Staying organised with your photo’s may seem like a chore, but there is something so satisfying about neat and logical folders and being able to refer to a specific file in an instant – it’s like a clean car, it just makes you feel like you are winning at life. And better still, it minimises the chances of losing anything along the way, which we all know is #worthit.
Here are a couple of hacks that I picked up along that way that will have you organising and storing your photo’s like a pro.
1. Have a naming system:
If you are investing the time to archive, do it properly. The more details you can flesh this out with, the quicker you are going to be able to refer to you images.
The best archiving advice that I’ve ever been given was to give individual photos unique file names, rather than the file names your camera produces. This means that your chance of duplicating, over-writing, or worse—deleting—is significantly reduced.
For example, I use the location, followed by the year, month and then a six digit serial number. This means that my image files look like this:
I then will save these under the 2016 > JULY > USA > NEW YORK folder on my computer. Now as long as I know the year of the photos I’m looking for, I can always find them in an instant.
This method makes sense to me, but it may not to you. So the main motto here is pick a system that works for you, and stick with it.
2. Invest in quality storage devices:
Memory cards and external solid state drives are the lifeblood of any photographer. Investing in good quality gear doesn’t just mean better performance, but it also means that they’re more likely to withstand the test of time. These devices are the photo albums of the modern photographer, so ensure that you go with a brand that has influence within the photography community. This means that the storage devices are tried and tested, and are likely to still be kicking in 20 years time when you want to look back on those holiday pics.
The drives are also compatible with PC & Mac computers, which is ideal if you’re trying to view or download your photos on different devices. SanDisk offers three year warranties with their Portable Solid State Drives.
The SanDisk Extreme PRO CompactFlash Memory Card comes with a one-year subscription of RescuePRO recovery software. RescuePRO software makes it easy to recover deleted photos or videos and save them to your computer’s hard drive even if the files were deleted months ago.
3. Make copies and store them in different places:
Make at least two copies of your selected photos. One on your computer and one backed-up on a storage device. My favourite storage option for this is the SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable Solid State Drive. The Portable SSD holds almost 2TB’s of data, yet it’s still tiny in size, which makes it perfect for travel photography. By storing my photos in different locations, I have the peace of mind that if something were to happen to my computer, I have multiple copies saved safely away. And on that note, computers are not secure storage devices, as they leave themselves wide open for failure. In a laptop’s case, theft or damage. Do yourself and your computer a favour and back-up your files.
Also, ensure that you check your backed-up images at least once a year to make sure you can read them. And create new media copies every five years, or when necessary, to avoid data loss.
4. Good software saves time:
Like converting raw image files, keywording, organising, viewing and cataloging – the solution is dependent the problem you’re trying to solve.
Personally, the only photography program I can’t bear to part with is PhotoMechanic which I use to ingest, tag and view my photos. Two other great programs worth trying are Adobe Bridge and Lightroom. Both help to organise, edit, and navigate through a photographer’s images. If you want to get serious with your image organisation, these programs are serious time savers and come highly recommended by the professional snappers worldwide.
5. Cull the masses to save storage space:
Not all shots are created equal. Therefore they all aren’t worth saving. In fact, for every thousand images you take, you’ll most likely find that after editing, only 10 to 20 are winners. Be mindful of this when you’re are sifting through your images. You can free up a lot of room on your storage device just by deleting the photographic debris.