Digital photography has turned every mom and dad into a professional photographer. Well, not exactly professional as in having to live from our pictures, but a professional photographer because we all have to deal with a ton of pictures. You see, professional photographers, you know those people who have the coolest jobs and travel around the world for free, they live because of the pictures they take. They have been forced by their profession to organize and protect their pictures. They have to! Otherwise, they can’t find and refine their products and if they can’t do that…well they’re done as far as being professional photographers.
Ordinary people like us, meaning not professional photographers, do not have these kinds of pressures when it comes to our digital pictures. We don’t earn a living from our pictures so normally, we don’t feel compelled to take great care of our digital pictures collections, until…
Here is my story
I used to be pretty relaxed about my digital pictures until a few things started happening. I loved my first digital camera and I was taking pictures left and right. I had no particular worries as far as organizing my digital pictures or backing them up, until my first child was born. With that wonderful event, the quantity of pictures increased ten fold almost instantly. In addition, the pictures I was taking started to become a lot more valuable.
Slowly, as the number of pictures on my computer increased very quickly, my frustration level was increasing as well. My wife was in the same boat as well. We both started to have a hard time finding the pictures we were looking for and spending more and more time looking for pictures. Instead of enjoying the pictures we were taking, we were spending more time looking for them. We had too many pictures and we were not prepared for them.
That’s when we realized that we have to learn how to organize our pictures if we want to be free to enjoy them. But what do we do? Where do we start? How do we organize our pictures in order for us to be able to enjoy them anytime we want to?
After more than three years of developing and refining our method, we are able to successfully manage over 40,000 pictures currently (you can also download my book for a very clear picture of the entire process). The picture below summarizes the method we’re using for keeping our pictures and our sanity together.
Detailed diagram of the photography workflow I’m using
Efficient picture organization looks like a pyramid with multiple layers
At the top of the pyramid is your enjoyment of your pictures while the bottom layers are structures and processes you do on a regular basis to ensure that your enjoyment of the pictures stays firmly supported and balanced.
While the first two layers of the pyramid are pretty straight forward, the third layer is where most people run into trouble. The third layer (called Organize Pictures) is what holds the entire pyramid together. If you miss this one, then your enjoyment at the top will be very wobbly.
This is why I broke layer number three in three different steps. It is these three steps that OrganizePictures.com is about…for the most part at least. If you want to concentrate at some point in your photography workflow, this is where you should start.
- The first and most important layer of picture organization is an efficient folder structure. If you miss this one…well your pyramid will be wobbly.
- The second layer is your image tags or keywords.
- The third layer is geotags or adding geographic location to your pictures.
A picture is worth about 500 words
Well, that’s how long this article is…about 500 words. The diagram I have posted above summarizes the entire post very well I believe. This diagram will also help you navigate through OrganizePictures.com since I have created my categories to match the layers of this diagram. I hope you find it helpful for keeping things together…it certainly helps me.
Essentials for organizing your digital photosOver the years I have come to rely on only a few products for managing and backing up my large media collection. These are my essential products and services I have been using for many years to keep things organized and safe. Even though these are affiliate links, I wholeheartedly recommend them.
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. However, Adobe Lightroom makes most sense especially when you do lots of image editing.
If you don't like the subscription, you can get also download the last standalone Adobe Lightroom 6 for Mac or Windows (while it is still available). However, the product is no longer maintained by Adobe.
Excellent Lightroom and Picasa alternative. If you're looking for a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac 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.
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.
If you're looking for a reliable unlimited cloud backup service, I recommend Backblaze Cloud Backup. I have used Backblaze for my online backup for more than 3 years now. All my files are safe and secure and I have never had any problems with them.