Thursday, February 3, 2011

75 February Challenge: Project Photography {step 1 - organize digital files}

I mentioned here, that I was going to tackle organizing everything photography related this month.  Such a great response, I am so excited for this one!!  However, let me just say that coming up with a starting point wasn't the easiest for me.  It was kind of like deciding what came first, the chicken or the egg.  Only what comes first, backing up current files, then sorting, or sorting then backing up.

Logically, you may think, sort your files, then back up what's left.  However, I will argue, I wanted to back up everything first, because I get nervous when I start going through my extensive sorting and purging {deleting}, that something could go wrong and something could get lost.  And I want that piece of mind right this very moment, that all my two years of un-backed up data, is now safe.  I want to have a good sleep tonight.  No more worries about losing my most valuable possession {next to my family of course}.

So, I looked into an online service that will automatically back up my files.  In fact, I looked at many.  And there are a lot of stellar options out there, for around $50 per year, all of your files can be automatically be backed up, multiple times a day, and then easily accessed at any point, while offering the same security you would expect from your online banking.  Sounds incredible.  Sign me up!  But wait, I need to know more....

I currently back up all of my files on our external hard drive.  So, I popped over to my external hard drive, to see how much storage I am currently using.  Ready for this?


Yikes, I am already using TONS of space... Mostly photos, but some music and documents hang out there as well.... Enter panic attack now.

So this is where it got worse for me.  Although some sites charge for how much storage you are backing up, others don't.  Unlimited they say.  Until you bring an external hard drive into the picture.  That's when I heard that awful "wah wah" sound in my head.  I have yet to find a service that offers unlimited storage backup of an external hard drive.  If you know of one, I would love to hear your suggestions!

Let me just point out now, that I am learning with you this month.  I am sharing my adventure in organizing photos, and will love to hear what is working for you, or has worked for you, along the way!  I am by no means an expert who already has a fantastic plan in place... and I know there are oodles of different ways to get this done....

So since I am unable to do a quick backup before I get started, my step one is to start filing and purging and back up later.

And knowing the amount of folders and pictures I have, this is absolutely going to take a large chunk of time.  Here are my action plans for Step 1:

Map out a plan.  Some people use programs pre-built on their computers to organize their photos.  I currently don't have one/am not using one, so I am going to do this the old fashion way.  The way that any one of you could do if you wish.  I sat down and wrote out how I would mostly benefit from this time investment.  What is my desired outcome?

My Goal:
  • To be able to quickly find a photo at any moment
  • To cut down the amount of storage I am using by purging unnecessary photos
  • To sleep better because I know my photos are safe
  • To create a system that is easy to maintain going forward
Knowing this, I have decided to map out my pictures in the following way:

By Year -> By Month

I also will be creating two sub folders in each annual folder, one for vacations, one for special events {weddings, parties, etc..}, because I tend to take many more photos for those occasions and want to be able to find them even quicker.

For my organizing blog, I also take quite a few pictures.  So for that, I would like to see it organized by post, so I can always go back and re-use pictures vs. take new ones.

Posts -> Post Title

For daycare, I take pictures for the parents and then upload them to a photo printing site to share them.  I will continue to organize their photos just as I do for my family photos, only within their own folder.

By Year -> By Month


Create Folders.  Now that I know the format I wanted, I decided to create folders for last year and this year, by month.  Why only two years back?  The rest of my photos had already been organized, not using my new method however.  They were all organized within categories and folders within each category.  Because so many categories can mix and cross, sorting became a nightmare and I still can't find a lot of the photos right away, I have to dig.  I may go back some day and re-organize the already organized photos, but until then, they will remain as is.   


By placing the numbers in front of the months, they remain in sorted order.

Now, if you have your settings on your camera right, you can always look at the history of an image to see when it was taken.  This is a life saver for me when it comes to this moment.  Just right click the photo image and select 'Properties'.  You should see this info:


If you don't have your camera's date set up, it's a good idea to do it now for help in the future.

Sort.  Now that I have a method and folders in place, I can start the sorting.  Because I was somewhat good at dumping all of my pictures into some sort of folder already, I will just take it folder at a time.  I set up the screen to have both windows open.  The folder that I am pulling from on the left, the new folder on the right.


As you can see, the one January folder that I am pulling from, has 302 photos.  {yes, embarrassing, but we are doing this together right?}

All January photos go into my new January folder.


Because I am still learning my camera, and because i have the luxury of digital, I take a thousand pictures of the kiddos, to ensure that I get a bunch that I love.  But I take too many, with intentions of deleting, and then I don't delete.  Next step is...

Delete.  Time to start viewing each picture and hitting that Delete button on any duplicates, fuzzies, blurries, eyes closed or unnecessary photos.  Just like any organizing task, purging is always the hardest part {yet, offers the most reward}.  By purging out the bad, you will be more likely to print or retrieve the good.  I vow to only keep the photos that capture a special moment, serve a purpose to my photography learnings and blogs, or would be printed in the future.  Goodbye to the rest.

Deleting all of my excess January photos took me about 15-20 minutes.  I toggled between similar ones to pick my favs.  I cringed hitting delete a couple of times.  But when I was done, I had cut down my folder from 487 to 116!!


