Getting your digital photos organised

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Back in the 60’s a few million film photos were snapped worldwide, with an estimated 55% being of babies.

Nowadays, it is estimated that 2.5 billion people around the world have a digital camera.  According to the Canon Consumer Digital Lifestyle Index, the average Australian takes 111 photos a month, averaging out to around 4 a day.

For many people, photos can end up being stored in a myriad of places with names varying from the generated name to whatever pops into our heads.

If this is you, there are 2 things you can do:

  • buy software to organise your photos. Creative Memories Memory Manager 3.0 Software is one of them. Click on the link to check this out.
  • follow my steps below on how to get your photos organised.  And there are tips at the end.

Steps to getting your photos organised

  1. Start a folder called ‘temp photos’ on whichever computer system you would like to store your photos on.
  2. Move all your photos into the ‘temp photos’ folder – remember to check, laptops, computers, tablets, cameras and phones.
  3. If you have a computer generated ‘my Pictures’ folder, this would be the best place to keep all your photos, otherwise generate a folder where all your photos will be stored permanently.
  4. If you are using the ‘my pictures’ folder and there are already photos in there, move them to the ‘temp photos’ folder.
  5. Decide on main categories to divide your photos into within your main ‘My Pictures’ folder.   I have 3 folders – ‘Business’, ‘Perth’ and ‘Trips’.  Everyone thinks and works differently so it is important that we come up with categories that make sense to us and will work for our own situation.
  6. To make it easier to find photos quickly, it is a good idea to then create sub-folders for photos to be stored in within each folder.
  7. tips by professional organiser, Sara HallDecide on a naming policy for your sub-folders and photos. For my folders I use the date backwards and the description of the event.  This way the folders can be sorted by date order. For naming my photos, if it’s a trip (or an event that is longer than a day) I have the date backwards – location – description (eg 20101105-Shoal Bay-Nick_Charlie fishing) and if it’s just a one day thing, I have location – description (Floreat Kiosk-Sara_Lyn)
  8. Tips from professional organiser, Sara HallOpen both your ‘temp photos’ and ‘my pictures’ (or whatever name you decide for your permanent folder), reduce the folders down until they are both visible on the screen.
  9. Create your main folders in the permanent folder.
  10. Set the view of your temp photos folder to ‘large icons’ so that you can see what each photo is for and start to drag them into the relevant folder within your permanent folder.
  11. Once your ‘temp photos’ folder is empty, delete this folder and start to organise each main folder into subfolders.  The easiest way I have found to do this, is to open the folder twice.
  12. For Window users, you can do this by clicking on the start button and clicking on documents and navigating to the relevant folder and then repeating the exercise.  Reduce the folders down until they are both visible on the screen.  So for example, I would open my ‘Perth’ folder twice.
  13. Tips from professional organiser, Sara HallChange the view on the right hand side folder to ‘list’ and leave the other view as ‘large icons’. start to create folders in the right hand folder.  We do this because if you have a lot of photos you will need to cut, scroll down and paste, this way you can scroll down to the folders in the right hand side window and have the individual photos visible in the left hand view of the folder.
  14. Grab each photo individually from the left hand folder and place in relevant folder on the right hand side.
  15. Keep going until all the loose photos you want to file are in a folder.
  16. Go through each sub-folder and name your photos, using your naming convention.  Do it systematically so that you don’t get in a muddle.
  17. Once you have finished one main folder, start on the next, by following steps 12 to 16, until each main folder has sub-folders and named photos inside each one.
  18. Get in the habit of downloading photos, creating sub-folders and naming photos as soon as you can after each event, so that you don’t need to go through this process again.
  19. Back –up your photos on a regular basis!


tips from professional organiser, Sara HallBecause it is easy to keep digital photos, many people do not cull their photos and end up with e-clutter instead.  If you know the 80/20 rule (eg we use 20% of our things 80% of the time) – this rule applies to our photos!

On average only 20% of our photos are worth something to us.  For myself, I know that I don’t really look at photos of scenery, I am more interested in photos that have people in them (people I know and like).  So I made a rule  to only keep a couple of photos to set the scene and keep mostly ones of people.  This helps when taking photos and when culling photos.

What do you enjoy looking at and can you set rules to help you now and in the future?

As you start to put photos into subfolders, really look at what you are keeping and whether it is worth keeping them all.  Do you really need lots of photos of the same thing, and if you can’t remember where it was taken or who it is of, is it really worth keeping?

If you have a lot of photos and can’t be sure where or when it was taken, come up with some general sub-folders to put these in and then start using your naming convention for all new photos coming in.

Get into the habit of downloading photos regularly, filing them and clearing your memory cards.

Any questions or feedback, I would love to hear from you

If you have physical photos that need organising, contact us to find out about our ‘hands-on photo sorting’ workshops.

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