Organising folders on your computer for best results
Now you have them on your computer, what is the best way to organise them? C: Drive? D: Drive? External? Back up?
As I have mentioned before, where you can, invest in and offload your files to an external hard drive. These can be securely stored in a safe, vault or even taken with you should you leave your house or office for an extended period of time. I am paranoid about any of my hard drives going missing…the weddings and personal photos and videos are simply irreplaceable.
Of course, you need to be able to access your files quickly and easily so I suggest you get into the habit of creating a good filing system from the off.
You can either store your files and folders by date, i.e. when the image was shot or by subject. Of course, you can have both or even multiple folders leading to the same master folder using shortcuts as I sometimes forget when images were shot (especially after a few years).
For example, let’s say in a few years from now I want to find photos of my family vacation to France, I have my images sorted by date but I cannot remember the exact date…it may take ages to find the files. If I had created another shortcut to that folder called “vacations” or “holidays”, it would be easier to find.
The quickest way to file and retrieve images is to create a duplicate of one image and call it something memorable like “kids-family-vacation-france” and save it in that folder, you could then use your computers search facility to find your image with those keywords. Alternatively, you could rename all the files at the time of storing so they are prefixed with a code such as:
Change IMG_9034 to france2009-9034
Then when it comes to searching for it, as I said, you can use your computers search facility to quickly find it using those memorable keywords France or 2009 (there is no way you would remember the file numbers that were generated by your camera).
When shooting weddings for example, I change the filename “in camera” so that the first three digits are related to the couple and reset the numbering to 0. For example, a standard image from a Canon camera would come out as “IMG_2034, IMG 2035, IMAGE 2036 etc” with the number depending on the last image you shot, so I change the first three digits (for Mr and Mrs Bakers wedding for example) to “BAK_0001, BAK_0002, BAK_0003 etc”.
Then the searching is easier and I can create a main index using those numbers and digits.
Whichever way you decide to store your images, just make sure you remember where they are. One of my biggest problems that comes when shooting stock photos is that I may end up with 2000 images that need to be uploaded to 8 different agencies. Now obviously I cannot upload all of them at once to all agencies as it takes time so how do I manage these files?
Adobe Lightroom and ACDSee to name just two have great filing systems which are perfect for this but they still leave me vulnerable if I take the hard drives to another PC for example. What I do is create a main folder where all the images stay and each batch is placed into a folder with the date it was taken, they are then sorted in numerical order, I then create a sub-folder for each agency.
When I have say uploaded 100 images to one agency, I simply create shortcut thumbnails of all those images and place them in that agency’s folder for reference and so on for all agencies.
Once again, if you plan to take a lot of images, get your filing system in order from the start.
As of 2010 I think we are going to see more affordable, large capacity flash based hard drives so keep ’em peeled. Flash based drives are less likely to become corrupt and “worn” as they have no moving parts like typical hard drives.
Once available, I for one will be offloading everything I have to flash memory!
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