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Photo management

5 unique and effective methods to organize digital photos

by Casey Schmidt  |  July 16, 2021

4 min. read
A picture album of a vacation.

In the digital age, we no longer ask ourselves if we should organize our digital images. Instead, we ask ourselves if we know the best way how to organize digital photos.

Uncluttered digital photo storage is soothing, efficient and important. It helps you find the right images without any stress or hassle. There are a lot of different ways to clean up your digital image storage, believe it or not. Make sure you’re following an optimized system. In this article, we’ll discuss five unique strategies to make the process easier.

1. Create transparent folders and file naming systems

Think of your digital organizational tasks the same way you think of physical organization. For example, when you pack items from a house into boxes, you label the box with very distinct terms. This helps you find and sort your items in the future. Your digital photos should be no different. Think of your computer folders as real life boxes and name them things that are specific to the photos stored inside.

File naming should be handled in a similar fashion. Come up with ways to best name files and do so with future retrieval in mind. For example, if you took vacation photographs in Hawaii, name every photo from this set ‘Hawaii family’, ‘Hawaii beach’, ‘Hawaii surf’ and etc. Then place them into a folder specific to your Hawaii vacation. This ensures all future searches and sharing of these types of photos is simple.

Digital folders aligned.
Create a structure for your digital folders.

2. Implement metadata management

Metadata is information about a file – in this case about an image file. It allows users to search for images based on extensive keywords. For example, if you’re trying to find photos on your computer or smartphone that contain dogs, a search for related terms like ‘pet’, ‘sit’, ‘growl’ and ‘bark’ could retrieve them. The power of metadata extends further than just a few tags on photos, as well. It also allows users to find images based on author, date and other specific bits of information.

A magnifying glass amplifying the word 'metadata'.
Metadata is a key to organizing photos.

Metadata management helps instantly locate and retrieve stored images no matter how vast the photo library. It also adds information to images that aren’t automatically assigned keywords, such as dates, sizes and other important descriptors. It allows users to promptly recall specific uploaded photos with a search using the designated keywords. Overall, the use of metadata automation and other tools cleans up digital image storage.

3. Utilize auto tagging software

Building upon the power of metadata, auto tagging software labels every image file you put onto your computer. This automates the keywording process and organizes your image storage. Auto tagging software works hand-in-hand with digital asset management as well. As artificial intelligence continues to grow, the amount of things machines can do cannot be understated. If you’re individually tagging images manually, you’re lacking serious efficacy that an AI system could bring.

A picture of a keyboard with a sticky note on it that says 'keywords'.
Automatic tagging adds keywords to images.

Auto tagging also ensures photos in an image library are labeled correctly. This enables users to quickly find images based on details of the photo. Files without citation are unusable so adapt an auto tagging system with image recognition to boost the functionality of your image repository.

4. Take advantage of cloud storage systems

Cloud storage offers users a way to manage their digital photos in online servers rather than on a hard drive. Furthermore, they have evolved to be more than just a place to dump files. Instead, they are now comprehensive systems to organize digital photos for future access. The business-oriented digital asset management is one example of cutting-edge cloud image storage systems to consider.

A picture of animated clouds in between servers.
Online storage is key to saving space for images.

Cloud storage not only frees up physical space on your computer, it also is a great way to sort digital photos for quick retrieval. Cloud systems are designed to ensure users have immediate access to all their image files at any time. For users concerned about private photos, such as family images, the cloud might not be their first choice. In this case, they should consider an offline alternative, such as storage hardware.

5. Manage offline storage hardware

An interesting approach to organize photos is an external hard drive. Diversifying your storage tools is beneficial and a physical drive presents interesting safeguard potential for images. An external drive has large storage space and is a convenient backup or alternative to cloud systems. Each drive is suited for album creation, a way to personally organize photos into the manner of your liking. A drive ensures capability to view organized photo albums in case internet access is unavailable.

A blue mobile hard drive on a table is plugged into the laptop next to it.
An external hard drive can organize images during internet outages.

An external storage drive is a great way to keep sensitive images off a shared computer. It also allows users to avoid potential security issues of cloud storage with their private photos. Due to lack of automated sorting, users who choose an offline drive for their photos should implement a folder naming system to keep images accessible.

There are a lot of different ways to organize digital photos and plenty of tools to streamline the process. Approach your individual image storing techniques with an open mind and explore all available options with an inventive point of view.