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Keep it tidy!

David Clapp shows us how to make our photographs organised and workable.

| General Photography

Keep it tidy!: David ClappDavid Clapp is a professional photographer who specialises in landscapes, seascapes, architecture, travel, macro and close-up work. Represented by seven agencies both UK and worldwide he supplies clients with high quality images for advertising as well as photography magazines. Thanks to his varied interests in photography David will give us an array of advice that can be applied to most forms.

To see more pictures or view some of David's work visit David Clapp

Here's his tip:

"One of the most important factors for an ever expanding hard drive of great imagery is organising your system so it can expand, read coherently and is quick to navigate. One of the many mistakes that photographers make in the early days, myself included, is not naming each of the files properly so they could be reached methodically without a nerve wrecking search. Consider this tip as a template to help you build a well organised and workable file structure:

  • Images - Don't mix them all up and put your landscapes in the same folder.
    Choose separate folders and label them inside an Images folder -  Image > Lansdcapes, Seascapes, Flowers, Macro, Travel, Architecture etc.
  • Keep it tidy!: ScreenshotInside each folder include sub folders with locations, places or counties.
    Travel > Barcelona, Paris, Budapest, Morocco etc.
  • Inside the folder, organise the naming of each picture so that it can be found quickly by eye or by making the computer search the hard drive. Name each file starting with the place, then the location, then a sequence number if there are multiple shots form the same shoot.
    Travel > Paris > paris_notredame_01
  • Separate each word with an underscore. When the image is resized and published for a website from this archived file, the written format is web friendly. HTML represents a space by using the code 20%, which is not very helpful at all. Your image will be displayed paris20%notredame20%01 unless an underscore or another symbol is used.

You may already have a better idea on how to personalise this system but it makes a great starting point. If images from multiple places are put in the same folder, say for a submission, they will still be easy to navigate as each file starts with the location. Spending time reorganising your archive may take time, but for an ever growing collection of imagery, its worth tacking the problem before the mountain becomes too big to climb."

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scott1723 Avatar
scott1723 15 2 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2009 8:44PM
Thanks for the good idea - I have thousands of images that need categorizing and this is a great method. Any tips on batch file renaming software?!
kraftwerk_photo Avatar
9 Jan 2010 2:38AM
Thanks for the very good and needed advice. I have been looking forward to categorizing my images (in the thousands already). But, have not found, until now, a good way to do it.

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