Spring-clean your snaps into an organised album collection

How to organise digital photos
If you are like most people, you will have large stack of photographs on your computer, most of them piled into the Pictures folder on your hard drive (your virtual “shoe box”), some on your camera, some on your phone and possibly some on CDs.

If that is the case you might find it difficult to know what photographs you have or how to find a particular photo you’re looking for. There is a fairly easy and straight forward way to sort images so that you know what pictures you have and find the ones you’re looking for.

Digital images always have a time stamp when they were taken, embedded in the file information and you can sort your images by date making use of this feature.

Organising photos example file structure Example of a folder structure for your digital images

Here is a simple five step system to sort all your photos. At the end you fill find three extra tips to help you maintain your new system.

  1. Make sure all your photos are in one place
    First of all, move all your images into one folder. This will ideally be the Pictures folder on your main computer. If you still have pictures on other devices such as cameras, phones, tablets, CDs etc. make sure you have copied them all into the Pictures folder.
  2. Create a simple folder system (see image)
    We recommend you create the following system of folder within your Pictures folder on your computer (this link will take you to instructions how to create new folders on your computer for PC and for MAC):

    1. One folder for each year
    2. One folder for each month within each Year folder (number the months so that they don’t sort themselves alphabetically)
    3. Folders for special occasions, events particular topics within the month such as birthdays, holidays, pets, nature, etc.
    4. Sort all your photos by date
      As mentioned before, the photos should all contain the date they were created and you can sort by that date.
    5. Move all your images into the relevant folders
      To move a whole group of images click on the first image, then hold down the Shift key (the one you use for writing capital letters) and click the last image in the group. This highlights the whole group at once and you can then click and drag the whole group into the relevant folder.
    6. Voila – all your images are organised.

To maintain the system, make sure that

  1. Your camera is set up with the correct date and time to ensure your pictures have the correct time stamp
  2. You always upload your images onto your computer
  3. You add new folders when necessary and move your images into them

Create a regular back-up of the whole system by copying your organised pictures on to an external hard drive and/or uploading to the Cloud via Dropbox or Microsoft One Drive, Google Drive or similar. Your memories are precious and you don’t want to risk losing them.

If you would like some professional help to set up a system for your digital or your printed photographs or any other filing, APDO members are experts in all kinds of organisation and storage – click here to find organisers in your area.

Isi Dixon

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