As an APPO-certified photo organizer, I’ve got the inside scoop on digital photo organizing best practices, and I plan to share them with you over these next 10 weeks.
When faced with the daunting task of organizing a mess of digital photos, you’ve probably asked yourself, “how do I start?”. In fact, not knowing where to start has likely caused you to throw your hands up in frustration and walk away from the task altogether.
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DIGITAL PHOTO ORGANIZING: HOW DO I START?
The first step in the digital photo organization process is to establish your digital photo hub, which is the central location on which your complete digital photo collection will live. In this day and age, most of us have digital images in multiple locations, including: smartphones, tablets, cameras, old and new computers, CD/DVDs, memory cards, and external hard drives. When your images are spread out across all of these various locations, it’s nearly impossible to properly inventory, back up and organize your photos.
My APPO colleagues at PSG Photo Solutions created this awesome image of the digital hub concept:
As this image illustrates, your digital photo hub receives digital images from many points of origin. Once consolidated inside your hub, your photos can be readily backed up into the cloud and onto an external device.
DIGITAL PHOTO HUB OPTIONS
Your digital photo hub can live on your computer’s hard drive, an external hard drive (EHD), or a cloud-based photo storage site (e.g., Forever, Flickr etc.). For the purposes of this Challenge, I’m going to assume that you will be utilizing a computer or an EHD as your digital photo hub, since this is the most common scenario (and the one that I use!)
GATHER PHOTOS INTO YOUR DIGITAL PHOTO HUB
Once you’ve established the location for your hub, the next step is to systematically consolidate all of your images into the hub. I recommend creating file folders for each point of origin within the PICTURES file on your hub. For each set of photos, migrate them from the point of origin to the newly created folder. For example, I imported photos from my old iPhone into the “iPhone 4S – Natalie” folder.
I highly recommend copying the images from point of origin to hub (as opposed to moving them), since you haven’t yet created your backup (that will be accomplished in Week 3 of the Challenge). After your backup is completed later on and you’ve double-checked that your meta data has been correctly retained on import (more on that in the coming weeks), you can choose to delete the images off of your camera rolls/memory cards, etc.
There are so many different methods you can use to migrate your digital photos from all of the various devices/digital storage media into your hub. If you aren’t sure how to copy your photos into your hub, simply hop onto YouTube or Google and search for the particular transfer you’re attempting to complete to find a tutorial that will guide you in the process (e.g., “copy photos from an iPad to a PC”).
Be prepared…depending on the number of images you have and the variety of “points of origin” they reside on, this migration process can take quite bit of time.
If you have not yet read the overview of the challenge, do that first before proceeding to this week’s assignment.
Your Assignment for Week 1:
1. Determine the location of your digital photo hub
2. Go on a hunting/gathering mission to collect ALL of the devices and storage media that contain your digital photos. This may include:
~ Old computers, phones, tablets and digital cameras
~ Current computers, phones, tablets & digital cameras
~ CD and DVD back ups
~ Memory cards and thumb drives
~ Social Media media sites, such as Facebook
3. In your digital hub, create subfolders within your main PICTURES folder for each of the devices/storage media from which you are importing photos
4. Copy the photos from each device/storage medium into the designated subfolder within your hub.
Be sure to return here later in the week to let me know about your progress!
I’ve created a Digital Photo Organizing Tool Kit to help you along during the process, including a 10-Step Guide to Organizing Digital Photos, and a Digital Photo Organizing Monthly Maintenance Checklist (to guide you as you move forward after the Challenge). You can grab yours here.
This post is part of the 10 Week Digital Photo Organizing Challenge
Just stumbled upon the Challenge? I invite you to read the Challenge overview post first. You can then begin working your way through the weekly Challenge assignments below:
- Week 2: Inventory your digital photo collection
- Week 3: Create a photo backup system
- Week 4: Create a core file structure for your digital photos
- Week 5: Sort your digital photos
- Week 6: Remove duplicate digital photos
- Week 7: Rename digital photo file names
- Week 8: Tag & rate your digital photos
- Week 9: Create a digital photo maintenance plan
- Week 10: Celebrate and share your digital photos
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~Happy Photo Organizing my Friends!