One of the most common questions I receive has little to do with taking photographs. After photos are taken, they need to be imported from the camera to a computer or storage device. Many people wonder, how do I organize all of my photo files? My answer is that it is really a personal preference.
My own personal preference is to organize based on date taken and subject. The file structure on my hard drive looks a lot like a calendar. For example, I have a folder created for the year 2018. Within that folder, I have separate folders for the dates.
When I take a series of photos on my camera, the camera automatically timestamps and dates the photos in the metadata of the photo. During the import process, I simply create a new folder on my storage drive with the date and the subject of the photos. It looks like this 08_23_2018_subject. That way I know when I took the photos and what I should see when I open the files to edit them.
My tip is to be consistent with the organizing process. Once there is a structure that works, keep it. It is a lot easier to work within a structure that is consistent versus sporadic. I made the mistake of organizing with the subject then the date, and that portion of my files and folders is a little bit confusing to navigate. I may end up going back to restructure it to the date then subject format so it fits with that process and structure!
The headache that so many people face is that it takes time to organize files, especially in the instance of needing to go back to restructure the folders and files as mentioned above. Files can get lost in the transition, because the organizational structure is the key to finding where the files are.
Figure out what organizational structure works, then stick with it. This will help minimize the headaches in the long run. I can find a file by either searching based on the date or the subject. It is really nice to have both in the structure of organizing, because sometimes I don’t remember when I took a certain subject or vice versa.
My reply to people who ask me to help them organize their files is: I cannot do the actual organizing for them, because it is a personal choice. What works for me may not work for them. So, the tip is to figure out what organizational structure works. Then, stick with it. Happy file organizing!