Updated: October 22, 2018 | Contains affiliate links

Who’s organizing your pictures – You or Software?


There are two main approaches to organizing your pictures. The first one is done by you, the user, using the folders structure managed by your Operating System (OS). The second one is done by some piece of software that arranges your pictures automatically (i.e Picasa). This debate is quite old and I don’t understand why it keeps going. One reason is users who are afraid of their computers and they believe all the claims of software producers…”automatically sort your pictures”, “find your pictures immediately with one click” and other similar claims. Well, I’ll try to clarify the debate.

You organize your digital pictures

  • You look at your pictures and determine what category it goes into (i.e. Family, Friends, Church, Children…)
  • You create each folder and name it so that you will be able to identify it later.
  • You place the folders you create in the appropriate categories you have defined.
  • You control your own pictures.

Software organizes your digital pictures

  • Software needs some automatic information present in the picture. Most software packages use Date Picture Taken in order to automatically organize your pictures.
  • Some software packages give you the ability to customize the automatic organization of your pictures. However this ability is very limited…simply because you don’t decide how each automatic category is being created.
  • This approach works at first when you have just a few pictures but it becomes completely unmanageable in the long run (1 to 2 years).
  • You still have to go and create categories and tags to help the software to categorize your pictures, but those categories represent information that you don’t see in the folder structure on your hard disk…it is only kept in the software package. This means that if yo don’t use that software you can’t see the categories you have defined. This is really bad.

There’s no debate really

For me there is no debate…you have to organize your own pictures! There is no software in the world to read your mind so any automatic organization will not work for you in the long run and it will make you very frustrated. The only drawback is that you have to put some time and effort into naming your file folders. For an easy step-by-step method on how to organize your pictures read the following article:
Organize your digital photos in five easy steps.

Enroll in my Independent Course and start organizing your digital photos now.
6 video modules - over 30 videos containing step-by-step instructions for Windows or Mac programs like Lightroom, ACDSee, Picasa and Photos.
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Completely self-paced. Learn at your own pace and take as long as you want until you learn how to organize your photos. More info

Essentials for organizing your digital photos

Here are the essential products and services I have come to rely on for many years to keep my media collection organized and safe. Even though these are affiliate links, I wholeheartedly recommend them.

Excellent Lightroom alternative. If you need a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac (save 20% until Feb 15th) or ACDSee Photo Studio Professional for Windows (save $20 until Feb 15th) is my preferred solution for organizing all my media. It has a very fast browser, great image editing and it's simple to use.

If you do a lot of image editing like I do, I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has best photo editing capabilities even though it has a steeper learning curve. Adobe Lightroom is my favorite for image editing.

I recommend Backblaze Personal Cloud Backup for affordable & reliable unlimited cloud backup. I have been using Backblaze for backing up all pictures & videos for more than 5 years now. All my invaluable digital memories are safe and secure. This is the best solution especially if you have a large quantity of media files.

Use a reliable & affordable external hard drive for backing up everything on your computer. It is absolutely essential for keeping all your memories backed up and safe.

Start organizing now using detailed, step-by-step instructions and videos:
Personal Coaching (closed) Independent Course Private Lessons
Reference book Basics book


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