Back in the days of film cameras, I always thought it was such a waste when I developed my film and half of it was taken up with bad photos. For every great shot there are 5 photos that are blurry, poorly framed, or just not as good as you thought they’d be, especially when you’re photographing kids and pets.
Digital cameras have made it easy to take hundreds of photos and pick and choose the best shots. It’s made amateur photography more accessible. However, it can also clutter your hard drive if you can’t let go of bad photos. Like anything else, if you don’t have a system in place for organizing them, digital photos can become a big headache.
I used to be one of those people that never deleted digital images. I just dumped them all on my hard drive. Now that we have a camera that shoots huge images, we have to be pickier about which images we keep to conserve space on our hard drive.
Here’s how we’ve been choosing and organizing images:
Look at each photo with another set of eyes.
I take most of the photos with our camera, so Tony and I sit down together and quickly go through each photo. If either of us likes the photo, we keep it. Most of the images deleted at this point are just plain bad photos.
Choose between similar images.
Sometimes when I’m trying to get a particular shot, I’ll take five or six similar photos. I used to keep all of them, but now Tony and I go through and choose the best. There’s no reason to quadruple the disc space you’re using with photos that are essentially identical.
Use a practical file system that works for you.
My old camera automatically uploaded images into files and folders by date. This new camera doesn’t. To make it easier on myself, all new photos are dumped into a folder called “New.” From there I delete anything I don’t want to keep, and I manually move the files into folders by date and event.
There are folders for each year and each month within that year. Within the month folders are separate folders for significant events, like “Graduation” or “Honeymoon.” If there is no significant event associated with the photos, then the folder is just named by a date.
This system has made it easy for us to find images quickly. Since I started manually moving images into the folders, it’s also made it easier for me to weed out throw-away photos to conserve space.
Invest in an external hard drive for back ups and archives.
You can get a pretty decent sized external hard drive for about $50 or $60. Ours is 120GB, and we paid $60 for it. We back up all of our photos on this hard drive as well as important documents from our computers. Eventually as our digital photo collection grows, we’ll probably invest in a larger hard drive for archives. This is an essential investment if you take digital photos. It’s like keeping digital negatives. Don’t let a computer malfunction erase all your memories!
How do you manage your digital photos?