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.