Welcome to Week 4 of the Digital Photo Organizing Challenge!
If you are new to the Challenge, be sure to read through and complete the challenge assignments for the previous weeks. In week 1, we selected a location for your digital photo hub (the “master” folder where all of your digital images are eventually stored). We took an inventory of your digital photo collection in week 2 to determine the number of images and size of your Pictures folder before beginning the organizing process. Last week, we put an initial photo back-up system in place.
This week, it’s time to set up your core file structure within your hub.
WHAT’S A DIGITAL PHOTO CORE FILE STRUCTURE?
The core file structure is basically the framework or “skeleton” of your digital photo organization system. It’s a set of nested folders created directly within your computer’s operating system (either a PC or a Mac) that represent the chronology of your digital photo collection.
WHY USE A DIGITAL PHOTO CORE FILE STRUCTURE TO ORGANIZE MY PHOTO COLLECTION?
Using a core file structure system is considered a best practice among photo organizers because it creates an organized photo collection that is universally “portable”. A portable system is neither operating system- or software-dependent, so it offers you the greatest flexibility as you move forward.
I’ve heard many a horror story about people who’ve used various photo organizing software programs to organize their photos, then later on, “lost” all of the organization they had spent countless hours putting into place, because they switched from a PC to a Mac, or vice versa (or their software organizing program was no longer available).
HOW DO I CREATE A DIGITAL PHOTO CORE FILE STRUCTURE?
The top level of the core file structure contains folders for each year (the name of the folder should be the 4-digit YEAR). For example, I first started taking digital photos in 2003 (the year my daughter was born, coincidentally!), so my top level structure looks like this:
You’ll notice in my file structure, I have a few theme-specific folders in addition to my yearly folders. One folder is designated for images that have been created from scanning print photos that require a date correction in the meta data before I can sort them into the correct yearly folder. Other folders are for images that I’d like to keep separate from my regular photo collection (e.g., digital images of my kids’ art projects, and inspiration photos for several future home improvement projects). As you start to create your own core file structure, think about whether you might have some similar “theme-specific” folders that might make sense for you to have as an addendum to your basic yearly folders.
Drilling down to the next level, each 4-digit YEAR folder in your core file structure should contain 12 MONTHLY folders. When you create your monthly folders, use a “YYYY-MM” folder name format, in which each month is represented by a 2-digit number (e.g., July 2015 will be named “2015-07”). Using this naming convention will allow you to easily sort a year’s worth of photos in chronological order.
You can choose to include the name of the month within the folder name (e.g., 2015-07-JULY), but be sure the month name comes after the 2-digit month number.
In addition to the monthly folders, I suggest creating a “To Review” folder within each yearly folder in order to have a place to put photos that have wonky “date created” meta data that you come across in the sorting process that we’ll begin next week.
Begin by creating a single year folder, and the 12 monthly folders within it (+ the “To Review folder”). Once you’ve got that initial folder created, use your copy/paste/rename computer functions to quickly create the folders for the remainder of your core file structure.
Your Assignment for Week 4 – Create a Core File Structure:
1. Create your custom core file structure for your digital photo collection (creating a set of yearly folders to cover the span of time for which you have taken digital photos) using the folder naming conventions outlined above
2. Add any theme-specific folders that should be stored separate from your main collection
Be sure to return later in the week to let me know about your progress by leaving a comment below!
Have you grabbed your free Digital Photo Organizing Tool Kit yet? I’ve created it as a companion resource for Challenge participants. Grab yours here.
This post is part of the 10 Week Digital Photo Organizing Challenge
Just discovered the Challenge? I invite you to read the Challenge Overview post first. You can then begin to work your way through the weekly Challenge assignments below:
- Week 1: Establish your digital photo hub
- Week 2: Inventory your collection
- Week 3: Create a photo backup system
- 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 organizing maintenance plan
- Week 10: Celebrate & share your photos
~ Happy Photo Organizing my Friends!