Friday, January 4, 2013

Sorting Photos

The age of digital photos brings with it several advantages/disadvantages. The sheer volume of photos we take makes storage and more importantly, the ability to find the photos later an important consideration. I use Nikon Transfer to import my photos from the camera to the computer and it assigns each download a folio number from 001 to 999 and then starts over.

That is the way I left them for far too long while I tried to figure out a better way. As I waited, my photo collection grew and grew to where it is now at about 400 GB of files. I then made a directory of the year and moved all the folios from that year into the new directory. This was slightly better and avoided the problem of having two folios named "001" in the same directory.

My next step was to go into each folio and placing all associated photos into a sub directory. None of this made it easy to find a particular photo. I had to remember the year I took a particular photo and then had to search through many directories and sub directories.

I finally came up with my present method which is still far from perfect. I create a file and give it the name of the subject matter, for example, "Patzcuaro" or "Granddaughters" or "Flowers". All my photos of Patzcuaro, for instance, go into the "Patzcuaro" directory. When I move the photos into that file they automatically arrange themselves by year and date. The "Flowers" directory contains every flower photo I have taken whether from home, USA or Mexico.

Next I copy photos on a fairly regular basis onto my external hard drive that I carry with me in the motorhome. When I have a copy of the current photos on the computer and the external drive, then and only then, do I format the card in the camera. I keep all the current winters photos on both the computer and external drive until I get home where I copy them again from the computer onto a second external drive which goes into the safe. Now I can delete them from the computer in preparation for the next trip.

Now, if I want to retrieve a photo of the Guadalajara Market, I simply open the "Guadalajara" directory, tell the computer to show files in icon format, glance through the hundred or so photos in that directory and find the one(s) I want. If I have too many photos in that directory, I may create sub directories called something like, "Tonola Market". Sometimes I just take too many photos. Over two visits to the ruins at Palanque for instance, I have taken over 800 photos. I must learn to edit my photos but I really find it difficult to delete photos that are not technically flawed. Like I say, not a perfect system but one that works for me.


  1. I don't know off-hand if there's a simple cataloging system, but Adobe Lightroom is a simple editor and it has a catalog function. You assign keywords or tags to your photos as you add them. It might be overwhelming to do years at one go, but on a day by day basis, you load your new photos and add the keywords en masses that will help you locate them later whether location or who is in the pic or what have you. It's among my fav software for the catalog alone!


    1. I bought Lightroom when I was still on Windows XP. When I moved up to W7, the program would not install. It wants me to shell out another $150. I loved the program along with Photoshop CS2 on my Windows XP machine but hate having to fork over more cash just because I have changed computers.

  2. Posts like these make me even more grateful for iPhoto. No sorting or cataloguing needing. I just put some key words into my uploads to add some search parameters and that's it. iPhoto sorts everything for me by date and lets me search. I have never not been able to find a photo. You can even create smart albums without messing up your main directory. So you could have one called Flowers and everything tagged flower would be added automatically. iPhoto also recognizes faces, so you can easily find pictures of people. You can even edit your photos from within the app (eg. remove red eye, blur out faces, crop, etc.) It took me a very, very long time to actually learn how to use iPhoto properly and now that I do, I can't believe there isn't something equivalent for Windows.

    1. Picasa for Windows lets me use key words and also does facial recognition. I should prectice this but like Mark says above, going back through 400 GB of photos and adding key or tag words is a formidable project. Maybe it allows "batch" processing.

  3. I use I photo but also Picasa to organize my photos. works pretty good for finding old pics.
    I number folders like 001, 002. with a date, and and and add faces and locations sorted by years really helps.
    Good luck

  4. Sorry to read about Norma's problem - doesn't really sound like an illness but who knows.

    I'm using tags on my photos though the Windows system does seem kind of weird (I'm on Vista so who would expect excellence? LOL)

    I'm with you having trouble deleting photos are aren't technically flawed. There are many times that I have a photo of say, the family in the living room, where there is a great image of the cat while the rest of us are just dull. I like to keep them all and worry about the space in another age. When the cat is gone I'll be glad to have that good vision of his little hairy ass!