Digital Photo Organization

What’s the one digital item you find trickiest to keep organized?

For me, it’s photos.

A lot of readers have asked about this and when a friend asked the same question just the other day, that was my clue it was time to share.

I have a confession though – I wouldn’t call my way anything special, it’s just what I do for now. I love seeing ideas of how others organize, even if I don’t end up doing it that way, so hopefully, you can find some inspiration to clean up your photo files and share any great tips you have with me!

Part of the reason my friend asked how I organized them was because I can easily pull up old photos – some of which I’ve shared here on Piano Pantry.

Can I make one more confession?

My way isn’t MY way.


If Not Yours, Then Who’s?

In honor of being able to find old photos quickly, I thought it would be fun to quickly share a few from where this all started in my life.

When I first met my husband back in 2001 (at the age of 20) he was a wedding photographer. While he did beautiful wedding portraits, his biggest love was taking candid shots.

Here’s the very first candid photo he ever took of me. We were on our first date. It was the 4th of July and we spent the day at my home town’s beautiful Fair Grounds.

We took a helicopter ride that day. Not too shabby for a first date, I must say!

This was just a few weeks later – the first time I helped him do a wedding shoot. It was an outdoor wedding and all I mostly remember unfortunately was how hot it was. I think I have my eye on him though, what do you think? 😉


Ok, enough of the mushy reminiscing and onto what you’re really here for – organizational tips!


Photo File Organization

Drew, with all his photography programs and such, had a great system. He started with the lettering AA. The next file was AB, AC, AD, etc. all the way through AZ.

Following that came BA, BB, BC, BD, BE, etc. and it continued. If I did my math right, using 27 letters of the alphabet with 27 letters of the alphabet gives you 729 file possibilities. Each file name was then followed by the exact date (M-D-Y) and description of the event.

We did get away from using this system once he was no longer doing the photography and we weren’t traveling as much. I then started ordering my files in a slightly different way. I started with naming the file by (YEAR.MONTH) followed by a description. This keeps the files in chronological order.

My studio photo files look like this.


Individual Files

I’ve never gotten particular about naming individual photo files any certain way. I generally just keep its original file name. I did try a file renaming software recently and they’re pretty cool. Unfortunately, I think the program may have gotten removed somehow from my computer and I don’t remember the name of it (just Google “file renaming software”). You can select groups of photos then specify how you want the files to be named. These, for example, were photos from my GIML training in 2016 so I named them (GIML-2016) then simply numbered the photos.


Storage Location

All my photos are kept in one “Photos” file on my iCloud Drive.

I use several of the file management programs out there in some way, shape, or form. Google Drive, iCloud Drive, and Dropbox.

While I especially love Dropbox, you can only jump from free (2GB) to $9.99/month for 1TB (100GB). You almost can’t beat iCloud Drive at $0.99 per month for 50 GB, so that’s where my photos live.

I feel the need to also state that I do not use the iCloud Photo Stream feature. It kinda drives me crazy! I prefer to simply transfer photos off of my phone once a month (if I’m lucky!).

How do you organize your photos?


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