A couple of days ago, I posted an update on my 2017 New Year’s resolutions; particularly, my work to organize my physical photo collection. Throughout this year, I’ve also been working on my digital photo organization as I liked what I was doing with my physical items and transferred the concept to my digital photos.

Just like my physical photos, I have 3 groupings:

  • Taneya’s Family (pictures of my side of the family and my childhood)
  • Kalonji’s Family (pictures of his side of the family and his childhood)
  • Our Family (photos from the time I met Kalonji and of our nuclear family with our 5 kids).

Also like my physical photo organization system, I have some groupings by decade and then as we move closer to present time, yearly divisions. Example folder directories may include:

  • Kalonji Family 2017
  • Kalonji Family 2018
  • Our Family 2017
  • Our Family 2018
  • Taneya Family 2017
  • Taneya Family 2018

If you were to look inside my “Our Family – 2018” directory, I have subfolders for each month. I start each folder name with the year followed by the two digit number for the month, then followed by the month name. The reason I use numbers at the beginning of the file name is so that the folders will easily sort by date. Example file directory names may include:

  • 2017-01 January
  • 2017-02 February
  • 2017-03 March
  • 2017-04 April

Here is the inside of the “Our Family – 2018 / 2017-02 February” folder. My individual file names also start with the year, two digits for the month and if I know it, the exact date. I try to put descriptive text for the rest of the file name, but when I take multiple pictures for one event, I give them all the same name and use two digits to number them at the end (e.g., 01,02,03). The reason to use two digits is for proper sorting once the number goes into two digits.

  • 2017-02-01 Dinner at Rainforest Cafe 01.tif
  • 2017-02-01 Dinner at Rainforest Cafe 02.tif
  • 2017-02-01 Dinner at Rainforest Cafe 03.tif
  • 2017-02-02 Taneya playing solitaire with the kids.tif
  • 2017-02-05 Parthenon at Centennial Park.tif

For each photo, I add IPTC metadata information for a handful of specific fields. Check Alison Taylor’s RootsTech 2017 presentation for more information about editing photo metadata. Using metadata, specifically IPTC metadata, is key for capturing the details of each picture. The reason to use IPTC metadata is that it is an industry standard; it can be read by many different photo management/editing programs.

 

Other things to know:

  • I currently use ACDSee as my primary photo management software. At about $40 it is cheaper than Adobe’s’ products and it has been around for more than 20 years. I used to use it before Google’s Picasa came out and went back to it once Picasa was retired.
  • I save all my images in TIFF format (or, if I have only a jpg; convert it to TIFF) as TIFF is the recommended standard for archival quality images. Anytime I need to share a photo I make a jpg from the TIFF file.
  • When I take pictures, my phone automatically backs up to Google Photos. Google Photos has its own subdirectory in my Google Drive account. This means I periodically need to go through the Google Photos subdirectory and move pictures to my their proper directory.
  • I save ALL of my stuff in Google Drive – which is great because I have access to it across multiple devices. I use SpinBackup to backup my Google Drive account.

With this organization plan, not only do I feel much more equipped for finding and locating pictures when I need them; it also greatly helps my digital scrapbooking hobby too as my scrapbooking is largely chronologically-oriented.

This is all part of my master plan to be ultra-organized with my genealogy files. I have so much more to do but I enjoy seeing it come together over time. I’m sure I’ll have more posts with updates in the future!


Image credits: file folders