Organize Digital Photos

Archive Originals

Right after downloading your photos, it’s a good idea to burn them to CD or DVD. This prevents you from accidentally overwriting an original image. You can always go back to your disk to retrieve it. To save space you can keep adding new images until the disk is full. Be sure to label the CD with the year and note the contents whenever you add new pictures.

Delete Unnecessary Photos

After you’ve archived the original images to disk, review your downloaded images and purge unwanted shots. Delete badly exposed images, duplicates, out-of-focus shots, etc. If some are a little over or under exposed you can generally adjust them with your photo software, so unless you have a better version of an image, you may want to keep some of the so-so shots and fix them.

Name Your Images

Create a new subfolder to My Pictures whenever you download new photos. Don’t just dump them all into My Pictures. There are several methods for naming and structuring your folders. I like to organize my folders chronologically and put all photos for a particular year into subfolders under that particular year. Other people like to group their pictures by topic, such as Vacations, School, Sports, Baby, Wedding, Family, etc.

Tag Images

To help you find photos of specific subjects, you can use your photo album software to tag images with keywords. They can have a variety of attributes such as date, place, occasion, and person. For instance, you could label a picture of your daughter Kathy at her 10th birthday party at the zoo using the keywords Kathy, 10, birthday, zoo and then be able to search for all images with these tags, no matter where they are on your hard drive. This is a huge timesaver in helping you find favorite pictures. Initially it can be quite time-consuming to tag photos, but most software will let you batch label a group of photos with the same keywords. This greatly speeds the process.