Confusing Photo Organizing Terms Explained

Photo organizing is about telling your story in photos. What would the prom be without pictures? Remember that funny thing your uncle did at the reunion? Isn’t it crazy how your teens were just chubby babies a minute ago? Those stories are why we take and keep our pictures. Learning how to play with your digital pictures can take a minute if you’ve spent a lifetime playing with film and print pictures. One thing that makes digital photo organizing easier is having confusing photo organizing terms explained.

Confusing Photo Organizing Explained

Confusing Photo Organizing Terms Explained

Want to protect your digital photos, but think backups and syncs are the same thing? You aren’t alone.

Ever hit a key to delete a photo and see the word Remove instead?

Folders and albums might be the same thing…right?

File structure, library and catalog all sound similar, but they are very different animals.

Just a reminder, I’m inviting you to join me during Photo Organizing Office Hours. I need to do some work on my own photos, and you do, too. Get all the details here for Photo Organizing Office Hours, and I’ll see you on Tuesdays in May.

Photo Organizing Office Hours-link- from HeartWork Organizing

Now about those confusing photo organizing terms explained…

Explained: Photo Backup versus Photo Sync

A photo sync keeps all devices involved holding the same data at the same time. Apple Photos does this really well. What happens to photos on your iPhone also shows up in the exact same way on your Mac and iPad, too, if you are connected to the iCloud. This also means that what gets deleted in one place also gets deleted in the others. Convenient, but there’s no history. A photo backup, on the other hand, maintains a history of your data for some period of time., for example, keeps your data for 30 days by default, an extended history of one year if enabled, or forever for additional cost. Real world example? Your teen doesn’t like the way she looks in braces, so she grabs your phone and deletes all the photos of herself. Because your devices are synced, those photos delete everywhere immediately and from the (Apple Photos) Recently Deleted album in about 40 days. If you have a photo backup, you can still restore those pictures, even if you don’t notice for months.

Explained: Remove versus Delete

Speaking of deleting, Remove and Delete commands are not the same thing. Generally you’ll see a Remove option when you are working on a grouping of photos inside an album. You can Remove a photo from the grouping but not Delete it from your files. But I’ll admit, some of the photo programs aren’t super clear when you are doing what. It’s a bummer to waste time deleting things when you are accidentally just removing, instead. When in doubt, I always like to check the system trash can to see if what I deleted actually ended up in the trash can.

Explained: Album versus Folder

What would you be removing from? In most photo management programs (but not all), a Folder is a physical location on your hard drive for a group of photos, but an Album is a virtual group of photos. If you are a PC user, this can be a bit hard to wrap your head around, because you are very used to seeing your files in one place and one place only. A PC, on its own, doesn’t even have the ability to create digital photo albums. A good photo management tool, like Apple Photos or (affiliate link), lets you create albums without duplicating or moving your photos. Pretty cool. Still a little fuzzy? Think Blockbuster Video versus Netflix, and it starts to make sense.

Your Disorganized Photos are like Blockbuster Video

Explained: File structure, Photo Library, and Photo Catalog

File structure, library, and catalog…all the same thing? Not at all. Your file structure is the hierarchy that you see in your PC File Explorer. Folders can have both sub-folders and/or individual files. A photo library, on the other hand, is where your photos might live inside a photo app (aka a photo management program), like Apple Photos. Technically it’s a “managed library,” which means you shouldn’t muck around with those files in the Finder or File explorer. Instead, you should only work inside the software to play with your photos. For example, use the Apple Photos library to do things like import, edit, and export your photos. A photo catalog is a bit different because all the fancy instructions added to a photo, like adding face tags, editing, and putting in albums, gets stored in a catalog, while the core photo is visible in the file manager (or Mac Finder). But while you can see your photos in Finder/file manager, once you start working with a photo management program, like Mylio or Lightroom, you should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS keep working inside the program so the photo catalog can keep all the added information (like edits, keywords, and facetags) straight for you. Photo libraries and Photo catalogs are similar, in that they both are where a photo management program keeps information about your photos. They just work a bit differently to help you manage your information about your photos.

Why are Photo Organizing Terms so Confusing?

Have you noticed that you’ve become a better photographer over the last thirty years or so? The field of digital photo management is still evolving. We’ve only had digital photography since about 2000 or so. The iPhone was introduced in 2007. At first, all we could do was take a photo, but now we come to expect backup, syncing to other devices, editing, sharing, video capture, organizing, and so much more for larger and larger photo files. Photo management programs (also called apps), continue to evolve to handle improved technology and consumer demands. While the photo management tools get better each year, the companies developing these programs are catching up with training with photo organizing terms explained.

Where to get Photo Organizing Terms Explained

We love to help you “play” with your photos. What’s the point in having ten thousand photos…or one hundred thousand photos…if you never look at them?

Or why keep photos at all if they feel disorganized and frustrating?

How do you organize your favorite photos to share in something like Grandma’s brag book, but on your phone?

That’s why my team and I have set aside one hour each week in May to help you organize your photos. Photo Organizing Office Hours are a time for you to organize your photos, using the tools you already have. It’s quiet time. Think of it as study hall or co-working. No lecture, just support. My team and I will answer simple questions to help you over stumbling blocks (like commands to create a Grandma’s Brag Book Album on Apple Photos: Select a group of photos>>right mouse click>>Add to >>New Album>>Create New>> Type Grandma’s Brag Book. Voila!)

If you need photo organizing terms explained, come to the Photo Organizing office hours. We can help.

Come once or come to all sessions. Register now to get the invitation to the Photo Organizing Office Hours hosted by HeartWork Organizing. Can’t wait to see you there.



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