Yep, I cut my total storage by 371 photos.  Enter sigh of relief!  Feels good.  I am shedding out the excess, keeping what I adore.  And still have at least one or two pictures of every moment I captured throughout the month!

Many of you wondered what I do with my edited photos.  Well, I keep the original and edited version.  I have created one folder for each month that includes my "edits".  I do this for a couple of reasons.  When I go to make prints, I will probably pick my favorite edited photos.  However, my editing styles change as I learn, and I would always want to ensure I could snag an original copy and re-edit it to my liking if I choose.  So I am at the moment, keeping both.

One folder down, a trillion to go!

After all that deleting, I went back to view my external hard drives stats on more time...


I gained a whole GB of free space.  From organizing one folder!  It almost feels as good as realizing I lost three pounds.  Only I lost 1 GB.  Sweet!

Rename.  Because I know I can perform a "Search" on my external hard drive, I decide to rename all of my photos with the month.  I could go through and rename each photo with it's specific contents, but I don't have the time on hand to do that.  Plus, I do that when I edit the photos, so all of my edited photos have a special name.


To rename the rest of the files in the folder {the originals}, I selected all of the pictures {Ctrl+A}.  I right clicked, selected 'Rename', and entered in the month_year format {01_2011}.  Because I selected all, they are all renamed with the format.


Schedule time to sort.  Now that I know how much time one folder takes, I know how much time I will need to get everything in order.  I want to accomplish it all by the end of the month.  Thank goodness it's snowy and cold outside, and I won't have reserves about spending a couple of hours after the kiddos are in bed, or while they play with their dad, to work on sorting.  In fact, I worked it out with him and scheduled a couple of different time slots in my planner to get much of the work done this weekend.

I have to apologize.  This was probably one of the most confusing and challenging posts to write.  Writing as I go versus having an existing working system already in place, is a little out of my comfort zone.

Because I am only getting started in this, if there are better and easier ways working for you, please take a moment to share.  It will not only help me, but the many others that are excited and pledging to work on this challenge this month!  Anyone already get started and have some progress to share?  What's working for you?



I decided a little challenge would be fun! This month we are getting all those pictures in order!  Wanna join?  Take photos and blog about your awesomeness as you go!  I am hoping to do a giant, "We did it!" celebratory post where we can all link up our picture organizing success stories at the end of the month!

75 comments:

  1. I keep my pics electronically on my hard drive by folder. Then I also copy all of them to my jump drive that I keep on my key ring. (for those moments when I need to plug it in for a quick print at Target, etc) I also have a Shutterfly account that I post all my favorites to. That really is my back up plan... If my pc crashes, or I lose my jump drive, I have my Shutterfly. Hopefully, my plan will continue to work for me!

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  2. This is great motivation Jen! I've been meaning to rename and reorganize my photos for months now! Thanks for the friendly push! <3

    xoXOxo
    Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

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  3. I already use the number & month label for my folders, and it really helps keep my photos super-organized. When I upload the photos off my camera, I have an option to 'name' them - so I put the date of my upload (I usually upload every time I take a batch of photos, so the upload date is only going to be off by one or two days). That way all my photos are already named when they get into my computer and they run chronologically within my month folder. And I always check the option to delete the photos after I upload, that way my camera is always 'empty' when I use it again. Hope that makes sense!

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  4. Well, I feel good that I'm pretty much in the same boat as you. With No. 2 arriving soon, I need to get a handle of the ones I already have because I know it's only going to increase once she's here. (I also just got a new camera and am trying to find time to learn to use it well). Thanks for the tip about naming folders. Mine are named with the month first so all of my January's are together etc. Not as helpful! I'm going to try to get moving so I can follow along with you as you learn!

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  5. I started to do this exact format for storing my photos a few years ago. It took a while but was SO SO helpful. Additionally within each month I do folders for specific events - "Bob's Birthday" "Sara's wedding shower" and then I have a "August - Day to day" for the rest of the photos that aren't event specific.

    Also, I use Picasa - (it's a google product - free download) - for basic edits and photo storage. Then it links directly to the web for printing and sharing with friends/family. It's really awesome because if you have more then one Gmail address you can upload different photos to different accounts and then people can view appropriately. Different albums can be private (only shared with who you want to see) or public. You can also edit with Picnic online with some really cool tools (which I think would be super helpful for blogging!) Anyway Picasa is the BEST. and it's free! and it's free online storage! (PS I swear I don't work for google, haha!)

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  6. I am definitely a purger of bad photos. At first I found digital photos made it so easy to hoard each and every photo taken...and then I realized that I'm never going to need them all. So now I try to delete the less-than-ideal ones immediately.
    When I switched to a Mac, I got confused by iPhoto. The way it organizes things is a bit odd, and I'm still learning. But I do prefer the month and date scenario.

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  7. This is an area i need to work on too, i take SO many pictures! I had a friend who recently lost his house in a tornado and he lost all of his pictures. The sheer thought of that brought me to tears. I have mentioned this and someone told me that each month, they burn them onto a disk and keep it in an extrenal place, like safe deposit box and another at say, her parents house! That way you are ok!

