If you’ve been shooting for awhile now, you have no doubt amassed thousands and thousands of images on your computer, and each file has the naming convention that is forced upon you by your camera. So how can you organize all of these photos? Ho can you make them accessible with just a few clicks, without having to wade through a dozen folders? Here’s how I do it:
Tools of the trade
If you don’t already have a copy of Adobe Bridge, get it. It is a simple and fast way to view your images, set metadata, and organize. It is an essential piece of software for any photographer.
You should also have at least two external hard drives to back everything up on, and this way you won’t have to keep that huge image library on your computer – which will make programs like Photoshop run faster.
It’s important to protect yourself, to let people know that you took this photograph. So start by embedding metadata, which can be done right in bridge:
Be sure to put in your name, phone number, website, etc – and don’t forget to affix a copyright on the image!
Then you should add keywords – Bridge will actually save the keywords you use, such as “Fashion shoot” or “Family Photos” or “San Francisco” so you can instantly view all photos with that keyword. Be as specific as you can.
Typically, I do this whole process right after I get back from a shoot – Metadata, keywording… and now it’s on to the actual placement of the images. Select your photos and go to the “Tools” menu and select “Batch Rename”. In this menu, you can specifically choose how you want your files named. You could go with “RJS_Fashionshoot_072309_001” if you need to be that specific.
What do is the date I shot it, and a sequence number: “072309_001” Because I’m not just dumping all of my photos into a single folder.
I take a very simple approach to organizing my photos. I make a few folders, and organize them by Year, month, and shoot.
I am never more than three folders away from my images, unless I need images for web use, in which case I will simply make another folder in my image folder titled “WEB”. I then back all of these up on my two external drives, and sleep soundly at night.
Now these methods won’t work for everyone – this is what works best for me, and I encourage you to find something that works for you. But it can be intimidating with all of those little icons representing photos staring back at you – especially if you’re not sure how to go about organizing them. This tutorial is just a way get you a bit of a jump start.