.

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Updated: August 8, 2013  Categories: Organize Pictures
Tags: ,    Comments: 2 Comments
Read related articles:
Understand and manage your hardware devices
Transfer your pictures with Picasa in 3 simple steps
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Beverly September 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Do you have any tutorials on IPhoto Library Manager? Thank you in advance


Vlad September 10, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Beverly…great question! However I do not have a good answer…I do not have tutorials on iPhoto. Here is why:

I do not believe iPhoto is a good tool long term for managing your photos…primarily because you cannot get out of it if you want or need to. Please read my recent article on iPhoto.


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