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  8. All of my pictures are stored on external hard drives (I have 3... yes, I'm paranoid :) ) and are organized by folders chronologically. I have a folder for the year, then a folder for each month inside that, and a folder for each day I've taken pictures. Instead of renaming my pictures or the folders according to the event, I use my photo editing software (I use Lightroom and PS CS5) to keyword my pictures, that way I can search for a specific keyword and can usually easily find what I'm looking for.... especially if I have an idea as to when I took it.

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  9. One of the ways that I "backup" photos is just by uploading them into Snapfish. It's free, I use it to order photos from anyway, and that way I have a little safety guard just in case. I also back up to my hard drive once a month and my parents actually want a CD with pictures once a month so I burn the best to teh CD and they keep that at their house.

    I also, need to do what you are doing by folders though. Plus, I am a Creative Memories Consultant so I use their memory manager to help with some of the sorting as well.

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  10. I use a Creative Memories product called Memory Manager to sort/file my photos. It's a little better than just using folders on your computer. It's more like a database, so you can put multiple tags on a photo (Bob's birthday, family events, June 2003) and the photo is essentially linked to 3 different other sets of photos, but there are not 3 copies of that photo on your computer. Does that make sense? And it automatically keeps track of when you took the photo. You can find any photo easily by date on the timeline at the bottom. You might want to look at creative memories website. They have a little video about. It just seems to be easier to me. (As a disclaimer, I used to be a creative memories consultant, but I'm not any more. I like their products, but I wouldn't get any money from you buying this :)

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    Replies
    1. I also use Memory manager, but use an external hard drive as a back up. If you use it correctly, you can souce any photo within seconds, not search for hours.
      And no I am not a consultnat.

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  11. I really need to clean up my organization a bit and back up some things. It's been a while. My filing system is very similar to yours. Because I shoot most of my photos in RAW and then end up editing some of them for specific purposes, I actually have an "Archive" folder in each month's folder. I put all the RAW images there to begin with, then as I edit them I save the new version outside in the monthly folder. That makes it so I don't have to wade through unedited photos to find the ones I've already done, but I have a place for all those original images, too.

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  12. i have been organizing my photos in folders on my computer almost exactly like this for years now and i am here to tell you, it is a system that works!

    as i was reading i was laughing because my system is almost identical. i even number the years of the month so they stay in order. ;)

    the area i have trouble with is how to organize my photos for my blog and my inspirational photos i find on the internet. i have a folder labeled "design" and then this has sub folders for "blog", "rooms i love", "project ideas", "crafts and sewing", "our house", "projects", etc...i have tons of these sub folders and sometimes it can be hard to find the thing i am looking for. it wouldn't make sense to put them in the "monthly" folders. it becomes tricky when we do a project on our home that is blog worthy but also a family memory. so far i put it in "blog", but really i want to remember it as a family too. i guess maybe i should make a copy and store it in both places? or if i stored them in the monthly folders-i could rename them using key words so they are easy to search for? hmmmm....gonna have to think this through some more... so exctied to go through and re-organize things now. thanks for the inspiration! ;) (oh, the other thing i haven't quite figured out yet is how to use picasa to edit and then get my edited pictures back into the appropriate folders. -this process really seems to take forever!!!- i recently downloaded picasa but when my pictures got into picasa it seemed like the folders were all jumbled and not at all in the order they are in on my computer. hmmmmm....)

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  13. something else i would love to talk about...do people resize their images before sending them off to snapfish or shutterfly? my camera images are huge... it would take days! so i just do nothing. which isn't goog either. i saw above where someone said picassa will sort of do this for you? you can print photos from there instead of a place like snapfish? everyone seems to love picasa, i need to figure this thing out! ;) ok, sorry i am long winded today! tomorrow is friday, yippee!

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  14. I was just looking at online backup services this past weekend. I too, use an external hard drive to store the majority of my images. I stumbled across a service called "Backblaze." It's $50 per year (or $5 per month) and from what I can tell, it provides unlimited storage AND backs-up external hard drives. I admit I haven't read the fine print or done extensive research on it, but at first glance, it looks like a great possibility!

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  15. I love this. Thanks so much for this challenge this month. I already do some of this for my photo's. Right now I do not have any children, so I don't have to worry about monthly or yearly photo's, but this is a great thing to have in mind for when we do have children. ;)

    For all my Decor & House pictures, I have folders like this: Inspirational Pics, then sub folders like this: Bathrooms, Dining Rooms, Living Rooms, Outdoors, etc. Much easier when I want to blog about something. You could take it one step further if you want and you could have sub folders with "Bathrooms" like this: Blue, Green, Yellow, etc. That way you really have a breakdown quickly and should be able to find photo's you want a lot quicker.

    Then photo's of our house. Those look something like this: Bathroom, Master Bedroom, Kitchen, etc. I also have sub folders with those that look like this: Before, After. This way I don't have to look at each picture and see if it's a before or after picture.

    Then other pictures I take of my family or Holidays or of nature are set up differently. Family is by that family member name and then sub folders by event or date. Holidays are buy date sub folders. Nature is by Season and Year usually. I probably have to organize these folders better before they get really out of hand.

    And I still need to finish your last months challenge. Way to much paperwork to go through in one month. (about 4 years of paperwork that was never filed because getting married and then buying a house and fixing up the house got in my way) :( I have lots of sorting and shredding ahead of me, but I already have my labels for my folders done, so once I'm finished sorting and shredding, it will be easy sailing. ;) Sorry so long!

