Digital clutter is curable. Once your images are organized it easy to keep them organized. Use the S.O.S. method to combat digital clutter:
- Create a Single “Photo” folder for your images (makes them easier to work with).
- Organize photos by moving them to a temporary #Todo folder in the Photo folder.
- Sort your photos by date, event, person, type, etc.
Now that the basics are in place take the next steps:
- Group your images using sub-folders or by renaming them.
- When you find groups of photos use a photo editor program to add tags. These tags can be location, event, category, or other words that describe the image.
- Delete images that are nearly identical — you do not need multiple copies of the same image. Be brutal and very selective. Deleting images can be very difficult. Start by deleting images that are obviously sub-par. Images usually become less important over time. Revisit folders later and remove more of the less-than-stellar images.
- Be picky and consider deleting inferior versions of the same image. For example, you might have a folder with pictures of the Seattle Space Needle. As you take new Space Needle photos review the similar images and keep the best ones. This reduces the number of images and your images should get progressively better over time.
Deleting images is difficult. You may have 300 photos from a birthday party that you want to keep. Have you ever seen a video camera at a party that just records for hours? This results in very long video that will probably never be watched. However, if that video were edited to 5-minutes of the best moments then it would probably be watched.
If you took 300 images at a birthday party how likely are you to view all of those images? Probably not very likely. If you carefully selected the 20-30 best ones then you are much more likely to view them. Remember this when organizing your images. Strive for image quality rather than quantity. Periodically review past photos and delete the inferior ones. Images may seem fantasic when shot but they may become uninteresting after several months.
This article is a very high-level overview. A professional photo organizer can help get your clutter under control. One huge problem with digital clutter is the risk losing your images if something bad happens. Feel free to contact me for help with digital clutter.
Tony Cataldo, Professional Photo Organizer