As you import your images from your camera, it is important to organize them. This makes it easier in the future when you want to edit, store, and eventually archive photos. This is especially important when you have clients. You never want to be in a situation where you’ve lost or can’t find a client’s images. This article and tutorial video will show you how to import files, and help you decide where your files will “live” on your computer or storage media.
Picking an Image Storage Location
Before we go into the video tutorial it is very important to select a location that your images will live in. It is much easier to get organized up front rather than having to go in and clean up a mess. In my case, I keep a copy of the master images on my laptop’s hard drive and keep the masters on a 500GB G-Tech G-Drive Mini. This ensures that I have a copy of raw unedited photos. Once I export photos into JPEG/TIFF formats those images will be stored on the external drive.
Any contracts or client documents – as well as family photos, videos, and my music library – are stored locally on my laptop. This data is backed up using Apple’s Time Machine software. By using time machine I also end up having a copy of the raw unedited images I mentioned before on a second external drive. Some of you might ask why? All it takes is a hard drive to fail or get corrupted and you won’t have a copy of your images. I have seen my fair share of hard drives that didn’t make it.
So when you are picking a location think of the following:
- You can always store your images on your laptop/desktop’s hard drive, but this drive is used by all of your other applications. The more it is used the greater the risk.
- If you are storing your images locally make sure and at least have one copy of your images on an external drive, or in a cloud-based backup solution. NOTE: More and more internet service providers (ISPs) are capping your data usage, and UPLOADS count towards this usage cap. So be careful because I have actually heard of people getting dropped from their ISPs for having used too much bandwidth.
- Now that you have your location set, pick a folder structure that works for you. Each of our brains work differently so pick something that is easy for you to decode. I use the following structure root Pictures/Year/Project. In the project folder I normally have the RAW files, and a JPEG folder.
Tagging Your Images
You should assign keywords to your images when you first import them. It might be easy to find your images when you’re starting out, but once you have a large library it becomes hard to track down an image. I won’t get into “how to pick keywords” because everyone categorizes things differently. Just make sure and you give your keywords some thought. It will save you time in the future.
Another good practice is to rate your photos. I like to go through and rate my images giving the better ones 4 and 5 stars. That way when it comes time to edit my photos I can filter out only the best ones to edit. Having your images rated will also help you come back later and quickly glance at those images that stood out.
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