The best tips on organizing your images & backing them up

The best tips on organizing your images & backing them up

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Image files on a computer can quickly resemble a sock drawer if you don't take the time to come up with a way to keep organized.  

It really is a matter of taste how you want the hierarchy to go but remember that keeping originals, color edits and black & whites clearly labeled can save you time and agony.


Where should you save your files during upload & editing?  

Many places!  I find it helpful to keep the originals on an "external backup drive" and then also drop them onto my computer during culling and editing.  

When I have completed the editing process I will also put the edited files onto the "external backup drive".  

Now I have two copies - my computer & the external. Once the entire client session is edited I then drop the "Edited Only" onto another "external drive" for a good sense of security.


Summary Of Backup Locations:

  • Computer - Originals & Edits during editing process.  When editing is done I do not keep the originals on the computer.
  • External Drive #1 - Originals & Final Edits - very important to keep both here!
  • External Drive #2 - Final Edits


Why keep the originals?

This is simple.  Your editing style may change, your client may come back with a request and something you may have gotten rid of during culling can later turn out to be a favorite when you do a yearly review.  

Now of course some may complain that the originals will take up space.  Honestly external hard drives are considerably cheap now-a-days and worth every penny to have the security of knowing if anything happens you haven't lost everything!


Organizing the files

Keeping a structure is important!  My desk may look like I don't know what I am doing but my computer and external drives are my lively hood.  If I can't find images I am potentially losing a sale.  

Making a folder for the session, making a folder for color edits and making a folder for black & whites keeps you organized and saves you time when you are uploading files to galleries. Hopefully you will have returning customers each year so it is really important to take this structure one step further and have them divided up into years.


Summary Of Organization Structure:

  •  Folder: 2017
    • Folder: Last name, First name
      • Put all originals straight from camera
        • Folder: *Edits - (I use an * first so that this folder is on top before the original files since hierarchy is usually alphabetical with symbols first)
          • Folder:  Color Images
          • Folder:  Black & Whites
          • Folder:  Product Designs
          • Folder:  Sneak Peeks (with watermarks) ** For FB sneak peeks its best to save as PNG!

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1 comment
  • REALLY PNG I never would have thought! Backing up is SOO important, I had a computer crash, and WOW it was HORRIBLE trying to scramble to get thing’s back.

    Jenn Canfield Photography on

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