Updated: October 16, 2018 | Contains affiliate links

Organize your hobby photos with two simple steps


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.
Organize your hobby photos with two simple steps 1
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
      1950s (add year folders if you have too many pictures)

If you like quilting, then your criterion might be “pattern”. I’m just guessing, so your folder structure may look like this:

My Pictures

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

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.

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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.

Essentials for organizing your digital photos

Here 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 alternative. If you need a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac (save 20% until Feb 15th) or ACDSee Photo Studio Professional for Windows (save $20 until Feb 15th) is my preferred solution for organizing all my media. It has a very fast browser, great image editing and it's simple to use.

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 best photo editing capabilities even though it has a steeper learning curve. Adobe Lightroom is my favorite for image editing.

I recommend Backblaze Personal Cloud Backup for affordable & reliable unlimited cloud backup. I have been using Backblaze for backing up all pictures & videos for more than 5 years now. All my invaluable digital memories are safe and secure. This is the best solution especially if you have a large quantity of media files.

Use a reliable & affordable external hard drive for backing up everything on your computer. It is absolutely essential for keeping all your memories backed up and safe.

Start organizing now using detailed, step-by-step instructions and videos:
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