What to do with Your Pictures, Part I

Many people ask me about how to organize pictures. And there are so, so many answers to that question, from print options to digital solutions. Let’s talk, first, about digital organization.

Just like you, I have a gazillion digital images. There are a couple of keys to organizing pictures digitally.

  1. Make sure all of your pictures are in one place. I have pictures from my DSLR, pictures from my phone camera and pictures that other people have sent me. The key is to keep them all in one place, in one organization system. If you have them in a million different spots, you’ll never find anything. Or, when you’re looking for all of the pictures from one event — a birthday party, for example — you’ll have to look in multiple different places.
  2. Be sure to pull your images together regularly. Commit to downloading your pictures into your organization system once per quarter or twice per year. The longer it goes, the harder it is and the more likely it is that you’ll stop doing it.
  3. CULL YOUR PICTURES. We’re in an age of digital photography when it’s so easy to take 1,000,000 pictures in a few seconds. It’s a great approach to make sure that you get a great picture. But it’s terrible when you’re looking back on your pictures (and it eats all of your storage space). So cull them. Look through them and delete the ones that aren’t good. And then delete a few more. You don’t need all of them. And…. when you only have great pictures you’ll love looking through them even more.
  4. Make your organization system work for you. It has taken me years to perfect the system that works for me. But I’ve now got it down. My system is simple — all of my pictures are organized by event, which is listed by date. Here’s what it looks like:


You’ll note a few things here:

  1. All of the dates are listed as year, month date. That makes them the easiest to sort because this is how your computer thinks.
  2. I have very specific event folders — a birthday or a vacation — but I also have general folders — winter, for example. I take lots of “random” pictures and have no category for them that makes sense other than a general “winter” or “spring” kind of general bucket
  3. When there are special images that I don’t want to get lost, I give them their own folder, even if there’s only one or two pictures. I don’t want to have to search through a general folder to find it later on. For example, I have one incredible picture of my kids with my grandfather. It was taken on a random day when we were with him, so it could be in one of my general folders. But I don’t want to lose it, so it has it’s own folder, with just one picture in it.
  4. You can’t see this here, but in each of my children’s first years of life, I have folders for each month. Something like “2014-2-4 three months old”. There are SO many random pictures at those ages — and I want to be sure to know how old the child is in each — that I create an individual monthly folder for each month.

Again, your system has to work for you. But I have found this one may be a good place to start!

As always, Pollack Photography is focused on you.

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