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  16. I don't know if this goes here or back with your paper blog series, but something I have found helpful is to take pictures of your kids' artwork instead of saving all the paper. I use a folder system similar to what you describe above but as I'm going through my pictures right now I thought of that - you could add a folder for kids artwork too.

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  17. I use a similar system for sorting my photos--I do each by year and month. But then within the monthly folders I separate out by event--so for January I'd put "New Years," "Basketball game," "Girls night," etc. depending on what I'd done that month. I need to find a good website to back up my photos, too!

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  18. On my old computer, I used a folder method... sorted by event. Once I converted to my new computer, my husband convinced me to use Picasa. Its ah-maze-ing. It is set (for me anyway, I don't know if that's the default or not) to be sorted by date (format ex.: 1-28-2011). AND when I imported my old pictures, it organized them by date of folder. So, all of my events are not quite AS organized as my current ones, but still organized!

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  19. Thank you for your post! I have inconsistent file naming and THOUSANDS of photos. And I just couldn't decide how to tackle the sort. I appreciate your posts each and every time!

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  20. I'm right there with you in needing to clear out and delete the not-so-good pictures. However, I've been organizing our pictures for several years in a folder by year, then in subfolders with the date in "MM.DD.YEAR event name" format so they stay in chronological order. It works great for finding pictures quickly! I also use Picasa on our computer for tagging people's faces for quick searching and Picasa Web Albums for uploading online.

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  21. Really great tutorial on picture storage. I organize mine by year then by season and then by event. Eg - 2011 Winter Dance Recital.

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  22. I always love hearing/reading about how others organize their photos. I have a Mac so I use I photo. I name my photos similarly to you.

    I do the following for naming:
    Year_MMDD_Event (if there is one)

    So they would look like this:
    2010_1114_PeterBirthday
    2010_1224_ChristmasEve
    2011_0214_ValentinesDay
    2011_0307
    2011_0628_BBQ

    Do you add any key words/tags to your photos to help you find them? I'd love to hear about this. I never know if I'm putting too many or too few key words/tags on my photos. I try to think about how I'd search for a photo and tag accordingly.

    Can't wait to see what else you have for us this month! Thanks.

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  23. A professional photographer I know (http://twitter.com/#!/glimpsesofsoul) just tweeted:
    Get a 15% discount at Crashplan for switching from Mozy (or just for signing up): http://t.co/PcXL3Mx

    and

    I chose Crashplan over Carbonite because it allows you to back up from external drives as well And b/c it's a bit older than BlackBlaze.

    It looks like Crashplan would be a good plan to research.

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  24. wow! you just lessened my stress by a thousand. i was worried you were gonna talk giga bits and computer jargan i dont know. thank you so much for simplifying and explaining it so well. i have an embarassing 3000+ photos on my computer right now. i have never done anything with them and they are a mess. but im so glad you mentioned deleting the bad ones. thank you!!

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  25. Great post! My hard drive crashed last year. Luckily my boyfriend had gotten me to buy an external drive before it did. 4 years worth of photos saved. Phew! I look forward to the rest of your posts about photo organization. Gonna do any with photos that aren't digital?

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  26. Sounds like this free "Picasa" program has a lot of great benefits. Anyone know if it works with your external hard drive files? Would it be worth me to install that before I move forward with more organizing and deleting?

    Thanks for all of your great help everyone!

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  27. Picasa only allows you to store so much for free (I don't remember how much, but if you are talking high res. photos- it's really not much). They they start charging you. It also takes FOREVER to upload them. Eh, it's a cute tool- but not substantial enough for me.

    For those that want a fast way to resize photos (to email, etc) if you have Photoshop- you can create "batches" and process them all at once. I LOVE how easy it is!

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  28. Thanks for the post Jen. I got a jump start on this month as soon as I read it was photography month. Organising my photos (both the digital and the ones I get printed) was on my to do list already for the year.

    I'll do a blog post later with what I've done so far :)

    I use picasa to edit my photos because it is so simple to use. It organises your photos for you - but mine is out of order as sometimes when I take photos the date isn't set up right - but gosh it's SO handy when it is!! I don't know if htere is some way to turn off picasa's auto organising but I'm sure there is.

    I'm not sure how picasa works backing things up though?

    Thanks again, I'll post back later with my blog link :)

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  29. Just a note to anyone using a Mac and iPhoto - Creating Smart Albums in iPhoto is a dream and one of the easiest ways to organize. You can add all different kinds of parameters for creating your album - for instance I have a Christmas 2010 smart album with the parameters of the picture date range from 12/1/10 to 12/31/10 that have the keyword Christmas.

    Even though my computer is on a daily back up system, I still burn a DVD every year with the photos from that calendar year and put them in our small safe.

    If you are on a PC, I will throw in a vote for using Picasa as your photo program. It's a great program! And pictures are stored in their original location on your hard drive, regardless of how you organize in Picasa, so you should only have to wory about backing up your actual file locations.

