Photo organizing seems like a crazy overwhelming endeavor for just regular people, but for bloggers it’s double crazy because we take pictures for our personal family memories AND we take pictures for work and to support all those social media channels. To be honest, most days I take more pictures than I can honestly use. Or by the time I’ve downloaded the pictures, I’ve forgotten about the post I meant to write. If you’re a blogger, or even if you are not, you can use this very same process to get huge batches stored where they need to be stored in a very short amount of time.
It’s been a crazy busy summer, and I didn’t have much desk time, so my photo backlog really built up. I used these 10 steps to organize 363 pictures in just one hour. And I got 6 posts drafted and scheduled in the process. Sound impossible? The key is being focused and ruthless! Here are the steps…but wait…
Before you start, learn to take better pictures. The better your pictures are, the fewer you will shoot trying to get that important shot, and the less editing you have to do. I’ve been following these people for the last year or so, and have learned a ton on how to take better pictures.
Nick Kelsh from How to Photograph Your Life is awesome.
Courtney from Click It Up a Notch is awesome.
Kara from Kara Raudenbush Photography is awesome.
Noticing a theme here?
Now let’s organize your photos.
1. Work from one download folder. I use the Eye-fi card, so all of my pictures are downloaded into the Eye-fi folder using magic (aka wi-fi). If you have to manually download photos from your phone or digital camera, just dump them all into one folder. Call it “Photo Downloads” to make it completely obvious. Or you can work from your Dropbox “Camera Uploads” folder, if that’s where your photos land. The process on Apple is kind of the same but a little different if iCloud is involved, sorry. We’ll cover that another time. This is partly why I don’t rely on the Apple iCloud. I don’t want to have tons of duplicates to go through.
2. Starting from the top of the pile, quickly preview a batch of photos. This works the same on PC and mac. Figure out what is in the batch. These are usually from the same project, topic, or event. If you find personal photos, quickly delete the ones you don’t want to keep, and move the ones you do want to keep into your folder labeled for your personal pictures. More on that in step 10 below.
3. Delete. If you are reviewing a batch of pictures you took for an article, perhaps a trip you took or a project you completed, then quickly review the batch and delete all unacceptable photos. BE RUTHLESS and delete everything you don’t need. Having trouble hitting the delete key? Start with the five types of photos to toss.
4. Rename. Still working in the folder where they are downloaded, rename these photos, but do it in batches. You can batch rename in just a few steps:
- Click on the first photo in the batch
- Shift+Click on the last photo in the batch.
- Rename the entire batch.
It’s important to rename the entire batch now, before you even think about writing your post and inserting pictures, because a properly named photo will get better SEO. A photo named DSC4253.jpg gets you nothing for SEO.
If you are working on a mac, you can rename in batches by clicking on the first in a series, then shift+click on the last photo in the batch, then click Photos, Batch Change, then in the smaller menu choose Title, Text, and type in your file naming that works with your naming scheme. Be sure to check Append A Number to Each Photo so you keep them in order.
5. Move the photos into folders. Now, these photos are ready to be moved to your file system. My file system for blogging has a few key parts. If it is a major article, then I have a file under My Photos>Articles>(Name of the Article or Brand). If it is a minor article, maybe I just have one photo, then I just place it under My Photos>Articles, knowing that I can find it again later on a search because I have renamed the file in step 4 with relevant keywords. Grab the entire batch of photos that make sense for one topic, article, or event (Click on the first photo, Shift click on the last photo), and drag the whole batch over to the appropriate file in your computer’s file structure.
6. Edit. At this point in the process, I will click on that folder where I just moved the photos, make a few quick edits to the photos if needed, usually using Windows Live Essentials editing tools. Eexporting into another program works for some posts, but not here, when I’m going for speed. Then I upload them to a draft post. If I can, I’ll draft an intro line, import all the pictures needed for the post, schedule it or plug in a placeholder in my editorial calendar, and save it in WordPress. I’ll have to go back later to write the text for the post, add info the photo, tighten up the SEO and maybe create a title photo for the feature image, but it’s 80% ready at that point. It’s really important to not get bogged down writing the whole post just now. A few key phrases or thoughts and the properly named pictures are what you need to get these photos off your hard drive and into queue as a post. Once those photos are uploaded into your WordPress Media File and plugged into your post, you can later go and change position and size, so don’t spend time on it here.
7. Repeat again and again. Return to the “Eye-Fi” folder (or the downloads folder, or wherever your photos land) and repeat in rapid fire.
8. Import photos into a draft post. For photos that I might want to use but don’t apply to an imminently planned post, I will rename it with some generic keywords (flowers, Easter, girl, etc.), and then move that photo to my own original stock photo stockpile. That folder is called MyPhotos>AR_Stock_DeMorrow_Originals so that it is located immediately above my MyPhotos>Articles folders, and therefore it’s easy to find. I’ll check this file first later when in need of a good background photo or a generic “kids in park” photo or some such.
9. Write “photo only” posts. For a very few photos, the photo itself might be the entire post. I’ll quickly import that into iPiccy or PicMonkey, add some text, and complete step 5 above.
10. Keep family photos separate and safe. Circling back around to the personal photos, let’s talk turkey, folks. You need to decide which are blogging pictures, and which are family pictures. If they disappeared tomorrow, would you feel like you’d lost part of your family history? Then they are family pictures. Get those out of the big steaming electronic pile of photos, and place them in your personal file. If it isn’t a blog picture but it’s a cute picture of my kids and I want to keep it, then it goes in my personal folder. Mine all get filed under MyPhotos>DeMorrow>2014. I’ve already deleted the crappy ones in the step above, and I’ve still got a lot to go through when I do my annual family photo yearbook. But at least they will all be in one place in in chronological order. I’m miles ahead at this point, and the yearbook will only take a couple of hours to create.
Successfully Organize Hundreds of Blog Photos in Just an Hour
The keys to sorting/filing/using hundreds of photos in just an hour or so, honestly, are staying out of social media sites and email while you are doing it, staying focused, and being ruthless about how many photos you keep. I did an article the other day and I shot 75 photos for the post. 75!!! I ended up using 19 in the post, but clearly I don’t need to keep all 75 in my archives. Usually you just need to pick the best 1 or 5 or so for each event, project, or gathering, and then move on.
Success in the age of endless is not gathering useful information, but rather being able to filter out useless information. This is especially true with organizing digital photos.
Using this method, I honestly was able to organize, rename and file 363 photos and also draft 6 posts in about an hour. The next day I processed another 164 photos and almost completely cleared my Eye-fi folder. Since then I’ve got a healthy amount built back up, but with just an hour, I can easily clear it out again.
Once you’ve organized your photos, be sure to back them up!!!! There’s no point in doing all this work only to get struck by lightning. Check out my favorite new photo backup and management tool, LyveHome, and maybe win one of your very own.
I hope this gives you some sort of framework to work with all of your great photos. Please comment below and let’s find out what’s holding you back, or what tricks you’ve used to organize your blog photos quickly.
Would this help your blogger friends? Please pin!