Many of us have hobbies that bring pleasure and satisfaction to our lives. Whether is gardening, classic cars, sports or quilting, hobbies take our time and effort but give us lots of satisfaction. Because we are very involved in our hobbies, we love taking pictures for our hobbies. We collect digital photos from everywhere, and we take many photos ourselves. You might have thousands of digital photos about your hobby, but how do you organize your hobby photos? How do you keep all these photos organized and separate from your other photos? Read on to find out how to organize your hobby photos.
Step 1: Pick a simple criterion for your hobby photo folders
You always have to start with folders because they will help you find your pictures visually. However, before creating new folders to organize your hobby photos, you must think about the one criterion that distinguishes your photos. Folders are one dimensional, so you can only use one criterion in order to have a simple folder structure.
Whether it is basket weaving or wedding photography, you need to find ways to differentiate your hobby photos.
Annecy, France (See larger photo on my travel blog)
What distinguishes uniquely between your photos? The answer is many things but you have to pick the one distinguishing characteristic that you use the most in your head.
If you are a wedding photographer then you would split your photos by customer, if a travel photographer then maybe by country.
Think about the criterion you will use for searching for your hobby photos. Since folders are one-dimensional, you must think only about one criterion to divide your photos by. One criterion that would make you place one photo in only one folder and not in multiple folders.
You can always add image tags to add more dimensions to your organization, but when you need to start creating basic folders, think about one criterion, one differentiator.
Let’s look at some examples of organizing various hobby photos
If your hobby is classic cars for example, your criterion might be “manufacturer”. In that case your folders would look something like this:
My Pictures TRANSFER FAMILY CLASSIC-CARS CHEVROLET 1950s (add year folders if you have too many pictures) 1960s FORD
If you like quilting, then your criterion might be “pattern”. I’m just guessing, so your folder structure may look like this:
My Pictures TRANSFER FAMILY QUILTING polka-dots squares
How about one last example? Let’s say you love gardening and you are collecting photos of flowers and also photos of garden landscaping. Your criterion for flowers can be “color” while the landscaping criterion would be “mood”. So you can create something like this:
My Pictures TRANSFER FAMILY GARDENING FLOWERS red purple LANDSCAPES simple quiet paths
Step 2: Add efficient image tags for your hobby photos
Once you found one criterion for organizing your hobby photos, you must think about categories of image tags.
Tags, add more dimensions to your organization structure. Let’s say that you like flowers, and you decide that you break up your folders by “color”. So your folders are “red”, “purple” and “yellow”, let’s say.
But you also want to be able to find flowers based on their size. So you need to add tags like “small” and “large”. Size then becomes your tag category.
How about looking for flowers that are “perennial” or “seasonal” ? In that case you need another tag category for seasons.
When choosing image tags, think in terms of categories of tags which will help you be consistent in the long term.
Beware of messy image tag categories
Image tag categories sound really nice…in theory. However, in practice, very few software programs implement them. You will probably ask me why? The problem is that there is no standard for adding image categories to your image metadata. IPTC and XMP standards do not have a consistent way of adding categories of keywords. So, software manufacturers create their own as it is the case with Adobe Lightroom.
In addition, most software programs for organizing digital photos don’t even bother with giving you a way to create categories of tags.
So what do you do then?
The simplest answer is to create a list…a very short list of keyword categories that you keep in your mind as you add tags to your hobby photos. Or, you just forget about categories and start adding tags…hopefully you can be consistent.
My conclusion about organizing hobby photos
Organizing hobby photos is not different than organizing your family photos. The challenge with your hobby photos is to be able to come up with a criterion for creating your folder structure. For family photos, it’s simple, you use events and date together with place and short description takes care of 90% of the situation.
You essentially need two steps for organizing your hobby photos: folders and tags. The third step, adding geo-tags, may or may not be useful to you.
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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 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.
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