Properly organizing and backing up your photos is a very important part of photography. Not every person will have the same system to organize their photographs, but I wanted to let you know how I do it to give you a jumping off point. This is a system I have refined over 6 years in the business. Each year I seem to streamline it more and more, but right now this is what is working for me.
Uploading Photos to Computer:
Many people upload their photos into a specific program once hooking up their card reader to the computer, but I prefer to simply locate the reader on my desktop and selecting the photos I want from there. Your card reader should pop up on your desktop and look something like this:
Organizing Photos After Uploading:
The most efficient way of organizing photos for myself has been to create folders on my desktop. I have a very large hard drive, so I am able to keep usually a year's worth of photos on my computer at a time. (For weddings and shoots I do not store the SOOC photos on my desktop, but do back them up on discs and external hard drives.) My organization is based on shoot type, date, and whether they are edited or SOOC.
I have three main folders where all of my "sub-folders" eventually end up after I am officially done working on them. They are:
- Personal Photography (by the year)
- Shoots (by the year)
- Weddings (by the year)
From there I place all of my folders that are organized by shoot, month, or editing progress. That way my desktop does not get overwhelmed with folders and I have one main folder where I can go if I need to pull up an image quickly.
I keep the individual folders for shoots that are "active" right on my desktop for easier access, and it also lets me know what I need to finish editing. And for personal photos, I keep the current month (ex: November Edited 2012, and November SOOC 2012) on my desktop before placing it in the "Personal Photography" main folder.
After uploading my photos to a chosen folder, I can then import them into whatever program I use to edit, whether Lightroom or Photoshop.
It goes without saying that backing up is the most important part of digital photography. We don't have negatives to hold onto like film, so we rely on our backup sources to make sure we don't lose our images. I recommend backing up in at least two other places. My back up methods include using external hard drives (my preferred ones are on the links page) and also copying the photos onto a DVD which I store in big black folders by my desk.
Also, be sure to check out Backblaze! It's an online AUTOMATIC (!!) backup system for all your important files! I HIGHLY recommend it. And it's quite affordable!
I keep the three main folders for each year on my desktop until that year is over, but I do copy them to my hard drive every time I update them.
Hopefully that will give you an idea on how to easily access and store your images! Happy organizing!