Many times precision is achieved by approaching the target in small steps. This is true also when it comes to your photo collection. It would be great if we could have unlimited free time to add tags and geotags to all of our pictures. Unfortunately, this is not the case and many times we have to choose how precise we want to organize our pictures. So we approach precision in picture organization in layers…layers of organization.
Organize your pictures in layers
My image organization process is accomplished in three different layers (yeah…like the onion layer illustration from Shreck). Each layer adds more and more detailed metadata. The more metadata I add to my pictures the easier it will be for me to find them later.
I always perform the first layer and sometimes layers two and three, depending on what I am trying to achieve (Read Define an efficient workflow). Sometimes, I only perform the first layer, especially if the pictures are only pictures of my family and I’m in a hurry.
First layer: Organize your pictures using folders.
First I rename the folders according to an efficient naming convention (Read How you should name your folders). This way it’s easy for me to find my pictures at a later date. Then I place these folders in a precise folder structure (Read Organize your pictures in 5 steps). Now the folder structure is done. Many times I stop here…depending how tired I am. However, the next two steps add a lot more flexibility later in the workflow.
Second layer: Organize your pictures using tags.
Once I have created the right folders, I start assigning tags (or keywords) to the pictures I have just transferred. I make sure that I use software that can write these tags to the IPTC/XMP fields attached to each image file (Read Create precise keywords for your pictures). I have been using IrfanView to edit IPTC fields, but I have just found Geosetter which also can assign IPTC keywords…so, I’m using both for now.
Third Layer: Organize your pictures using Geotags.
This is closely related to the step above. I separate it because many times I don’t do this step if it doesn’t make sense. For most of the family pictures I don’t need to add geotags. (Read Methods for assigning geotags to your pictures).
Essentials for organizing your digital photosHere 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 and Picasa alternative. If you're looking for a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac (60% off until October 7, 2020) or ACDSee Pro for Windows is my preferred solution for organizing your media on your computer. It has a very fast browser, beautiful image editing capabilities and you don't work with catalogs at all.
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 excellent photo editing capabilities. Yes, Lightroom has a steeper learning curve as you have to learn to keep your catalogs in sync with your hard drive. But if do image editing, Adobe Lightroom is my favorite.
I recommend Backblaze Cloud Backup for affordable & reliable unlimited cloud backup. I have been using Backblaze for backing up all pictures & videos for more than 4 years now. All my invaluable digital memories are safe and secure.
In addition, make sure you have an inexpensive and reliable external hard drive for backing everything up. It is absolutely essential for backing up your media regularly.