Monday, October 19, 2009

How to Organize Photos?

Here's a question for the folks who have a zillion photos on their computer.

What's the easiest, fastest way to organize them? (I have Windows XP and Vista.)

My now-dead disk drive had a LOT more pictures than I thought. I spent hours last night moving all the photos into my Photo folder on my desktop.

Right now, I have them all parceled out into folders, though the organization is not uniform at all. Some pictures are in folders based on the year ("1987"). Some are in folders based on the topic ("Pets"), then usually separated into subtopics, sub-subtopics, and quite possibly even dates from there. Some are labeled based on where I got them from ("Scans," "From camera," "From phone," etc.). And there's also a giant "Misc" folder that has another kajillion pictures sort of randomly crammed in it.

It's hard to search for a particular photo. Some of the pictures are actually named based on the subject shown. Others are named based on the date the picture was taken. And the most recent pictures still bear their camera-imposed number.

My sister recommends dumping all my pictures into one folder and using Windows Photo Gallery (which comes with Vista) to slap tags on each picture.

Which is fine, but it's going to take a lot of time and effort. So I want to be sure that's the best thing to do, before I do it.

How do you organize your digital photos? Do you use a special program, and if so, which one?

Tell me your secrets, or the puppy gets it!!


Princess said...

Haha! I think I organize mine just like you were saying, I don't have vista, so I don't know if they have more/better options.

But I just saw an Apple commercial last night that makes me want a mac now. It comes with software program that recognizes faces, so when you program one face, it'll find all other photos with that face in it and tag it for you.

Janet, Gus, & Gracie said...

We are organized like you are - let us all know when you find the better way!

Rinalia said...

Sorry, I wish I had better news. :) I started out organized and have diligently maintained that organization. I can't imagine trying to re-organize my photos now into a new system!

You could try Picasa:

And as my dad, the nerdy it guy always says, BACKUP YOUR BACKUP. I lost ALL my photographs and all the anime I downloaded a few years back when my hard-drive went kaput and took my backup drive with it. Now I have my dad do a ghost image every few months, and I have a 3rd drive for a backup of my backup.

Brownie said...

We organize with picasa. It keeps track of the dates and you can name the folders whatever you want. :)

PoochesForPeace said...

Hahaha! Well...lets just say your system sounds just like mine! To the T! Sorry...

laura said...

I have pictures all over the place and while I really need to back them up, I'm lazy!!! My daughter, who's in college, has a Mac with tremendous memory, and a back up 'thing' the size of a space heater! I do NOT want to lose pictures of my Grand-dog Duncan, the Pit Bull who thinks he's a cat.

Raising Addie said...

LOL! I use Picasa too!

I am running Vista as well and LOVE Picasa! You can name the photos and then search for them. I have found it very useful.

My husband set up a NAS so that I can back everything up.

Good Luck!

Dennis the Vizsla said...

I used to use Adobe PhotoShop Album back when I had Windows. I don't know what it's like now as that was over five years ago, but at the time, I liked it.

Check out, they list alternatives to various programs with a Digg-style voting system. (I just looked for alternatives to Windows Live Album and Picasa is absolutely destroying the competition.)

happypitbull said...

OK, looks like Picasa is getting the most votes here. I'll try it out first and see how that works.

And rest assured, I've already backed up my hard drive to my external, my Dad has another copy of the old files, and as soon as I get the photos organized, I'm burning everything to DVDs. I learned my lesson, lol!

Sharon said...

I organize mine "by hand"- in topics, then sub-folders based on dates like you. Generally, I put photos in monthly folders ("Oct 09")unless there's an event that goes for a few months ("Summer 07") or I want to keep all of one thing together ("house pictures"- includes pics of kitchen remodel and yard work, etc)

Good luck!

Woodrow, Luna, MJ Campanella said...

we use picasa also - but save all our pics by subject - then within the subject folder it goes by month/year

Woodrow - Sweetie - MJ

Anonymous said...

The new Windows 7 has a similar set up to the Photoshop Elements of Date folders and Tags. This provides multiple search criteria.

I'm in the same boat. 10 years worth of photos and only dates to define. What ever you use, the tagging helps a lot.

Our Pack said...

I actually get confused after just switching. Great blog and very helpful!