The 7 secrets to an organized photo library

iStock_000007056396XSmallIf you’re like most people, you have thousands of photos on your computer just waiting to be organized. Thinking about it likely makes you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Like any big task, you can find a million other things you’d rather do, so the task  gets put off … and the photos keep piling up.

Whether it’s your personal or professional photos you need to organize, here are 7 ways to create a photo library that is easy for you to use and maintain. 

  1. Choose a photo management tool.  There are a bunch on the market, but make sure the one you choose enables you to easily organize your photos and gives you the ability to search using face recognition, tagging with keywords or by place. Picasa for PC users and iPhoto for Mac users are great options.
  2. Create albums or folders within your photo management tool. Make sure they have easy-to-identify names, for example Paris Vacation 2013. If you have a bunch of random snapshots throughout the month, create an album called Summer 2013. Eventually you’ll end up with a group of albums for a year that will then go into a master 2013 folder.
  3. Use keywords to make your library searchable. Both Picasa and iPhoto give you the ability to add keywords or tags to your photos. You can do this right when you import your photos (recommended) or later when you have set aside time to go through your collection. Use keywords that are intuitive. If there are people in the photo, use their names.
  4. Transfer photos regularly.  Make it a habit to transfer photos from your camera to your computer on a regular basis. Depending on how often you use your camera, this could be weekly or monthly.
  5. Edit your photos right away. The perfect time to edit your photos is right after you have transferred them to your computer. This is the point when you’re interested and motivated to make the most of your pictures. It’s also a great time to delete duplicates too, leaving only the best shot. Both Picasa and iPhoto have editing tools that make it easy to clean up your photos.
  6. Back up your library. I can’t stress enough the importance of backing up your photos to an external source. Backing up your photos to the Cloud is best (Carbonite is a great choice), but at the very least use an external hard drive.
  7. Delete photos from your camera. Many people never delete photos off their camera. This just makes uploading recent photos a nightmare (not to mention it clogs up your memory card). Once you have confirmed your photos have been successfully loaded onto your computer and backed up, it’s safe to delete them from your camera.

Now that you’re library is organized, go ahead and share your photos. You can email them, send them to your social media sites, create slideshows or design a photobook.

Now it’s your turn.

How do you organize your photos … by date or event? Do you do this manually or do you use software to get the job done? Share your comments below and continue the conversation.

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