Storing your digital images

As you take and scan more digital pictures you'll need to become more organised to keep track of your work.

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Words & Pictures Will Smith ePHOTOzine

As tempting as it is when starting out in digital photography to just go for the lazy approach and place folders of images randomly over your computer, an organised storage strategy save you a lot of time in the future. In the world of digital imaging a multitude of storage options are available for your photos.

The Chronological system
If you're only shooting photos of a similar subject, for example family snaps, then a chronological system might appeal to you. It will make following subjects, such as your children growing up or a long term project, a lot easier.

Depending on the frequency of your photograph taking, you might want to sort folders yearly, monthly or even weekly. An example of how you could store photos chronologically is shown below. Obviously somewhere in the system you'll probably need to store the photos in a folder with a descriptive name rather than a date.

Storing your digital images

The Categories system
If the chronological system doesn't suit you, this alternative involves you storing your photos in folders with descriptive names. You can organise the folders into a sensible hierarchical structure.

Storing your digital images

This system makes it easy to find photos by the event category they were, rather than their date.

Digital Photograph storage programs
There are various programs available to handle the task of organising your photos for you. If you don't have the budget for one of these, or simply don't want to learn how another program works, you can use one of the two methods described above.

If you are interested in using a program to achieve a more sophisticated organisation of your photos, the following gives an overview of some popular packages.

Storing your digital images Adobe Photoshop Album
Leaders in the digital-imaging field Adobe, have recently introduced this, their specialist photo storage software. It is quite easy to use and has a good range of features.
Storing your digital images Ulead Photo Explorer
This is slightly more basic than Adobe Photoshop Album, but is also cheaper. It doesn't have as many features but as a result is also easy to use.
Storing your digital images Extensis Portfolio
This is the most expensive of the three software packages. It is very advanced and the most powerful. With this you can assign a multitude of keywords to recall pictures later.

Other tips
Most digital cameras allow you to store photos with two different types of filename. The first filename continuously increases, e.g. DSCN001.jpg DSCN002.jpg, DSCN003.jpg. So after a few years of taking pictures, you might be retrieving photos from your camera with the filename DSCN9402.jpg.

The other filename format resets itself everytime you remove the images from your memory card. This means if you put all your images in the same folder your computer will panic when it sees you are trying to store a DSCN001.jpg where there is already an image with that filename! So for most people, the best approach is to use the first system described.

To be really well organised you could rename every photo as you upload it to your computer (E.g. Our Italian holiday villa.jpg). You could then do a search using your operating systems default search tool based upon the keyword in the filename, such as "Holiday". Also using the operating systems default search tool you could find photos put onto your computer in a certain period.
It's much easier to do this as you add photos to your computer rather than when you have hundred stored. So get into the routine and keeping track of your images will become much easier in the future

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