Where the heck do we store, protect and effectively organize our photo libraries?Our collection started off innocently enough - With loads of hard disk space (100GB), we stored each photo on our respective laptops. If I wanted a photo of Heathers, she would put it on a memory card and I would copy it to my laptop. We quickly outgrew this method of photo sharing for a few major reasons: duplicate photos, missing photos and inadequate storage space. To complicate things, I'm a Mac user and Heather uses Windows. We had an interim method for sharing photos: I would be the "keeper" of the photos on my Mac using iPhoto, but I quickly started to use up my hard drive space and since all of my photos were on my laptop, it become a single source of failure in the event it was stolen, or the hard drive failed. Another challenge was that iPhoto doesn't exist for Windows, so we had to find something for her too. Finally, after much thought and evaluation, I've found a solution that works. Store your photos in a central location One of the biggest challenges with a photo collection is keeping them secured in a central repository. The device that stores your photos should be redundant in the event of a failure and protected from electrical surges using an uninterrupted power supply (UPS).
- The top level of the photo folder has all the months. It goes by the format: YYYY-MM (MMM). So, January 2008, would be 2008-01 (Jan). I find it convenient to have the month in alpha as well numeric (if I didn't use the alpha, I do this ridiculous finger counting thing on my hands to figure out the months).
- Expanding the month folders reveals specific dates, or date ranges. No matter what, I never put folders directly in the month folder. If you must, create a "Random Shots" folder and put them in there.
- To get a bit more specific, for folder names, I'll use [MMDD - <EVENT NAME>]. Examples:
- '0722 - Tigers at Comerica Park', to describe a Tigers game on July 22.
- '0727-28 - Poo Incident of '07', describes the "fun" we had July 27 and 28 weekend in 2007 while replacing the ejector pump in the cottage septic tank.
- 'Random Shots', If there's a specific event, sometimes I'll use that instead of the day as in the case of Canada Day at Pearce's Point.
- I used to rename all of my photo files, but I don't really bother anymore. You can if you like, but if I may make a suggestion - always keep the original file name your camera gives the photo for reference just in case. So 'IMG_8787.JPG', would be renamed 'MyBirthday001 (IMG_8787.JPG)'
- Sometimes Heather and I will have a "photoshoot." We'll go on a trip somewhere and each of us will come home with 1,000 photos. When this happens, I generally create the folder and append our initials to the event. I don't have an example in the above screenshot, but it looks like this:
- 1110-13HW - Vegas Trip, describes Vegas pictures taken between November 10 and 13, by Heather Williams
- 1108-13BL - Vegas Trip, describes Vegas pictures taken between November 8 and 13, by Ben Lucier
That's me in the septic getting ready to pull out the ejector pump (guess what THAT does). I think we were laughing so hard because of the smell and I was probably getting told to "get back down there" by Mike, a good friend of the family.