Organizing Digital Photos

November 24, 2009

Picture of a digital camera.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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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 355 Posts
May 7, 2015

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.


5 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

January 12, 2021

Please recommend a program that effectively deals with duplicate photos and documents; a program to use for the many photos, sort and ID, with facial recognition software. I am the last member of my family and near 80. I need to get this underway. Thanks so much. I have followed you for many years and appreciate all you do.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
January 12, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hi Laurie,

Your question is very complex and I am happy to help because I teach a preservation of personal history class, but I need to know more so I can give you the best guidance.


You are to be commended with preserving your family history!! That is so important and will be something cherished for ever!!

It is can be overwhelming, but think of it as eating an elephant-you do it one bite at a time. So one line of family, one decade etc. Just take it slow and steady and one bite at a time you will eat the elephant (AKA complete the project!!)

What is your end game for the project? Video, a book, a combination of both?

Personally I am not a fan of cloud storage for saving photos to pass them on to the family. Perhaps because I don't have enough evidence that they will be easy to access in the future, especially if it is a password protected site like a Google drive where if you lose the password, the photos are not accessible.

Things like books and CDs and DVDs will normally have a future way to convert when whatever new technology comes out--just like we used to record on tape, then tape went to CD and then CD went to streaming...things got converted--that gives you the best chance of having future preserved and stored safely (copies in separate location for extra protection).


Let's talk about the documents? Are you are trying to compare in Microsoft Word documents but they have different names?

If so, there is a compare feature in Word were you can compare one document to another and it tells you differences between the two if there are any:

If they are PDFs you will need the paid version of Adobe Acrobat to do the compare. I have not tried that to know if it is as accurate as the Word compare is.

Now for photos--are you looking for something to actually compare that a photo named ABC with Mom and Dad and you in it is the same as a photo named DEF that is Mom and Dad and You?

There is a pretty detailed article:

that talks about software that do this kind of comparison--maybe someone else will have first hand experience with them, but I am very old fashioned and have learned over the years that the human eye is preferred over a software to compare photos--yes, I understand volume, but hear me out for the why.


This is (to me) important because if you have photos in a digital format--either jpeg or png format, one you want to know what format you want them all in and have them all be consistent format if you are going to use them in a program like Shutterfly or one of the book making software and two you want to know how they were scanned and if one is a better scan quality than another.

What I mean by the latter is for example, my scanner from the early 2000s vs my photo scanner today produced totally different image qualities and if I have a dup photo---one scanned from 2000 and one from today, I want to manually look at them and know that I am picking the 2021 version because the quality is just going to be so much better.

Software may also have issues comparing photos if there are differences between the photos like photo A is really dark and photo B is really light--it may tell you you have two different photos, when it is really one with different light levels.


Back to format and end game for a moment--I am a huge fan of using a good quality photo book to preserve old photos.

They are very expensive to make, but the quality of the books from places like Shutterfly are great for preservation. They are also good for preserving documents (you can turn paper documents into jpeg or pngs and then they can become part of the book also).

As technology evolves, there maybe something better, but this is my today preference.

I am not as familiar with turning items to video, but I know there are a lot of places that do that at a fairly reasonable cost.

I know a place in Pittsburgh that is very good. Not sure where you are but I would think you would have similar services.

Let me know if you need anything else! Blessings on your project!!


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
January 13, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

You are asking about tasks that, I believe, will take a very sophisticated photography program to do. It seems you are looking for a program that will gather all of your photos/documents in one file, sort them into duplicates, sort and ID (?), then scan with facial recognition and place these in a file (photos may scan many years of each individual?).


I hope someone can help you find a program that will do all of this as it seems like it would be a fantastic program.

If you have a lot of photos/pictures then I would like to suggest that you start slowly and work on one task at a time - maybe use a program that sorts for duplicates so you can decide which picture you would like to keep and then remove the duplicates.
This would narrow the number down considerably and give you an opportunity to decide which pictures to keep and maybe some you do not want and can discard.
I do not believe you can use a program that decides for you which duplicate to keep and which to delete.

This project will most likely take several months to complete but then you will have a much easier task of doing some of the other things you are asking about.


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July 1, 2005

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


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



Diamond Feedback Medal for All Time! 1,023 Feedbacks
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.


Diamond Feedback Medal for All Time! 1,023 Feedbacks
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

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


Diamond Feedback Medal for All Time! 1,023 Feedbacks
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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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 407 Feedbacks
March 1, 2012

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.

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.

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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