Today in “Kicking Butt”: Photo Organization. The other day we talked about taking photos – a gentle reminder for you (and myself) to take the time to appreciate and document the amazing things that are happening right now in our lives. That is kind of the point of “Kicking Butt” in general – to become active participants in our lives instead of just watching it slip through our fingers.
How many memory cards do you have for your digital camera? I have four. Not because I need four, of course, but because I am too afraid to upload my photos to my hard drive. I just keep on snapping away and when the memory card is full, I carefully zip it up in a pocket of my camera bag and that’s where it stays. I’m sure you can pinpoint some serious flaws in my system.
Why would I be paranoid about uploading my photos to my hard drive? Mainly because once uploaded, I can never find them. For example, when someone asks, “Hey, would you mind emailing me a copy of the pic from Grandma’s birthday?”, I get all panicky. It’s in this folder, right?…no?…maybe here….Did I even save it on my hard drive?…Maybe it’s still on the memory card.
Yesterday in “Kicking Butt” we discussed taking more pictures. But why bother really if, once taken, they fade into oblivion. If we want to, um…I don’t know, view our photos, we’re going to have to take them out of our zippered camera bag pocket. A few months ago, I tasked myself with doing just that and surprisingly, it wasn’t as frightening as I thought.
How many of you guys use Picasa? It’s my favorite photo organization tool – not because I’m an expert by any means – it’s just that Picasa is free, simple to learn and does all the tasks I want done with my photos. Picasa is amazing for many reasons which we will get into in a minute.
I followed the advice of a very sage fellow who shares his amazing insight into photo organization over at Organize Pictures. It is a wealth of information – I would highly recommend checking it out. Here’s what I gleaned from it and how I’ve adapted it to my photo organization needs.
What you need to do can be condensed into 5 main steps.
Step 1. Create a folder to specifically hold photos that you are uploading from your camera to your computer. I call my folder “00 – Holding”. Photos that are in a “holding pattern” waiting to be organized. Why the “00″ preceding the title? This is so my computer will categorize my folders numerically (instead of alphabetically) and my Holding Folder will always be at the top of the folder hierarchy – easy to spot. (My subsequent folder titles are preceded by 01, 02, 03 etc, so they will always be found in that order regardless of where the name falls alphabetically. I’ll discuss my other folders in a bit).
Step 2. Set up Picasa to automatically import all photos to your “Holding Folder”.
In Picasa, go to “Preferences”, and then show Picasa which folder you want it to save your imported photos to (under the “General” tab). Easy peasy.
Step 3. Set up Picasa to create separate sub-folders for photos taken on different days. In Picasa, when you click ‘Import’ to import your photos from your camera, you get a screen that looks like this:
Here you can tell Picasa what you want your folder title to be. I set it to automatically title all folders with the date the picture was taken (in the format YYYY-MM-DD). With this supremely easy step, Picasa will organize your photos chronologically and you don’t even have to think about it. Abdolutely nothing to remember!
Now you will have a number of subfolders under your “Holding” folder each titled with the date the photos were taken. In my example below, all my photos were taken on either March 24th, 2012 or March 25, 2012, so I only have 2 folders.
I’m not going to get into all the all the amazing things you can do with Picasa after you’ve uploaded your photos…mainly because most of it is WAY over my head. I use Picasa to do some of my photo editing, especially now that Picnik is going away, but this post is about organization, so let’s stick to the topic, shall we?
Step 4. Add more information to your photo folder titles to help you recall what was happening on that date. So, your photos have all been uploaded into folders titled with the date the photo was taken – awesome! I don’t know about you, but I can hardly remember what I was doing last Tuesday, much less September 19, 2002 for example. If your photos are going to be of any use to you, you’ll need to add some more information to the folder title. I start with the place the photo was taken. “Home”, or “Jackson’s House”, or “Guatemala”. I then add one or more details like “Playdate”, “Grandma’s Birthday”, or “Waterskiing”. I separate all the words with dashes so, for example, my folders look like this:
Step 5. Final step! Move your folders from the “Holding Folder” to a more appropriate category. You saw my folder structure in the screenshot for Step 1 above. Remember to always precede your folder titles with a two digit number so your computer will categorize them in the numerical order you’ve determined rather than alphabetically. I have:
00 – Holding
01 – Family
02 – Blog
03 – Travel
These 4 folders are all I need. All the photos I take fit into either of these categories, so after I’ve uploaded them through Picasa, I move them from my “Holding Folder” into either “Family”, “Blog”, or “Travel”. So, for example, my “Family” folder currently looks like this:
These are all the “Family” photos I took on New Year’s Eve when we were at a cabin in Cle Elum.
I hope this doesn’t sound like a lot of work to you. I promise, Picasa is SIMPLE to set up and once you’ve set the foundation, Picasa does all the work for you. Uploading and organizing your photos is a snap. I am a complete amateur in both photography and technology and I’ve made this system work for me. In fact, it is so simple, I breathe a sigh of relief every time I go to upload my photos. I’ve finally overcome the dread of transferring my pictures from my memory stick! I’ve also found that I willingly take more photos now that I know I’ll be able to, you know, find them…which is good.
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