Do you have lots of photos scattered across your hard drive (and possibly elsewhere) and want to pull them all together and organize them? As you may be starting to realize managing large numbers of photos is challenging, and it is important to be methodical about it.
If you want to start to manage lots of photos effectively, there are a few steps that you should take:
- Find all your photos and put them in the same location by going over the common folders they may be stored in (i.e. ‘My Documents, and ‘My Pictures’), searching for files with a JPG, RAW, or PNG extension, and transferring them from other devices such as your smartphone or digital camera.
- Identify where you want to store and back up your photos, for example, an external hard drive, USB drive, or cloud storage such as Google Drive or Dropbox. The storage and backup should be in different locations so that they are more secure.
- Consider the folder structure that you want to use to organize your photos, such as by year, location, theme, events, and so on. While personal preference plays a part in this, you should try to be practical, and sorting by year is generally easier.
- Start organizing the photos into folders based on your structure. Some of the organizing will have to be done manually, but if you’re sorting by the date you can use the EXIF data to make it easier.
- Rename photos if necessary so that they have more uniform file names. Ideally, you should choose a descriptive naming convention, for example, YYYY-MM-Location.jpg. That will make it easier to identify a photo based on its file name alone.
- Back up the photos once you’re done organizing them so that there is a copy of them elsewhere just in case. In most cases, this should be as straightforward as copying the photos over to the backup location that you’ve selected.
- Optimize your future workflow to avoid having photos pile up and making it more difficult to manage them. Ideally, every so often you’ll organize new photos into your existing folder structure – and back them up when you do.
As you can see while it is easier if you approach it methodically, managing large numbers of photos is still a lot of work. That is why it can help if you have dedicated photo organizer software that will make it easier by letting you more quickly sort photos based on date, geolocation tags, and other data. For example, if you want one that you can try you should look at Movavi Photo Manager.
In the long term managing your photos more effectively will make it easier for you to find locate any photos when you need them. On top of that, you’re less likely to ‘misplace’ photos or accidentally delete them. Simply put it is worth the effort – and you should get started sooner rather than later.