Being a photographer, people often ask me how I organize and back up my photos. I never thought much of my photo organizing until I found myself being asked over and over again and realized that maybe not everyone has a system that works for them already. So since I’m asked frequently, I thought I’d do a post complete with photos that I can direct people to. I know this may not be everyone’s jam so feel free to skip to the end where I talk about backing up photos. 🙂
Organizing My Photos:
So when you open “My Pictures” on my laptop this is what you see. I have all of my photos broken up by year (and yes, I have a ton of old family photos on my computer from before I was born thanks to being the unofficial keeper of the family photos). And then I have a separate folder for Christopher’s family photos (including ones of his parents growing up and extended family because once again – I have become the keeper of family photos, haha!). I have a separate folder for my photography business and a separate folder for anything else that just doesn’t have a specific place (for example, the “Other” folder includes photos of recipes I’ve made, gifts I’m working on, and my all time favorite: the folder entitled “photos that make me laugh” which include tons of embarrassing photos of my family that I’m not allowed to share anywhere else, ha!).
So let’s click into the “2008-Present” folder. Here you will find folders for every year since Christopher and I got married in 2008. Simple enough… let’s open up 2016 (since it’s the most recent completed year).
I chose to break up each year into three main sections, but you could easily have a folder per month or even one per season. This method stems from how I organized photos in college and graduate school because I would have 3 folders: Spring Semester, Summer, and Fall Semester. That just kind of stuck even after I wasn’t in school anymore. If I didn’t already have this system in place, I probably would have done this by season. So let’s open up the September – December folder and see what we find!
When you open up the September – December folder, you’ll realize quickly that my albums are in alphabetical order instead of chronological order (so notice that Christmas comes before Thanksgiving). You could definitely put a date at the beginning of each album so they stay in chronological order, but since several of my folders aren’t just from one particular day or week (i.e. “Oreo,” “Nannying,” “Friends,” etc) I chose not to go that route. And you will notice that every photo has a home. If I don’t have a place for a photo then it goes in the “Misc” folder.
Backing Up My Photos:
1. At the beginning of every month I move ALL the photos that I took on my phone and camera over to my computer. Sometimes I’ve already moved a few photos over for blogging or social media purposes, but at least once a month I make sure to move everything.
2. After moving all the photos over to my laptop I sort through them all and keep my favorites. Yes, Oreo is cute, but I don’t need 118 photos of him laying in the same position on the couch. 😉
3. I then back up all my new photos on my external hard drive. Everything that is on my computer: music, documents, and photos are all already on the External Hard Drive so each month I only have to add the new stuff. It takes some time initially to back everything up on a new external hard drive, but if you keep up with it regularly (in my case, monthly), it only takes a few minutes to stay updated. If you don’t already have your photos backed up on an external hard drive, I really recommend it. For the past year I’ve been using the 1 Terabyte My Passport Ultra External Hard Drive and have really liked it. I also use Dropbox as a way to triple store really special photos, but not everything is on there.
So tell me, how do you organize and store your photos?