Organize Photos as You Take Them

Welcome to Part 2 of Organize Your Photos!  Today I’m covering ways you can organize your photos while you are taking them.  These simple tips can go a long way toward conquering your photo collection later on.

Miss the first part?  Check out Part 1 – Non-Digital Prints here.

Organize as You Go

These tips are applicable for long vacations as well as every day photo taking.  The most important lesson of this post is:

Purge pictures before you get attached.
Don’t let bad pictures ever make it to your hard drive.

Let me explain.

While you are out taking pictures:  Take a few minutes to flip through your camera.  Do this while you are in between things or subjects.  On my last vacation, I did this while we were in the car between sites.  If something came out blurry, delete it.  I’m talking pictures that are blurry enough that you can tell by looking at your tiny camera screen.

At the end of the day: If you are on a trip, take a look at your day’s worth of pictures.  For your day-to-day at home pictures, try doing this once a week.  Load your memory card into your computer but don’t copy the pictures to your hard drive.  Scroll through all the photos and delete more blurry ones or others that didn’t come out.  This way, you clear more room on your memory card for the next day/week.

Don’t feel like lugging your laptop on a trip?  On our last trip, we took our netbook with us, which was lightweight and perfect for going through pictures.  We’d take it to the hotel bar, watch the sunset, and go through our pictures over a drink.  If you have a tablet computer, or an iPod, consider looking into how to hook up your camera or memory card to it.  If you don’t have a computer with you, look through your camera again after you are settled for the day.

These “bad” photos are not abstract art.  I have to keep telling myself that.  If I leave them on my memory card and copy them to my hard drive, I’m likely to get sentimental down the road and think I might be able to use them.  Really, they’ll just end up rotting on my hard drive.

Next week, stay tuned for how I organize and back up photos when I get home!


4 thoughts on “Organize Photos as You Take Them

  1. I go through the same purging process that you describe here! It *is* really hard to remember that it’s truly okay to delete blurry photos. I’m getting a lot better at being “ruthless”. However, with a little photo editing, a very special blurry photo can be rescued. So I do save a very few!

    I’m really stuck on saving important data (date, basic info) about my photos with the photo– back when I took all 35mm pics, as soon as I got my developed photos, I would sit down and write all kinds of info on the backs before I did anything else with them. Now, with digital, it’s a bit harder. I save some info in the filename (esp. the date), but you can’t fit very much into a concise filename! Recently I came across this article about metadata: Thought maybe you’d be interested. I haven’t tried it myself, but I will soon!!

  2. I agree, I’ll make an exception if the blurry photo is the only one I have of something. But as I continue taking tons of pictures, it’s more likely that I’ll have more than one and can trash the blurry ones (like the Statue of Liberty above).

    Thanks for the link! I’ll take a look. I’m covering how I organize things on my computer next week. It’s imperfect, but it’s worked for me. I do manage to keep everything categorized by date and subject and don’t have a hard time finding photos (most of the time).

  3. It’s not abstract art! LOL! I’m usually pretty good about deleting the bad photos, but there have been times when I take a bad photo, add some saturation and maybe a little glow and act like it’s abstract art. I totally can relate to that one! Great post!

    • See, you are on the same wavelength as me. If I keep one of these long enough, I’ll convince myself that it’s abstract art and will never let it go!

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