    Here's info about backing up with Picasa
    http://picasa.google.com/support/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=16050

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  30. i organize mine by who is in the picture. i have 3 kids so i have a file for each of them that is just pictures of them. if the picture has more than one kid in it, it goes in the file "kids photos". i also have separate folders for holidays, which are organized by holiday/year, and other events like weddings, vacations, special outings, etc. i find it works really well for me. i scrapbook a lot and sometimes i know i have a picture of someone but i can't locate it so all i have to do is go into that kids file and find the picture. i don't have to remember when it was taken. i have an external drive and i have all my pics on shutterfly. i print my pictures about every 3 months. i used to do doubles of all the pictures but don't anymore, i think it was beginning to be very wasteful since i don't NEED all those pictures printed.

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  31. Thanks for a great post! This is on my to-do list for this month as well. I use picasa and really like most of it...the folder layout is confusing for me. Picasa doesn't actually move any of your photos, they stay in the folder you put them in. Think of picasa as a shortcut to your pics. The things I love about Picasa: facial recognition - I can tag my kids faces and then look at all the pics of one child, or friends, teammates, etc; uploading to their online storage (which by the way is not huge, but like someone said you can have multiple addresses)- it's super simple to upload them; and editing pics is easy in Picasa.
    As for folder organization, I have a little different format. My kids were 7, 9 & 11 when we got our first digital camera so I had some systems in place for prints. I have a folder for each year, but within the year it is by activity or child. For example there is a folder for band with subfolders for each boy. They are all 3 are in band so sometimes they are all in the pics. Those would just be in the band folder, but Mason's band concert would go in Band>Mason folder. Each kid has a folder of their own and inside that are folders for Birthday, school, soccer, etc. Everyday pics are filed in their folder, but not a subfolder. Sounds confusing when I try to explain, but it works for me. I had been scrapbooking for a while when I started with digital pics so this system works with the way I use my pics. I think that's the key...how do you use your photos.
    Now, I'm off to purge! That I don't do well.

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  32. Great post! Photos organization is a challenge. I totally agree with you that organizing by date is the best way. I have previously tried by category or person and that's way too hard. I never knew exactly which category something belonged in (there was often overlap) and it was hard to find pictures.

    I use Picasa and I do really like it. It can automatically sort your photos by date to make organizing easy. Also, you can tag photos and search for them. It also has face recognition which is pretty cool (although, honestly, I rarely actually find it useful, just fun). You can also create "albums" of pictures without actually move the pictures location on your computer's hard drive. That is one of my favorite pictures. For example, I wanted to create a scrapbook for my Grandma with a smattering of photos from the past few years. I would hate to have move all the photos to a folder or create a copy of them in a new folder. I was able to put them in the "album" instead and upload to shutterfly. (That explanation may not make a ton of sense. It really helps if you try it out.) It's super easy to upload and share pictures. However, the free storage wouldn't be adequate for someone with lots of pictures. (You can upgrade for $5/yr, but I'm not sure how much storage that gets you.)

    I have some of my pictures on an external hard drive, but I don't back up very often, because it takes a while. Do the online places like Backblaze or Crashplan back up your files automatically or do you have to manually transfer them?

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  33. Thank goodness I pretty much all ready organize my digital pics this way! I actually upload them right into the proper folder when I put them on the computer.

    As for the off site back-up, we learned that lesson the hard way. On Thanksgiving day my laptop died and I lost every picture I had ever taken of my 3 kids from the day they were born. Luckily my husband is some kind of computer nerd, I mean genius! haha And he found a way to recover every pic my comp had ever looked at so now I am working on sorting through 500,000 pics to get back my precious pics!

    We now back up to SOS every day!! So worth it!!!!

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  34. i currently have around 22 GB, over 10,000 files, around 500 folders stored in picassa. not sure what this really means but i know i have a whole lot of pictures. so far it hasn't said anything to me about storage space or charging me extra.

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  35. Great challenge! I already had my photos sorted into folders by year/day, but I really like the year/month better. And, I loved the tip about putting the numbers in front of the month name to keep them in order! So simple but so brilliant! Thank you! I just took the time to make new month folders for each year & separated them out. Can't wait to see what the next step is! ;)

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  36. Great post! I am almost embarrassed to admit that on my 1TB external hard drive, I only have 20GB left. The only thing on there are photos and small video clips I took with my point & shoot from 2004 to now. They are organized by year for now, but I am going to organize them by year - month - event so they will be easy to find and digiscrap.

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  37. Great post jen, thank you, and i Loved reading all the comments too. One tip someone who was an archiving expert gave me was when using dating as a system always use the YY-MM-DD formula because then they will always be in true chronological order, whereas if you use the MM-YY formula all your january photos from different years will be grouped together etc

    Another tip for those of you who are trying to organise inspiration from the internet is an amazing site called Pinterest. You have your own page with digital 'pin-up boards' you create and mae yourself and you can 'pin' any images you find anywhere on the net. The image appears on the board,w ith the source so you have a record of where you got it but you're not using your own file space. I have boards for papercrafts, fashion, home decor etc There is no limit to the number of boards/pins you can add, it's free and you can also look at other people's boards and find tonnes of inspiration. If you want to see my boards as an example you can follow this link http://pinterest.com/woollym/

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  38. i so need to work on this! thanks for being such a good motivater! also, just wanted to let you know i went to target and got everything i need to reorganize my filing system...i'm almost giddy over this...i know you understand the feeling :)

