You made it to the half-way point in The 10-Week Digital Photo Organizing Challenge…congrats! This week is all about sorting digital photos.
If you are just discovering the Challenge, start by reading the Challenge overview, then begin to move through the weekly Challenge assignments:
- Week 1 – Establish Your Hub
- Week 2 – Inventory Your Collection
- Week 3 – Create a Backup System
- Week 4 – Create Your Core File Structure
Roll your sleeves up and get ready to dive into the tedious, but crucial step of sorting your images.
At this point in the game, you’ve got your main pictures folder in your hub that contains all of sub-folders of images from various sources (external hard drives, memory cards, smart phones, etc.). For the sake of simplicity, from this point on, I will refer to this folder as “The Mess”.
Last week, you created your fresh, clean, and empty core file structure…the new framework for your organized photo collection. This week’s task is simple, but typically not easy. The task is to sort all images contained in “The Mess” folder into the appropriate folder with the new core file structure.
The method I recommend to accomplish this task is to open two windows side by side on your computer (this can be done on both a PC and a Mac). In the left window, open one of the source sub-folders within “The Mess” folder and sort the images by date (date created, not date modified). Next, open a second window and drill down to the first month subfolder that you need. You can then cut/paste the images or drag and drop the images into the appropriate folder.
In the example below, I selected a set of images that were taken in August 2012 (see left window). Those images were then dragged into the 2012-08 folder of my core file structure (see right window).
As you complete the sorting task, you may come across images with dates that don’t make sense (e.g., the date is 3/1/1900, and you clearly did not take digital photos in the year 1900). For now, file these images in a “To Review” folder within one of your main year folders to review later in the process.
The sorting step in the organizing process is a simple one, but not necessarily an easy one for two reasons.
First, you’ll likely have to dig through a series of nested folders within “The Mess” to locate your image files. In the example above, you’ll notice the folders that contain a season’s worth of photos from a particular year. Drilling down into a set of nested folders takes time and focused concentration to keep yourself from inadvertently moving something to the wrong place or deleting files by accident.
The other reason it’s not easy is because it’s tedious work. Plain and simple. For that reason, do not attempt to complete this step in one sitting. This is the sort of task that needs to be broken down and spaced into multiple sessions. Once you begin to see those source sub-folders in “The Mess” get emptied out one-by-one, it really does begin to get exciting!
Your Assignment for Week 5 – Sorting Digital Photos:
1. Learn how to view 2 windows side-by-side on your computer (I included links to YouTube tutorial videos above to assist with this)
2. Set aside time in your calendar this week for sorting sessions
3. Sort images by moving them from The Mess folder into the appropriate folder within your new core file structure (sort by “date created”)
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 4: Create a core file structure for 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!