Organise your digital life – Part 1 Photos

I got my first digital camera in 1998. It was a low-end Kodak model but it was still quite expensive, around US$200, and it took photos at a whopping 493×373 resolution. I think it held about 20 photos in it’s internal memory. It didn’t even have a flash!

Back then I didn’t have much of a strategy for organising my digital photos – and the photos were so crap I didn’t use it all that often anyway:

My student workspace in 1998, taken on my 1998 era Kodak digital camera. Spray-painted keyboard and spray-painted big-ass server case, oh yeah. Looks like the 14″ monitor is running Winamp.

My next digital camera was in 2003 – a Pentax Optio S, the original “Altoids tin” camera. This camera served me well and I still have it lying around somewhere. Alas the flimsy battery compartment lid broke off but other than that it still works.

Pentax Optio S

Anyway, about 2004 I realised I needed a strategy for organising all of my photos, and the strategy I chose and which have stuck to is this.

Under My Pictures I have a Camera folder. In the Camera folder is a folder for each year:

Each year is divided up into sub-folders named after the locations where I have taken photos.

The naming format of each subfolder is “## – Place name”. E.g. in 2010 the first place I took photos was at my friend Kelvin’s wedding in New Plymouth so that is the first folder listed.

It’s really quite straightforward (and I think worthwhile) to organise your photos into folders based on year and location.

Finally, at the photos level is where I get a bit more pedantic (and it’s probably not necessary).

I usually rename my folders “Event – ##” or if the photo contains people then “Event – ## – Person Name”. I use a tool for renaming the photos in this way (an old version of ACDSee that came bundled with my Pentax camera in 2003) but I still need to manually add my friend’s names to the filename.

And that’s it. I know that most people aren’t going to bother to rename each photo the way I do (fair enough), but I think it’s not much effort to organise your photos into folders by year and location. And for god’s sake, delete your crap photos. I am notoriously economical with photos, i.e. I might take 10 or 20 shots of a landmark but I’ll only keep 1 or 2 of them.


2 thoughts on “Organise your digital life – Part 1 Photos

  1. Your photo filing system is almost exactly the same as mine!
    The only difference is that in the sub-folders I also include the month of when the trip took place. And if it crossed over a month, I use the month in which the trip started.

    Works like a charm!

  2. Yeah I used to use a near identical system, aside from naming the individual photos; but since getting a Mac circa 2004 I’m afraid iPhoto does it all for me.

    I’d also say well done for keeping all of those photos – during my time as student my laptop was stolen several times each time losing huge chunks of photos as a result.

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