Organizing Digital Photos

Category Photos
Digital cameras are a great and inexpensive way to take pictures. It's important to store and organize your digital files in a away that makes them easy to locate in the future. This is a page about organizing digital photos.


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I love to take pictures, but I don't love trying to remember where one day ends and the next begins as I go to catalog my digital photos as I upload them to my computer after a long trip. On our last vacation I finally found a solution.

We had visited 6 civil war battlefields and since they are so much alike, I decided that when we left one battlefield and were driving to the next one, I would take a picture of the clock in our car. When I went to upload the pictures and label them, I had no problem knowing which was the last picture of one battlefield and which was the start of the next one. This might come in handy as the Christmas season approaches as well!

By Amy Lyn Miller from Aurora, CO

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I have thousands of pictures that I will never have time to sort through, and dozens of old photo albums. Now what I do is to download all my photos to my computer, using a large SD card in my camera. This holds a year's worth of pictures. I replace my SD card every January 1st, mark it and save them in a box. I used to use Kodak until they moved everyone to Shutterfly.


I do not print pictures anymore. Quarterly, I make a picture book. It costs between $25-30 dollars. And they are simple, light weight, customized, and great conversation piece on my coffee table. They can travel well with me, being the bragging grandmother I am. I make 8x10 soft covered books, which is the cheapest way to make them. You can make them fancy and expensive if you like.

The books can be made for seasonal themes which I do. I also do these books for gifts when a grandchild makes their 1st communion, graduation and so on. You can become so creative with these books. The books I do for gifts, I do 5x7 and soft covers and personalize them. They only cost about $12-18 dollars. "No more prints and photo Albums" Yeah!

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

July 1, 2005

Tips to help you organize your digital photographs. Post your ideas.


By buddy131 (Guest Post)
February 20, 20050 found this helpful




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July 1, 20050 found this helpful

By Gary Hendricks

If you're like me, you may have taken tons and tons of digital photos with your trusty digital camera, but never took the time to organize them. It's certainly not a good idea to have thousands of photos lying in your hard drive totally disorganized. For one thing, it's going to be very tough to find a specific photo for viewing purposes.

So what can you do to put those photos into some semblance of order? Well, this article will show you how, so read on. We'll assume Adobe Photoshop Album is used as the photo management program of choice.

Step 1: Get a Good Photo Management Program

The first step in organizing your precious photos is to get a good photo management program. Some people maintain that you don't need a dedicated program to organize your photos - they prefer to use native Windows XP features to do the organizing.


Personally, I think a dedicated, commercial grade program is better since they are usually more user friendly and there are a host of extra features (e.g. the ability to catalog and backup your photos). Currently, my favorite program for organizing photos is Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0. You can also consider an alternative option, Ulead Photo Explorer 8.5, which is equally good.

Step 2: Bring your Photos into Photoshop Album

Now the next thing you need to do in the organization process is to import those pictures into Photoshop Album. If your pictures reside in your camera, then make sure you hook up the USB cable between the camera and computer. Then click on the Get Photos button with Photoshop Album. If your pictures are already in your computer's hard drive, then click on From Files and Folders in the menu.


I guess it's appropriate to introduce my folder structure for digital photos. I use a very simple folder hierarchy. In my computer's C: drive, I have a folder called `Photos'. Under `Photos', I have 3 subfolders.

* Raw photos
* Edited photos
* Unsorted photos

The `Raw photos' directory stores all original versions of my pictures. This means they have been untouched by any image editing program. Assuming I had 50 photos in my collection, I'd name the photos here in running order using filenames like PIC0001.jpg, PIC0002.jpg, PIC0003.jpg - PIC0050.jpg.

The `Edited photos' directory will contain only the edited versions of my images after perform edits like cropping, sharpening or red-eye removal. Following the above example, if I only edited PIC0001.jpg and PIC0003.jpg, then only these two files would appear in this folder.


The `Unsorted photos' directory is sort of a temporary area I use to store any new pictures imported from the camera. After I import the pictures, they may have funny names like IMG001.jpg, IMG002.jpg, etc. What I usually do is to rename them according to my convention in the `Raw photos' folder. In the above example, I would name the photos in the `Unsorted photos' directory as PIC0051.jpg, PIC0052.jpg, PIC0053.jpg, etc.

Step 3: Tag your Photos

With your pictures imported into Photoshop Album, you can begin the tagging process. What's that you ask? What's tagging? Well, tagging is a cool concept found in photo management software. What you do is to attach descriptive text called tags (e.g. `Uncle Joe', `Robert's Birthday', `School Play'), to each photo in your collection. When you do this, you no longer need to worry about a picture's filename, folder or date. All the need is the tag that you entered.

