Transferring digital photos seems like a very simple operation. Most photographers think that they just plug in their camera and then just transfer their pictures from their camera to their computer. However, they don’t know where the new photos are on their computer and they do not know how to find them. When they need to organize their digital pictures they are very confused and frustrated. Read on to find out a few simple steps to prepare and automate your transfer digital photos.
Prepare your computer for transfer
There are some preparation steps that are very important in order to transfer your digital photos efficiently. These preparation steps are to be performed only once. So this makes them easy but also very important.
A few preparation steps are necessary before transferring your photos from your camera to your computer
Establish your main media library
You need to identify one MAIN computer (device) that stores all your photos and videos. This is your gold copy, or master library.
Your MAIN computer needs lots of storage space. It may be a desktop or laptop computer with plenty of space for storage. It can also be a large external hard drive if you do not have room on a computer.
Then, you think about all your other devices as devices for taking or showing photos. This is more of a mental check as only you can enforce this division.
Create a transfer folder and supporting folders
Have all your digital photos store in ONLY ONE folder on your MAIN computer. You will create other folders inside, but all your digital photos on your MAIN computer must be stored inside ONLY ONE folder.
On Windows XP,7 and 10 use
My Pictures while on Mac and Windows 8 use
Pictures as you top-level folder.
Create a separate area for transferring new photos from all your devices.
My Pictures (Pictures on Mac) TRANSFER – folder for transferring all your new photos MAIN – folder as the final place where your cleaned up photos are stored EXPORT – area for various purposes (i.e. email, web publishing, printing). UNORGANIZED - place all your existing unorganized photos here
Automate your transfer process with your software
Depending on the software you are using, you can configure it to transfer all new photos into the TRANSFER folder automatically.
To accomplish this goal, configure your software using the following steps:
- Bring up your software settings panel.
- Find the settings for “transfer” or “download”
- Find the option where you can specify which folder to save your photos in. Enter the path to your TRANSFER folder.
- Make sure you check the option to create a sub-folder for each date.
You can accomplish this in Picasa, FastStone, Lightroom and Zoner. Unfortunately iPhoto, Photos and Image Capture on the Mac do not support this feature.
Resources for transferring your digital photos efficiently
- Picasa transfer settings
- FastStone Image Viewer transfer settings
- My video course and my books all include detailed steps on how to prepare for and automate your digital photo transfer process.
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.