Updated: May 26, 2020 | Contains affiliate links

Prepare and Automate Your Digital Photo Transfer Process


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.

1. 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
Prepare and Automate Your Digital Photo Transfer Process 1

2. 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.

3. 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.

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Create a separate area for transferring new photos from all your devices.

My Pictures (Pictures on Mac)
  00-TRANSFER – folder for transferring all your new photos

4. Create Supporting Folders

In addition to the specific TRANSFER folder, you also need to create a few supporting folders that match your photo collection. For example, in my case, I only have a few supporting folders as I like to keep things simple.

My Pictures (Pictures on Mac)
  00-TRANSFER – folder for transferring all your new photos
  01-FAMILY - main storage for all my original pictures
  02-EXPORT - for edited photos created for specific purposes

5. 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:

  1. Bring up your software settings panel.
  2. Find the settings for “transfer” or “download”
  3. Find the option where you can specify which folder to save your photos in. Enter the path to your TRANSFER folder.
  4. Make sure you check the option to create a sub-folder for each date.

You can accomplish this in FastStone, Lightroom, ACDSee as well as Picasa (if you still use it). Unfortunately iPhoto, Photos and Image Capture on the Mac do not support this feature.

Preparing Goes a Long Way

Doing a few preparation steps will go a long way towards being able to automate the process for transferring photos from your camera (phone and stand-alone) to your computer. Knowing where your photos go will help you be at ease with your organization method.

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 or ACDSee Photo Studio Professional for Windows 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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