Learn How to Organize your Digital Pictures with Ease @beautyandbedlam

Since I’m traveling and didn’t upload my 15 minute Clutter Countdown projects before I left, I knew that refreshing the importance of digital clutter is equally as important, so let’s tackle our pictures.

While digital photography has revolutionized the ease with which I can take pictures, quality pictures, it has also given me so many digital pictures on my photo cards that I rarely print them out anymore.

I miss the good old days when I couldn’t wait to take my film to get developed. I would have so much fun shifting through the prints, putting them in albums and continually reminiscing.

I think one of the reasons I don’t take the time to print them out is because I am overwhelmed with the disorganization of them all.

At Christmas, I wanted to make one of those cute photo books, but I spent hours sorting through cards trying to find the right pictures for the album. What should have been a joy and walk down memory lane became a stumbling block due to my own digital disorganization.

I’m so glad that  Shena, a professional photographer and creator of all thing wonderful and crafty, is sharing her system of how to organize digital picture files with ease. I can’t wait to get this important aspect under control!

Take it away, Shena.

Being a photographer myself, one can only imagine the pictures I take and store on my computer.  So many are clients pictures, but I take even more of my own family.  For years, I just threw them on my laptop and it was always frustrating trying to remember when the pictures were taken or if I knew the date, I had a hard time finding it.

I decided to create my own system to organize my digital picture files.  I’ll take you step by step in the best way to organize your own picture files.

Now, take note – it will take you some time and effort in the beginning, but I promise it will be so worth it.  I can go back almost nine years and I can find them so easily.  Once your system is in place, those pictures will be at your fingertips when ever you need them.

If you use a PC you’ll be working in “EXPLORER”; using a MAC it will be “FINDER”

Every computer already has a basic Picture folder.  Find yours within your explorer/finder.  Once you are in your picture folder,  <right click> and create a <new folder>  This folder name will be the year.

You will make all your “year” folders here.  If you have multiple “year” folders to create, this is spot where you do it.   Your Picture folder should look like this or similar to this:  (I’m using a MAC, so if you are working with explorer, it will look slightly different)

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 2.10.47 PM

Once you have created your year folders, open one of them and make your month folders.

Simply do this by <right clicking> and adding <new folder> again.   Take note that there is a certain way you have to name the months folders so they stay organized by months.

Otherwise,  your computer automatically arranges them in alphabetical or numerical order first and you could have 1999 pictures next to 2014, so make sure you did not miss this step.  This way works best for me, however, if you find a way that works better; by all means- knock yourself out. 🙂

Below is a sample of how to name your months.  They only thing that ever changes is the year in the beginning of the file name.  For example:

January 2012 will look like this:       2012-1Jan or January

By putting the number “1” in front of January this will always list January at the top of your window.

February 2012 will look like this –    2012-2Feb or February

Again, by putting the number “2” in front of  February, this will make it fall underneath January.  You get the idea…..

Here is a sample screen shot of my months screen within my Year folder for 2012:

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 2.45.01 PM

Once you have your year and month folders established, now we will  begin moving the digital picture files around on your screen.

If you are unsure when a digital picture was taken, or when it was uploaded to your computer, you can <right click> and <get info>  the date of the file should appear.

This will help you be able to establish the date to know where to file your picture.  That’s only if you are unsure of the date of the picture.  It really helps if you can rename the file name as well, just like we did with the month. This time, we will add the camera picture number at the end.

Here is was what files look like within the month folder.

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 2.13.10 PM

Note:  you don’t have to keep the camera image number. You can manually change that. Especially if you upload from multiple cameras or phones, you can simply name them 1,2,3. This helps keep them in chronological order.  Maybe it’s just me, but it really helps to keep them in order from my posterity sake.  🙂

If you make year end videos with your pictures like I do for my family at Christmas, this makes it so fast and easy to build my video.  Everything is already in order and all I have to do is move them into my movie maker program, add some transitions, some music, minor fine tuning and it’s done.  Sa-Weet-ness!

Now sometimes I will put special occasion folders within my month folders and you can name them as such. Basically, you are creating more specific files by topics.  This keeps all my wedding pictures, baptism pictures, yearly family pictures together, while still letting me remember when they were taken. For instance, if you want all 2014 birthdays in one folder, name it such.

Again, it takes a little bit of time to create a new system initially, but I can guarantee it will be worth it in the long run. If you don’t have the time to organize past pictures, just start from here forward and you won’t believe the difference it will make. You will be able to find the exact pictures you need for future reference from here forward.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.

I’d love to hear how you organize your digital photos.

What works for you may just be the perfect solution for someone else. 🙂

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