With the popularity of digital cameras these days, more and more photos are in the digital format. In fact, because it costs to little to take photos, we usually end up taking thousands of them.
So how do you organize your photos so that you can easily find photos later (even years) afterwards?
In my opinion, Google Picasa is the best way to organize your photos. It's free and is a fantastic program for organization and simple image editing. Get it by clicking on the image on the right.
Picasa will find all your photos on your computer, automatically sort them in a timeline (although you can manually sort into Albums later), and allow you to view and sort them easily. It will download your photos from your camera and has some terrific extra features like showing a slideshow (in a much better way than the standard Windows slideshow), creating a Gift CD of your images, and even sharing your photos by uploading to the web.
Best of all, it's very easy to use and you don't need to be a computer genius to organize your images.
If you use Photoshop Elements, this program has a great Photo Browser feature that will import your photos from your camera and help you organize them into folders. Photoshop CS2 has an excellent image organizer, although it's not as easy to use as Elements.
You can sort your photos into "Collections", or "Tag" them for easy retrieval later. I use tagging and the ability to assign stars to my fave images so I can later on create slideshows of just my best images for particular topics.
If you prefer to organize your photos yourself, you can create a folder structure on your computer. When uploading new images, move into the correct folder. The first level of folders is for the year, and then each month and the event name.
It's really simple to implement, doesn't need any extra programs, and is particularly handy to find your images from, say, Uncle Ted's birthday party 2 years ago.
First create the year folders in my "My Pictures" folder (under Windows XP), however, you can place them anywhere on your computer.
When transferring new images from your digital camera, create a new folder for the images. In Windows XP, when I plug in my memory card, I get a prompt from which I can select the "Copy pictures to a folder on my computer using Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard" option. Windows Vista has a similar option. I then follow the prompts, select the year and create a new folder for this set of images.
I name the folder using the month as the first two numbers of the folder name (01 for January, 02 for February etc) and the event as the rest of the name.
Then when I want to find my photos, I simply look at the correct year and folder name.
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