Tips To Keep Photo Files Organized

Computers are structured around “folders”. Within each folder are more folders and more within those. These folders are great tools for organizing files, but remember that file names also play a large part in file organization.

photo files

Pictures Folder

Computers (both Windows and Mac environments) have personal folders located within each user’s folder, one of these is called the “Pictures” folder. Make use of this folder. If every picture on the computer is kept within this area there will always be easy access to the files. However, using folders within this folder is where really keeping organized starts.

By Subject, Name, or Date

There are several ways to organize photos. They can be organized by date, event or subject, or by name. The best way to organize them is by using all three. For instance, making a folder called “Vacations” would work very well for keeping the pictures that were taken at the camping trip to Yosemite this year, but there were a folder called “Vacations”, and then within that folder was one called “Camping”, then another within that folder called “Yosemite” and one dated this year, the pictures would be that much more organized. Each time vacation photos were loaded, it could be put into another folder within that structure; either a new yearly folder or location folder or vacation type folder within the “Vacations” category.

Family, Friends, and Pets

People usually bring their family, friends or pets on vacation with them, so many of these pictures will be in other folders, but sometimes there are just pictures that are not really categorized by the location, they are better classified by who is in the picture. Many times making “Family” folders with subfolders that are named by date are helpful. This is where naming the file can become very important also. Name the files by person’s name and date of photo, for example: JOE09052009 would be a picture of Joe taken on September 5, 2009. This way, years from now when someone needs a picture of Joe as a child, they will be able to go right to it.


Events, such as birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, graduations can either be filed into folders under “Events” then the subfolder “Christmas” and sub-sub folder “2005” or they can be kept in the Family folder under Christmas, etc. No matter which way is chosen, be sure to name the file appropriately.

File Names

It is very easy to import 65 pictures from a camera and leave them with their default names like “HPIM025625”, but if the time is taken immediately, as soon as the pictures are being loaded, to rename the pictures, there can be much more functionality when searching for them later. For instance, by going to the start menu and entering a word in the “find” area, the computer can find all files with the name “Joe” in it. If the files are randomly named, the use of this function becomes impossible.

Suggestions for naming the files are many and can become very complicated, but make up a system and stick to it. Remember that computers can sort by name, so if there are a lot of garden pictures but all the watermelon pictures should be grouped together in your file, name them G_(for garden) Watermelon_(for watermelon) 2010JN (June of 2010). So your file name would be G_Watermelon_2010JN_01 and on the next one add an 02 on the end and so on. Everything in the garden folder would start with the letter G making it identifiable later on.

Keep track of these “naming conventions” and use them when naming all files, file them in the appropriate folders and never put it off until “later” because “later” never seems to come. To avoid having a folder with 500 pictures all named HPIM##### and no idea what they are, keep a list of your naming conventions for future use and remember to use them each time you add file. This will keep all files easily accessible and in predictable places for easy retrieval later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *