Transferring your pictures from your camera to your computer is supposed to be a simple task. However, modern photo management software seems to overlook this very much needed function. Most photo management software provide one button that simply scans your camera or memory card and simply downloads the pictures to a folder you choose. Simple right? What else is there to worry about? Well, I believe that there are a few things that could make transferring your pictures a really simple task. Without these features you will find yourself repeating the same tasks over and over, instead of just using your software.
What can make transferring your pictures complicated?
Well, as far as I can tell there should only be three things that I need to do in order to download my pictures to my computer: Connect the camera, click the transfer button in my software and download my pictures to my computer. Simple right?
However, in my experience, I found that transferring pictures from my camera to my computer looks more like this:
- Connect the camera (or memory card) to my computer. Nothing more to say here.
- Create some folder on your computer where you want your pictures to be transferred to.
- Wait! But I have pictures from three different events on this camera. So, I need more than one folder…maybe one per event. Ok, so create more folders.
- Ok, I’m ready! Click the transfer button in my software and then…oh…wait! I need to select the pictures I want to go in the first folder, then the ones in the second folder.
- Finally transfer my files.
- Hmmm…what if I wanted to rename my images to include the date in the file name? Well, that’s a lot of work! Forget it!
So, this is more like six things instead of three.
What can make transferring your pictures complicated?
The thing that can make downloading pictures to your computer complicated is our desire to do some organization of our pictures, and not simply pile them into some folder.
This seems like a perfect task for some good photo management software. But surprise! There are only a few programs that manage this relatively well. If you want the software to be free as well, then your choice is really limited.
FastStone Image Viewer makes transferring your pictures really simple.
If you’ve been reading OrganizePictures.com for any length of time, you know I love FastStone Image Viewer because it’s simple, fast and free. In addition, Fast Stone Image Viewer provides a simple and efficient interface for transferring your pictures. I use it for transferring all my pictures. It is a one click operation!
Downloading pictures from camera to computer is a simple matter in FastStone Image Viewer.
Essentially there is some simple setup and then, just connect your camera and click. Once you set it up once, FastStone Image Viewer remembers your settings.
To setup downloading your pictures using FastStone Image Viewer do the following:
- Select your source. Once you connect your camera (or memory card) to your computer, FastStone Image Viewer will recognize it and you will see it in the Source drop down list.
- Choose your destination. In my case, I always download my pictures to
My Pictures/00-TRANSFER. This is my staging folder where I do some basic cleanup of my pictures before I move them to their final folder.
- Choose what folder structure you want FastStone Image Viewer to create. I tell it to create a subfolder for each day of pictures. (Read “Transfer your pictures in 6 easy steps”) I choose the Date option which creates a sub folder using
YYYY-MM-DD. Essentially I will end up with a structure like this:
My Pictures 00-TRANSFER 2011-03-12 2011-03-14
- Choose to rename the files and indicate what format to use. I use
$Y-$M-$D_$Fand I choose extension case to be lower case. This will rename an image file from something like
2011-03-14_IMG_7345.jpg. I do want to preserve the unique file name that the camera has created to ensure that my images will have unique names (Read “Is it a good idea to rename your images?”)
- Click the Download button.
- After the Download is complete you have the option to delete the pictures from the camera. I always do that. But I have a backup procedure that runs every night so I’m not losing any pictures. You might want to think about deleting your pictures.
That’s it! Now, every time I download my pictures, I only click the Download button because FastStone Image Viewer will remember all my settings. So it’s really simple and painless.
NOTE: I do not have any affiliation with FastStone Image Viewer or the company that produces it.
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Excellent Lightroom and Picasa alternative. If you're looking for a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac (save 35% until Jan 20, 2021) or ACDSee Pro for Windows (save 35% until Jan 20, 2021) 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 you 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.