I mainly shoot landscapes and aerial photos. I've never had a great organizational system. My method consists of a photography folder on my desktop, in that is a "dump or unedited folder" where I dump all photos after a session. From there I organize into genre of photo, i.e. landscape, aerial, black and white, etc.
Looking for a better method
I have several cameras.
I'm currently storing the photos chronologically, then by subject, then by camera.
Example: 2018\month-day\subject\camera\photo files
Drive2:/DSLR/YYYY/YYYYMMDD Activity-Location-Etc/SelectedPhotos/ [selected photos and edits will go into this folder]
Drive3:/Video/YYYY/YYYYMMDD Activity-Location-Etc/videos1234.mp4 [still photos from GoPros and DJIs also land in these folders]
SSDrive1:/VideoEditing/YYYY/YYYYMMDD Activity-Location-Etc/ photo and video files supporting a video are copied into this folder
-after a video is completed, a text file is created listing all of the working files used, and these large video file copies are cleared off the SSD leaving only the DaVinci project skeleton file; if I want to go back and rework a video, I pull up the text file, round up the associated files, and bring them back into the project workspace
-with video files always expanding and migrating to different drives, I can never be too sure about maintaining absolute drive structure, so I just park working files in SSDrive1, so my projects can pull from an easy, fixed drive location/name
Multiple camera-type work can get confusing, because it's common for me to shoot both DSLR and GoPro/DJI stuff for the same activity. I try to bring the GoPro/DJI stills into my DSLR/…/SelectedPhotos directory, but sometimes I mistakenly edit the stills and leave them in the Video/ location.
Drive1 and Drive2 are each mirrored because that's where most of the day-to-day changes happen. Drive3 is going to become a mirrored drive when I move to a more easily expandable networked drive system. Drives 1,2 and 3 get periodic backups; one backup drive sits in a fire safe, the other at work.
Drive0 is for the OS and program files.
I just drop them in "my pictures" and then into a file starting with year-month-day and sometimes a little note about the subject of the pictures , for example 2018-9-20-Moab. Any pictures I edit go right back in the same folder with "edit" added to the filename, and then and pictures I've resized for uploading have "small" added to the filename, so there are plenty that end in "editsmall". Bracketed shots for HDR go in my pictures>HDR>bracketed pics>year-month-day and then after HDR processing they go in HDR>processed pics>year-month-day. Similar for aerial drone shots, though and drone HDRs go in the same folder as DSLR HDRs.
I use lightroom to cull, keyword and copy images during the import process. Everything in the import goes into a folder named with date and subject. That folder goes into the main photos folder.
Selects that are finished and exported from lightroom go into the project folder that each job has. If there were edits in photoshop and a .psd file it goes in their too.
For personal finished images that I put online they all get dumped into folder on my desktop so its easy to find them if I need to. This is a very sloppy way to do it but it keeps things in one place which is good enough for me.
In lightroom I find that organizing by date is the easiest way for me to find things. Its easy for me to remember I took Y photo after X but before Z. Keywords are great but usually just scrolling through the catalog chronologically is fast enough.
Lightroom offers much more in depth workflows for managing images but this has worked for me for years.
Chronological, but I copy the first file in a series to a second folder and add the event info at the beginning of the file name.
Allows me to sort by name or date and scroll through one thumbnail from each series.
Girlfriend renames, resorts, regroups and copies to new folder, then copies to another folder, then resorts and regroups, then copies to new folder, then renames and resorts,,, ends up with 20 copies of same snapshot in 12 different folders with 9 different names and she still can't find shit.
ETA: Anything I edit gets a tag at the end of the file name and stored in same folder as original and/or secondary folder based on end use.
Ex., pics uploaded to arfcom get edited, name tag and put in ARF folder. Helps remind me where I have uploaded photos.
A special project, depending on importance, gets copies of original series in its own folder.
ETA: 2. I divide chronological photos by camera, file type and number, so folder is named
"Nikon D5 JPG D_1000-1892"
"Nikon D5 JPG D_1893-2700"
"Nikon D5 NEF D_1000-1892"
"Nikon D5 NEF D_1893-2700"
"Galaxy Note 4...
I got into the habit of limiting folders to several thousand images due to losses when copying to other drives. That gives me 5 folders for every 10,000 jpgs then I bump the file name in camera from D_xxxx to E_xxxx which keeps it looking sweet in folder view.
So 40,000 pics gives me about 3000 series thumbnails, and 40 to 50 easily found and decipherable folders.
I'm going to start doing video, need to come up with a solution there. Just did an hour of video, 5 files with multiple(10) takes on each. Crap. I'm going to have to start writing shit down.
I have a directory structure set up by
Pirmary Subject Group
Secondary Subject Group
So, for example, pictures for Tract BI2001 pictures would be
I also make the time to give everything a Title in LR so I can search for the metadata.
I've tried just about everything and this seems to work the best for me.
I have everything in subdivided folders. Current projects, projects that need sorting or culled, and everything else in subject folders with sub folders per date. For examples, Current Projects>Alaska>Aurora>KP6 09-18-18.
Raw files are in the folder, with a sub folder for .psd and final .jpg files.
This does remind me that I need to take some time and seriously sit down and cull stuff though.
Most of the pictures I shoot nowadays are on my phone. They go to Google Photos, and they're arranged by date there. If I shoot pictures with my still camera, I'll sometimes upload at least the good ones, or ones I may want to share, to Google Photos.
For local storage, I try to store all photos, both from camera and phone.
I do it by directory,
Year\Month\Day or event
For video, since I'm doing that a lot now around my paramotor flying, I do one master folder for finished video projects that get uploaded to YouTube, then all the raw video and clips go into directories
Year\Month\Day or event\
then either into a subdirectory called 'clips', where I take smaller clips of footage from my action camera, or into B-roll, mostly either vloggy type shots or b-roll type shots I get on my main camera.
All are stored on an external USB drive, 4TB in size, and to my physical server, that has 11TB total space available.
Two copies is one, and one is none. Back your shit up, people.
Never mind, sorry
1st folder and parent "Photos"
2nd level folders "Active" (since I started in digital), "Inactive" (primarily scans of photos, slides, documents, forms, census pages, etc.)
3rd level folders in Active is by camera brand (Canon-all cameras, Sony, Panasonic, Phone)
4th level folders (for Sony, and Panasonic only, are individual cameras)
5th level folders are by date taken, and within the dated folders are the individual files (RAW (DNG when needed) and/or Jpgs)
I use Lightroom in which I have set up smart collections by which I can pull up all photos taken by individual cameras or by specific lens.
Additionally, I use keywords extensively. I have somewhere around 30,000 images.