I take a LOT of photos over the course of the year, and without a proper filing system, finding photos again is an absolute nightmare. I know this because 2012 is a bit of a mess and I'm dreading having to sort it out! I've vowed that 2013 is going to be different so I've made a couple of changes to how I organise my photos that should hopefully help.
I wrote a post several months ago about how I organised my photos, and this is still pretty much what I do, except now I have added in a couple of steps. These extra steps help me when it comes to doing something with my photos, like making my yearly photo book or finding pictures to use in the blog.
Firstly, here's what my files now look like.
1) Photos are filed first by year, then in a folder with the date plus a custom name. Each photo is then also given a name with the date, custom name plus individual file name. (eg 21030109-beach-001) This is the same as before - no changes here!
2) I go through each of these and toss out any that don't make the cut (no point in these clogging up my hard drive!) I then open any of these that I want to edit in Photoshop and carry out my edits either manually or by batching. Again, this is exactly the same I as I have done previously. (You can see the previous post if you want more information about these steps)
3) Once I have finished editing I save these as unflattened (meaning all the layers are still visible) PSD files, and keep these in a separate folder marked PSD files. This way I can go back in and tweak the edits at any time without having to start from scratch. This is also a very non-destructive way of editing and storing.
4) Next, I take these PSD files and apply sharpening for print, flatten the layers and save as a JPEG. Again, I save these in a separate folder marked "For Print". I don't resize any photos at this time as I am not sure at this stage what I intend to use them for, this way they are still at full size and could be made into a huge canvas if I wanted to.
5) Next, I take any that I want to share on the blog and save a copy for web at 720 pixels wide, and as a .png file. I may not use all of these, but they are ready to go should I want to use them in a upcoming blog post. Of course, if you don't write a blog you can skip this step!
6) Next I upload my ready to print flattened JPEG's to my SmugMug account for back up and general viewing by friends and family. This way, if they want to print any of these they can simply download and upload to their print lab, or can buy prints directly through SmugMug.
7) Each month, I intend to go through the all the "For Print" files and create layouts for the Blurb book that I like to make each year - this is to save having to do a whole year at once which is painful and time consuming. (One month at a time is the goal!) I will also see if there are any that I want to print for the home - I like to change around my photos a lot so I do this quite often.
9) I've been using Photoshop to do my Photo Book layouts - I just find it easier to do this in Photoshop as it I know where everything is there although the BookSmart software works pretty well - so I have one final folder where I save each spread to once I have completed it. (The one below is the only one I have done so far!)
Please note I've just really shared my filing system here, things like file types, color space and prepping your images for print are all important too, but too long to go into here! If you are interested in hearing more about these things I can write up a separate post on them.
That about covers it!
How do you organise your photos? Does anyone have any tips they would like to share?