For example, if I had a tag called `Uncle Joe' attached to 30 pictures in my hard drive (regardless of their filename, which folders they were in or when they were taken), all I need to do is to search for the tag `Uncle Joe; in Photoshop Album. The program will automatically locate and retrieve those 30 pictures for my viewing pleasure.

OK, back to Photoshop Album. If you have existing tags, you can attach them to your photos by dragging and dropping them on individual photos. You can tell that a photo has been tagged if there is a small icon shown in the photo's thumbnail.

If you don't have an existing tag, you can create a new one choosing the Tag > New Tag option from the menu. You're allowed to specify the category of the tag (e.g. People, Places, Events) and can enter the actual tag keyword, along with a note for describing the tag.

Step 4: Move Your Photos to Appropriate Folders

Once you've tagged all your photos in Photoshop Album, it doesn't matter where they reside in the computer's hard drive. If you've just imported a new batch of photos, you can proceed to now move your digital photos to whichever folders you want. For me, I'd first rename any new photos in my `Unsorted Photos' folder, then proceed to move them into the `Raw Photos' folder.

Step 5: Edit Your Photos If Necessary

You can perform basic image edits like rotation within Photoshop Album itself. Basic image editing functions like rotation, cropping and red-eye removal are readily available at the click of a button. You can find out more in my photo editing guide here.

Step 6: Backup All Your Photos Regularly

Within Photoshop Album, there is a function to regularly backup your entire photo catalog. All database information (in particular, tag information) will be backed up as well. You will want to get a CD burner, DVD burner or even an external hard drive to cater for this purpose.


Taking the time to organize and clean up you digital photo collection is a worthwhile investment. By tagging your photos properly, you'll be able to retrieve images in a snap. No more sifting through folders and image files to locate that specific photo. Try the above organization tips out and I'm sure your digital photo experience will be that much more rewarding. Good luck and have a great time organizing!
About The Author:
Gary Hendricks runs a hobby site on digital photography. Visit his website at http://www.basic-digital-photography... for tips and tricks on buying digital cameras, as well as shooting great photos.

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July 1, 20050 found this helpful

To maximize the original card that came with my digital camera, not only do I only take pictures on the highest setting, I save all the photos to blank CD's to print later. Sometimes I do not know when I will use certain photos but I still want to keep them. I categorize the disk with events and years plus I have some separated by each kid. This has come in handy when wanting to make slide shows or historical collages. I just print them and still have them for later!

By Kimo in Texas

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By Richard Poedtke (Guest Post)
July 2, 20050 found this helpful

I wish to save photos on a CD. Doing that, I find those which were "corrected" in Adobe Photoshop are "burned" that way. I mean that they can only be seen in Adobe Photoshop. If I try to show the CD on someones computer who does NOT have the program, they can't be seen.
How can I do this so the CD is usable on anyones computer? PLEASE

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July 2, 20050 found this helpful

Adobe Photoshop has several options for saving. If you save the image directly using "Save" it will save it as a .psd file which is only viewable in Photoshop. Make sure you change the option at the bottom of the save box to ".jpg" which should be viewable on any computer.
Susan from ThriftyFun

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Answer this Question...

What is the best way to store digital photos for quick and easy viewing? A tablet or a digital frame? I want to be able to pull it out much like an old fashioned photo album, not to have it running constantly. I also want to be able to organize pictures into groups the same way I have them organized into folders on my computer. I have seen the Kodak Pulse, but am concerned it may not last as long as a tablet.

By Beth


March 1, 20120 found this helpful

I would definitely go with a tablet.

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March 1, 20120 found this helpful

Big difference in price. if you need a tablet,can afford it than I'd go that way. They are way out of my budget. I gave digital frame for Christmas present. They can be out all of the time, and set only to run when you want it to. Now they are so inexpensive, great quality as well.
Good luck. Have fun viewing your photos. Frame goes wonderful with decor.

Always a conversation piece, as well as night light of you favorite things. Tablets do many things, like a laptop alternative (reader). Both are nice, Don't think they are comparable. If you want to carry your photos with you then a frame is more decorative just for photos.

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March 5, 20120 found this helpful

If you can afford a tablet, they're fun toys and useful for checking email, etc. However, if you really just want a photo album and don't think you'll take advantage of the other tablet uses, then you'd be wasting money.

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Organizing PhotosOctober 11, 2011
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