Updated: Apr 23, 2018
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It has been about 15 years since digital cameras started to make waves for the general public and since that opening era ... cameras are EVERYWHERE!! Your phone, quite possibly your watch and even your car has a camera. So I ask you just how are organizing the thousands of photos you take each year!
SET ASIDE TIME
If this is a task that you have been putting on the back burner, I do apologize but it will take some time to clean up, but trust me it will be well worth the effort. Once you have them organized and a system in place you will feel good that you can share your memories for years to come.
CHOOSE A SORTING METHOD
Having an efficient sorting system can make all the difference in this project and your ongoing system. It needs to be one that makes sense and easy to use. For this I recommend not getting too detailed in you grouping of images. I personally group by years then months. I like this method because most computers and phones already sort by date taken so it can easily be sorted out and put into the appropriate folder.
For example, I have my Wolf Family Photos as my main folder with sub-folders broken out into years and in each year there are months.
Wolf Family Photos > 2018 > 01_2018
I like to use the number of the month versus the name cause it stays in order that way and the underscore helps keep everything consistent cause I am a bit of a Type A.
NAMING INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS disclosure
I find it helpful to have image files named in accordance with the particular event or season. I am a Mac user so I break this process down in the blog post Renaming Your Photos Files or you can easily search "how to batch rename files" to find the instructions that best fit your current technology.
EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES
I highly recommend an external hard drive, and purchasing a new one each year. Since these amazing beasts are basically mini computers, they get slow when reaching their maximum capacity and are more likely to crash. Purchasing one each year also helps to keep the sorting style consistent. I use the Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable External Hard Drive which comes in a variety of storage sizes and even has one that can be used on Macs and PCs.
HOW MUCH STORAGE DO YOU NEED?
That really depends on how many pictures you take and the resolution size of your camera. For most a 2 TB (terabyte) will be sufficient for one year. I use a 4 TB each year but I hold 100s of professional photo galleries per year on mine. The bonus to using an external drive with the appropriate amount of storage is you shouldn't have to have any photos on your actual computer resulting in overall better running speed.
CLOUD STORAGE SERVICES
In addition to an external hard drive I highly recommend cloud storage for your photos. This way if something were to happen to your hardware or technology advances quickly you still have all your precious memories. If you are an Amazon Prime customer - guess what you get unlimited photo storage in addition to all the other great options and the app is for your phone is awesome! They even have prints and photo books which are totally yes to have created!
WANT MORE DETAIL
This was just a quick overview of how I choose to organize my files and keep my life moving a bit more smoothly. If you would like more detail, check out Photo Organizing Made Easy: Going from Overwhelmed to Overjoyed, by Cathi Nelson.
Now is the time to pick the most recent series you have been wanting to bing and get to it, you will not regret it!!