Organizing Photos on Your Computer, Part 2


With all the gadgets we have these days, taking pictures is child’s play, but organizing digital photos can be tricky.  Some people never get around to downloading photos off their camera because they don’t quite know where to put them on their PC, or they don’t know what or how to name them. One complaint I hear over and over is that the computer assigns names to individual photos that are ugly, random and completely unhelpful when trying to organize photos, and that makes the whole job just completely frustrating.   What many people don’t know is that you can download batches of photos with an actual English file name, so the computer will assign sequential names to them.

Digital Photo File Structures

What file structure most people have:

My Photos>>>uglynamedfiles.jpg all in one disorganized mess

What some people have:

My Photos>>>Files by Years>>>uglynamedfiles.jpg, still pretty much in a big mess

What you can have:

My Photos>>>Files by Major Categories>>>Sub Categories if Needed>>>pretty files names with your naming structure, like LambChops_Second_Brithday_01.jpg (and more just like it, sequential by number)

The Key To Easy Photo Downloads

I’m about to lapse into PC-talk here, but I’m sure there is a similar Mac operation.  The key is knowing the software that you are using to download the photos.  On a PC, check out Windows Live Photo Gallery, which is a free program that came with my new PC this year, or you can download it.  I don’t think it is the most intuitive program, but it is pretty functional, and it does allow you to download in batches that you have named.  You can read a pretty clear description of how to download batches of photos from your camera into your file structure.  You’ll want to read the second part of that help page, steps 1 and 2, to figure out how to batch them.  Read the instructions carefully if you want to place photos in sub-folders.  You must select the sub-folder under “More Options” where it says to “Review, organize and group items to import” in order to specify where the files should import to.

A note of caution, it’s easy to miss the step about naming the batch of files you are about to download. This is the important step where you substitute an English phrase for the ugly file name that the computer will otherwise assign.  This step in Windows Live Photo Gallery needs improvement, in my humble opinion.  If you have a ton of photos on your camera and you are only downloading a few at a time, you’ll likely scroll down to check off the ones you want to download, and the naming field will scroll right off the top of the page.  Once you’ve checked off the photos you want to import or download, just scroll back up, click on the field that says “Enter a Name”, and don’t get thrown off by the thumbnail picture, which is probably not one of the photos you are actually trying to download.  Wierd, I know.  After you have filled in this file name, proceed with the download.  If you miss this step, you’ll get ugly file names in your download.

Read up on a few more easy ideas on how to organize your photos in digital format, and find a shortcut or two that will work for you.  I’m hoping that I can find the shortcut to doing this same thing in Picasa, which is a photo organizing, editing and sharing program that is gaining in popularity. Should we be surprised?  It’s from Google, after all, and a key part of their world domination plan  I’m pretty sure the same step to naming batches is there, but I haven’t found it yet.  If you know, please share it here.