It is hard enough to organize piles of hundreds of family photographs, but with today s digital cameras, it is not uncommon to have thousands of photos to manage. A good photo organizing program can be extremely helpful most can handle large volumes, support quick searches and include ways for you to archive and share your images.

However, once you install your organizing program and are ready to begin managing your photos, where do you begin?

Step One: Consolidate. Pull images from your various folders, CDs, DVDs, camera phone, emails, slide shows and galleries and put them into one big virtual pile.

Step Two: Eliminate. Ditch duplicates, bad pictures or images you just don't want.

Step Three: File. Most programs allow you to create as many folders as you want, start with the easy ones, such as Christmas 2004, Summer Vacation 2005 or Company Party 2003 then add more specific folders like a folder for each family member, your new house or your pets.

Batch processing: If your program can support batch processing, you can apply a certain criteria, such as a tag, rating, format conversion or folder, to more than one image at a time.

Step Four: Subdivide. After your folders are created and images are moved into their respective locations, you can create subfolders. For example, under the folder  Jenny  you can add subfolders titled  First Birthday ,  First Day of School ,  8th Birthday Party  and so on.

Step Five: Keywords. Descriptive words can be added to folders or images for quick searches. So, if you are looking for a certain picture from Jenny s first day of school, you could search by  jenny ,  first day of school  , red dress  and  puppy  to find a picture of Jenny in a red dress saying good bye to her puppy on her first day of school.

Step Six: Comments. Add notes, flags, captions or ratings. Notes can be added to images to help you remember information pertaining to that image. Captions can be added for humor or other reasons. Ratings are often used to rank quality.

Step Seven: Archive. Save images to CDs, DVDs, a separate hard drive or other device for backup.

Step Eight: Maintenance. Establish a routine of regularly downloading and organizing your new images. Keep a note pad with your camera to jot down notes about occasions of picture taking that might be helpful later when you are sorting your images.

Organizing digital images today is easy compared to the historic task of managing envelopes of prints, photo albums, random snap shots, home movies and Polaroids. With a good photo organizing program, images and video can quickly be sorted, filed, archived and shared.

To read more about photo organizing for home users see, Adobe Photoshop Album.


Hewlett Packard, (n.d.). Solutions  how to guides. Retrieved Mar. 07, 2006, from HP Invent Web site:

Microsoft, (2005). Top tips for organizing your digital photo collection. Retrieved Mar. 07, 2006, from Microsoft at Home Web site:

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