Photography Workflow – How to store your photos

Recently I bought myself another external hard drive. As my new camera takes much larger files, I needed some more storage. It got me thinking about how we store all these digital negatives. My biggest fear when it comes to my photos is losing images. Technology is great when it works, but what happens when it fails?

That is why I back-up, not once, not twice, but three times.

First I download all my images to my computer, they go to the “Pictures” folder on my laptop.

What I should do next is rename the file with a title that will tell me what is in the folder, leaving the date taken on the end. I have been really slack and I have a pile sitting there since January that need sorting.

I then need to copy these files (RAW in my case but you may shoot JPG’s) onto my external hard drive, but I haven’t because I am slack, and also busy.

On my hard drive I have folders labeled Photography, and Family, in my Photography folder I have all the photos that don’t have my children in them, in my family folder all the photos of my children go here.

This is entirely personal, and the way I do it is time consuming, but I like to have them separated you can label them anyway you like.

If these were files I had taken of an event or someones children (any photos not for me) I would back these up immediately onto a disc as well.

I open the RAW files up into Lightroom and edit away, these then get exported into a folder called Lightroom edits. When the RAW files are exported from Lightroom they are turned into JPGS. Another helpful tip when using Lightroom, is that you can add keywords to your photos before exporting, this is very helpful when searching for images. I don’t use this feature often enough, but I should.

I upload the edited photos to Flickr, not all of them, but most of them, I can make them private if I just want them on there as a back up without having to show the whole world.

I then put all the edited copies into their respective folders (the ones I named earlier), but I keep them separate from the RAW files, so for an example if I took a picture of my daughter with her first lost tooth, it would be stored in folders like this:

FAMILY > KIDS > 2010 > FEBRUARY > First Lost Tooth > RAW and JPG

I then back up these files onto disc, listing them by date, and titles on the outside of the disc.

I can now delete them from my laptop hard drive knowing they are safely recorded onto the external drive, flickr and cd or dvd.

How do you store your photos? Do you have any tips for me? I am always looking at ways to shorten the amount of time I spend on the computer.

4 Comments Photography Workflow – How to store your photos

  1. norfickchick August 13, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    I load mine into iPhoto on my Mac. Then I title them in this format “20110813 Subject” so I can see straight away what the date of the photo is.

    Then I export them into the 2011 folder in my pictures folder. In there I have separate folders for each month, for events that specifically happened in that month – eg 16 Fred’s birthday, 6-16 Holiday etc.

    In the 2011 folder I also have folders for things that happen over a period of time or that we do more than once, eg school, swimming lessons, sunrises, garden etc. Sometimes I make more subfolders in those as well.

    I usually back up my whole hard drive once a week, and also make a copy of the 2011 photos folder onto another hard drive once a week.

    For each 2-3 months, whenever I have enough to fill a DVD, I make two backup DVDs and keep one at work and one at home. I’ve been a bit slack this year & haven’t done that at all, which is why I use the extra hard drive. But everything up to this year is also on DVDs so I don’t need to put that on the hard drive as well.

    I don’t keep the photos in iPhoto for more than about 12 months, so for about a year there are actually 2 copies on my Mac.

    A bit complicated but it works for me. I also print the photos I want to keep in my albums every month or so, so I have them in hard copy too.

    1. admin August 13, 2011 at 10:43 PM

      I have not printed any since OCTOBER last year. I have spent today sorting all my photos into folders like I should have been doing, it’s almost organised enough for me to start selecting some to print. UGH.

  2. Courtney @ Nobashake August 15, 2011 at 8:55 AM

    I have all my photo’s saved on an external hard drive as well as on my computer. A lot of these were uploaded to Picasa but I’m stingy and dont want to pay for the extra storage so havent uploaded anything for a long time. I now have a MacBook Pro so new photo’s get loaded onto iPhoto and them transferred to Pictures folder. I also use picasa for some quick edits, but Lightroom or Photoshop if I want to get creative but its been a while since I’ve found the time. I print quite a few photo’s for family in Tasmania or make Calendars for Christmas presents for the Grandmother inlaw – she loves that kind of thing. So in the end my photo’s get stored in a fair few places and I get a bit confused. I think I will get another External Hard drive to save photo’s on from my mac.

    1. admin August 15, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      My other worry is what if the external hard drive breaks? At least i have them on disc too just in case.


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