Need help organizing digital pictures

Hello all,
Well I have recently bought a digital camera, and have been busy taking lots of photos. I want to put all of these, combined with digital photos (and scanned photos) I have dating back the last few years, on CDs in some kind of organization. However, I am faced with the following problem: I don’t know whether to organize them by date (like a picture album) or by function/event.

I have some pictures (such as those taken during a vacation where it’s a bunch of photos taken around the same time) that would fit either system. Then there are those pictures that only really fit with time (pictures of cars, friends, houses, etc.). Then there are those which would be easier to find if organized by subject (pictures of each time I’ve gone cow-tipping or something :slight_smile: ), since there aren’t many of them from each occassion.

Any of you out there keep lots of digital photos? How do you do it?

Looking for suggestions. Thanks.

Well, we could tell you how to organize them, but what it really comes down to is you deciding how you are likely to access them later on.

Are you likely to want to find a picture by date or by subject? I’m more likely to remember the image as opposed to even an approximate date it was taken.

Or you could use a combination of all three ways you suggested. For things like vacations, put all the pictures from each vacation on one CD, those you want to arrange by date on another, and those you want by subject on another.

What you are essentially doing is creating a library of your digital photographs, which means the main thing you should be considering is how you (or someone else) as the user will be searching for the images.
(God, I sounded like one of my library science professors just then)

I guess no one can tell you how best to do this. All we can do is say how we do it and why we chose this technique.

I fretted over this for awhile when I first got my camera, taking about 400-600mb per month of photos. As it turned out, in my case, I settled into the following routine: I have folders with month and year, but I separate the photos into categories within each month’s folder.
What’s cool is that for my camera (a Canon), some fellow wrote a little program that automatically puts the photos in month-year folders as they are transferred.

The month-year format turned out to be absolutely necessary since it simplifies the backup problem. Rather than stuff photos onto a CD until it’s full, labelling it “CD #5” or some other useless name, I back up my pictures by month (or two months if I didn’t shoot much) and label them (e.g. “June, 2002”)

So, if I want to look at photos of kids on the tractor at my wife’s uncle’s farm from last year’s trip to Brazil, I pop in the July, 2001 disc and open the folder under D:\brazil trip\uncle’s farm\kids on tractor

Another point: I don’t rename the files. I tried to give picture files meaningful names for awhile and then gave up after I realized the magnitude of the problem. I don’t lose much if a picture of my parrot is called img_1234.jpg since I can always use thumbnails to find it.

You didn’t ask, but I’m telling you: Make sure you keep the original files safe when you are doing Photoshop work. I didn’t do this in the beginning, editing the files directly, and I regret having lost the original files since any recompression of a JPEG causes information loss.
I typically edit my files and use “Save as…” to save them with an extra letter on the name. For example, my parrot is img_1234.jpg. A 4x6 cropped and color-adjusted version of my parrot is saved as img_1234a.jpg. Perhaps the 5x7 version is saved as img_1234b.jpg
This is only one way of many, but you really should take care to protect the original files from your camera.