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  39. I use Dropbox to hold ALL my data - documents, photos, the lot. It's great because I can access 'my documents' from either my desktop or my laptop, they automatically sync with each other each time I start them up. It's basically just a folder within my documents that you drag and drop your files into, and, like magic, they reappear on any other computers you have linked to the account. So, I have my files on my laptop, then also saved on my desktop (one backup already), but they are also in the 'cloud' permanently should both suffer problems. I can also go to their website and remotely download ANY document from my computer (it's all passworded). Brilliant for when you are staying with friends and family but need to print an itinerary or something you have saved. Finally, I have a Dropbox app for my iphone, and I can literally look at any file or folder saved on my computer from my phone. Excel spreadsheets, photos from 10 years ago (people are always amazed they are on my phone!), everything. I can't edit Microsoft Office docs, but for work, just being able to pull up a spreadsheet is brilliant. The whole service costs me about $99 a year, which is well worth it for the ability to access documents from anywhere, and the backup it offers. You can trial it for free, but only up to folders of a certain size. I tried it for a few months (without storing my photos there) to see if I like it. Once I wanted to include photos I had to upgrade.

    I think if you put the 'dropbox' folder in your external harddrive, it would work with that. But you would have to tell it not to sync the photo folders with other machines, or it would fill them up! The iphone app doesn't store anything within it, it just shows the folder and file names, and then downloads docs and photos from the cloud over either wifi or the cell network as you request them. It's pretty much instantaneous though. Hope this helps. Although I might have just given you one more thing to research! Check about the external harddrive carefully, as I say, I have never tried it.

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  40. I second the gal who names images YYYY first. I have all of my images stored by year, and then each year folder has month folders. I then name my images YYYYMMDD-custom name-sequence (usually the event or client).

    I use EHDs, Backblaze, and then also upload all of my images to Kodak - they have every single jpg picture I've ever taken since 2002 (well, through November because the last month I've uploaded). Great post!

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  41. Please Please PLEASE!!!! Do not count on your external hard drive alone. We had our hard drive go bad and if I didn't use Picasa, Flickr and Walgreens I would have lost all of those photos.

    I now have 4 external hard drives. 1 on the desk, 1 portable, one at my mom's and one in the fireproof safe in my home.

    I back up onto 2 different online services. IT IS WORTH IT TO GET THIS DONE!!! You can NEVER get this stuff back!

    Watch Amazon for external hard drives. I just order a 1TB for $79.

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  42. @Annabel - thank you for posting www.pinterest.com. I really love this idea. A lot less pictures to save to my own hard drive then.

    Thank you all for sharing your great ideas. I can't wait to look into them and see what works for me.

    Jen - IHeart you! This is a great challenge this month and we are all going to learn a lot from each other. :D

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  43. I find the key to photo preservation is to store your files in as many places as you can - external hard drive, cd and online.

    Did you know that it is free to upload your photos to Snapfish, Shutterfly or Kodak, but they charge you to get the files back. That would cost a fortune for me and I'm sure most people. That's why I use flickr. it's free to download and is useful for family members to get a digital copy of a picture that they really like - for free!

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  44. I am soooo looking forward to this challenge. My digital photos are very organized. I organize by year and then month. When I upload my photos I edit and purge immediately. I think if you put it off you never get to it. Plus my hubby is very organized and on top of this so between the two of us the digital files stay up to date. The hard copies are another issue. Should we scan them and save to digital and toss the hard copies or do we save them in a photo box by year. I'm looking forward to hearing your suggestions. Love your blog!!!!

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  45. Feb Challenge Part 1 on my family blog. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation! I linked this post in my post as well to give you credit Jen!

    http://hernandezfamily2008.blogspot.com/2011/02/organizing-challenge-from-iheart.html

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  46. Thanks so much for posting. I've been talking about backing up and sorting photos for a while now. I have an external hard drive and several discs. I am making this one of my 2011 resolutions. Get it all organized and continue going forward.

    Take care,
    Lisa

    P.S. Stage two will be to print photos and finally hang them up in our home.

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  47. Yes, thank you for the inspiration. I have started on it today. And I finished January's challenge yesterday (a little late) but I am so thankful I found your blog. It is amazing, truly. Thank you again!

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  48. I am pretty good about backing up to an external hard drive - pretty good isn't good enough. Last fall I decided I needed a more fool proof method and signed up for Carbonite online backup. 2 weeks later - I kid you not - my computer gave me the blue screen of death. I was not upset in the least as I knew I had my backup out there on Carbonite. Whew! I bought a new all-in-one HP (LOVE!) and reinstalled via Carbonite and was off and running in a matter of days. I consider myself one lucky gal. Loving your blog...

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  49. Ok, Jen, you KNOW I love you, but right now, I hate you. I've been putting off going through my pics for the past three years, and now I HAVE to do it. Ok, so I don't really hate you, but ya know... :)

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  50. Just did a blog post regarding my digi photos thus far:

    http://scrapping-and-life.blogspot.com/2011/02/project-photography.html

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  51. I am in such a flutter right now! I idolize you (not in a creepy stalkerish kinda way, mkay?) and so I feel so thrilled that I already organize my photos in the way that you chose to. Maybe I have good ideas after all. :-D

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  52. When I first purchased my DSLR I set a program to upload my pictures and store them by date and year in individual folders. WIth the amount of pictures I take...this has not worked very well for me. I think simplifying to what you're doing will be a lot easier. I've already gotten rid of 895 blurry pictures! I've got friends who love using Shutterfly to upload full resolution pictures as another back up way. It can take FOREVER but it can be done. I think I'm going to give it a try, although we're really looking at setting up an account on Backblaze or something similar.

