If you’re like me, you probably have thousands of images on your computers and portable devices. If you’re ready to do some Spring Cleaning, here are some tips that I find very helpful.
Don’t Save Everything
If it’s not a picture you’d be proud to print or share with the world, toss it! All too often I’ll end up with 10 or 15 shots of the same thing. While each photo may be unique in its own way, I don’t need to keep them all just because I was trying a different camera setting or lighting idea. Pick the best one or two and delete the rest.
Smart File Naming
Trying to find one picture in a folder with thousands of jpegs is a nightmare. So make folders -a lot of them! Categorize and even-subcategorize your images. I prefer to give my folders names that describe the overall event or theme. From there, I’ll create sub-folders that are more finite.
Even more crucial….rename your files! No one should ever have a folder where every image begins with “IMG_” or “DCM_”. Typically I like to combine a description, the date and a number for my file names. For example: “Summer_Vacation_June2012-001.jpg”.
Back Up Your Images
Save your photos….and then save them again using an alternate method. Your computer won’t last forever, so keep your memories safe by backing up your images in a second location. External hard drives and DVDs are great. Photo sharing services like Flickr or SmugMug are also solid options. If you’re looking for a cloud-based storage solution, check out Carbonite or Mozy.
Software for Organizing Photos
There are a handful of great tools that allow you to sort, tag, rename and manage photos. My favorites are Google’s free utility, Picasa and the Adobe products Lightroom and Photoshop Elements.