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  53. Thanks for the number before month tip! I was already doing it monthly, and yearly, but like how this is in order.

    Now for the deleting...
    I have freed up a large 12 gig! That is just from 2010! And I am not done! the problem with a DSLR, is you can take so many good pics! It is so hard to choose what is truly great!

    Though now that I am almost done with 2010, It will be super easy to make my yearly shutterfly family photo book!

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  54. ohmyword!!!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for the Control/A tip, to select all, then rename all at once.!! You just saved HOURS and HOURS of my life! I can't believe I didn't know that command! I feel so dumb!

    I have a pretty good system; but I've been going back and sorting/deleting and renaming photos. We also use Carbonite for off-site backup. Plus, I store photos on Winkflash; both for an add'l backup, and for ordering photos.

    I'm a scrapbooker, so this is very important to me.

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  55. Thanks for the number of the month tip!! I don't know why I never thought to do that. LOVE your site! It's my new favorite :)

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  56. One aspect of my life I've always been good at keeping organized is my digital photos. (Makes up for other areas!) I use a similar file system, sorting by year, then month and then by child or event.
    Over the past few years, Windows has made huge improvements to their built-in tools to help with this and I LOVE Windows Live Photo Gallery (if it's not already your machine, you can download it for free by doing a search for Windows Live) It works with your My Pictures folder to edit, organize and view. Does great basic editing like crop, red eye, straighten, etc. Love the organizing features like person tag (tag who's in the photo), place tag (tag where the picture was taken) or create your own tags - makes it super fast and easy to sort/find pictures. The people tags come in handy when I have photos I want to print or share with both kids in it. You can find pictures by timeline. You can edit when the picture was taken (oops! forgot to change camera date for daylight savings) I am a Creative Memories consultant as well and find Windows Live Photo Gallery to be better (not to mention free) than Memory Manager, as that program does not keep the images at a .jpg once imported into the program.
    Also in Windows 7 for your Pictures Library, you can include more than one location, such as external drives, to make it easier to view all your pictures from various locations at once.

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  57. Hi Jen!

    Thanks so much for all the great info! I am heading over to download it now, I can't wait to try it out!

    Glad you took a moment to share!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  58. i'm just reading this but i didn't see anyone mention Backblaze for online storage. for $5/month (less if you pay for 1-3 yrs at a time), you have unlimited amount of storage & it'll back up your EHD(s). you can set it to run continuously & adjust the speed of the backup process. i've felt completely at peace with it, since getting it in March.

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  59. @Britanee - Thank you so much for the update/details. I will absolutely be looking into that site!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  60. I started trying to do this system with iphoto on my mac. It is a crazy undertaking because my photos go back un-orgnaized on my mac to 2005 and on my dell/ pc to 2001! I haven't even transfered the photos from the dell to the mac. I am going to have to figure that out next! As I started organizing on iphoto into categories. I find it confusing because they do not delete from the photo / event page as you throw them into specific folders... anyone else have this issue with i-photo. Is there a way to resolve that?

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  61. P.S. I see that you also use adobe photoshop... is there a reason why you did not choose a mac / i-photo? Is it not as effecient in terms of photo organization? Maybe I should switch systems...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't experienced Mac, so I just used what I had. I just purchased my mac, and have heard fantastic things about the photo organizing options. Can't wait to try it out.

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  62. Tell me this...how do you wrap your head around the thought of going through so many photos? My problem is I get overwhelmed before I even begin. Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. Try to create a plan, even if that means putting something down on paper. Then, schedule 15-30 minutes at a time to work on it. That way, it won't be so overwhelming thinking of doing it all at once.

      Good luck to you my friend!

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  63. Late to the party here but I can attest that Crashplan is by far the most cost effective and best of the services I've tested and I've tried several. The main players I've used but found some flaws, and not just for power users.
    -Carbonite:No VIDEO! and No external drives
    -Backblaze:No files above 4GB (Usually means no backup of video files or DVD/software backups
    -Everything else charges per gigabyte (GB)
    Crashplan also lets you choose between a free completely usable version to backup to another local drive, as well as backup to a friend or other computer in the house. Then the pay plans allow unlimited usage, and they have a great 2-10 machine plan that is still more than affordable. It's all automatic and works in the background and it costs WAY less than buying a new hard drive or if even possible having a hard drive brought back from a disaster recovery service those cost over $1000.

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  64. Thank you all for piping in on Crashplan! I will be looking into it asap, sounds like the winner!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  65. Ugh! I found you through pinterest and need to get orgainizing my photos ASAP! I loved this whole exchange! I unfortunately had a system crash and lost 80% of my digital files in December. Photos from 2004 - present. I was devestated as most of these pics were of my kids (8 y.o and 2 y.o.). As you can imagine I was a wreck! Thankfully my husband was able to recover MOST of them but unfortunately they are now all dumped into one folder. I am extremely motivated to get them reorganized and backed up so this does not happen again. Thanks for your tips!!

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  66. I decided to do this myself and am pretty much finished, but I was wondering if you used the tagging feature as well so you could find particular groups of photos, like each son or just of you, etc? I'm hesitating on that myself, I'm assuming it'd make things even easier but I know it'd take forever and I only have 18GB of photos, so as someone who has so much more, I was wondering if you did that or just pretty much go by dates when you're looking for something.

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    Replies
    1. Hello!

      I do just sort by date {no tagging, however sometimes I create another folder with a category by name within the date folder just to be able to quickly find something}.

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  67. Just one idea to add. This won't help for organizing existing photos, but makes it soooo nice from this point forward. Look into buying an eye-fi memory card for your camera. I got one of those and it amazes me! It transfers your photos for you from your camera over wi-fi! No more plugging in a cable or a memory card. I'm not kidding! They just fly right into what ever place on your computer that you designate. :-) The card is even smart enough to create folders by month as you go along living your life and puts the photos in the correct folder. :-) At the beginning of a new month, it starts a new folder and quietly puts all your photos there. It does it immediately if you're taking photos where there is wi-fi. Otherwise, you just turn your camera on when you get back to wi-fi and it uploads whatever hasn't been uploaded yet. It's so effortless once you get set up. I can hardly believe it! Also, you can set it up to send your files to two places: somewhere on your hard drive or external hard drive and ALSO an online service. I have mine set up to send everything to folders on my external hard drive and also to flickr. I also have it keep everything on the camera instead of deleting as it goes because I'm a bit paranoid and MUST check to see if everything got where it was supposted to go. :-) I've been using it for over a year without a single glitch on the transfers. I LOVE this product! and, it was under 50 bucks. Everyone needs one! :-)

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  68. Here's what I do: 1.) I've learned to "edit-on-the-go". I immediately delete photos I don't like in those "in-between" moments after taking the photo. Saves me so much time later!!! 2.) Immediately upload photos to computer at end of day (or use iCloud, etc. to automatically upload every 15 min's). Label them with names of that day's activities ("B-day SittingRoundHouse AtThePark"). Some of my labels are long, but it's worth it to avoid confusion. (I find dates to be tough, b/c I don't remember what we were doing on July 17th, 1996, but then again, I'm not yet a mom. 3.) Have an external hard drive whose home is near the laptop's home. Every night b/4 bed, copy computer contents onto external hard drive. (or have an online auto-backup schedules 4.) When I get time to organize my pics, my uploaded folder gets divided into sub-folders (b/c rarely do I end up uploading pics from only one "activity") labeling each with the event I'm commemorating ("Cooking Dinner July7'10"). 5.) Now, I divide each event into 3-4 folders: a.) Extra Pics b.) Slideshow c.) Aesthetic Best d.) Facebook... Aesthetic Best only has copies of pics I might want to print out and frame. 6.) Once I'm totally satisfied w/ a specific event folder, I move it to a folder called "Burn to DVD". 7.) Once I have just under the allotted amount for my DVD, I burn the DVD, labeling it w/ t/ date range ("July 7, 2012-Sept 12, 2013") & a list of t/ folders & sub-folders, and "1 of 3" (indicating how many copies of the DVD there are). 8.) I make 3 copies of the DVD: "Storage," "Show N' Tell," "Out-of-House Storage". This seems intense, but my "Storage" copy rarely gets touched, to prevent scratches. My "Show N' Tell" copy is for use when I want to stick the DVD in to show someone the pics. If it gets scratched, corrupted, or lost, I have my "Storage" backup. My "Out of House Storage" backup is stored off-sight (say, at my folks' house). Should the house catch on fire, I have copies of my pics elsewhere. 9.) My DVDs go in a shoe box in paper DVD protectors (saves space & cost vs. using plastic protectors). All of my photo shoe boxes are covered in the same wrapping paper, so I can immediately identify my photo boxes, no matter where they're stored. 10.) Each box is labeled on all 5 sides (so that they don't have to be stored in a specific direction) w/ the Date Range and DVD type ("Storage", "Show N Tell", "Out of House Storage"). I also make an extra copy of the DVD for anyone who might need one and label it the same way, but add "Shilpa's copy". (I also forgot to mention that I have a folder on my computer labeled "Specific People". I copy pics to that folder. For example, "RickAlone", "LisaAlone," "Rick & Lisa", "MomAlone," "DadAlone," "Mom&Dad," "Mom&Dad&Rick&Lisa," etc. Even though this sounds time-consuming, once the folders are made, it's very quick if you add photos to the folders every time u upload pics to the computer. When a slideshow needs to be made or there's a request for a picture of someone or a family picture, it's super-quick to find it.

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  69. What do you do with all of your phones pictures?
    Do you organize those as well?
    Separately or within these folders?
    Please & Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kayla!

      I back all of my photos up on iCloud and also print them through Instaprint, and then try and delete them off of my phone every once in awhile. I also transfer a few great ones to my PC. You absolutely could transfer all of them and organize them on your PC in this fashion as well.

      xo!
      Jen

      Delete
  70. I'm working on sorting my collection of printed photos, including those of my deceased parents, wanting to "give" some of my parents photos to my daughters and my brother's three adult children.Some of the comments have been helpful...now to continue, before the snow disappears and summer events begin...

    ReplyDelete

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