Mason Higa
Mason Higa

Mason currently is at the Canon Hollywood Professional Technology and Support Center as a Marketing Associate Specialist, providing on-site support management for the Professional Development Seminars and Workshops in California.

How to easily organize digital photos

March 10, 2015

For so many of us, we are addicted to photography. We eat, breathe and sleep photography. But after the shoot is done, what do you do with your files? I’ve been doing a little spring cleaning and realized that for the past two years, I’ve shot 76,191 photos! Some of you may shoot that much in one summer and, for others that are just beginning, you may be just hitting your 10,000th photograph. Regardless of how many photos you’ve taken, how organized are your files?

Fortunately for me, I’ve had a great organization system that keeps my photos, videos and files all in project folder. Whenever I start a new project for a client, spend the day photographing landscapes or a quick photo shoot for a friend, I immediately come home and offload my files. Living on my desktop is a zip folder titled “YYMMDD_NEWPROJECT.zip.” Clicking on the zip folder uncompresses an expandable and workable folder. I select the folder and change the title of the folder to a custom title that reflects the day’s shoot. For example, we were conducting training at our Professional Technology and Support Center in Hollywood for the EOS C300 Hands-On Workshop. The training occurred on December 10th, 2013 and so I changed the project folder from “YYMMDD_NEWPROJECT.zip” to “20131210_C300HandsOn.”

Embedded within the zip folder are multiple folders for specific purposes. At the beginning of each folder is a two-digit number that will keep the folders organized when sorting numerically/alphabetically.

Within the newly created folder are the following folders:

  • 01 RAW PHOTOS (location of photos from the day’s shoot)
  • 02 VIDEOS (location for videos from the day’s shoot)
  • 03 EDITS (location for any edited files i.e. Adobe Photoshop files, etc.)
  • 04 PROJECT FILES (location for any relevant project files, i.e. contracts)
  • 05 PHOTO EXPORTS (location for exports)
    • LARGE JPEGS (location for large JPEG exports)
    • SMALL JPEGS (location for small JPEG exports)
  • 06 VIDEO EXPORTS (location for video exports)
  • 07 PRINTS (location for files to print)
  • 08 CLIENT FINALS (location for final files for clients)

Now that my project folder has been established, I copy over all of my media to the relevant folder. RAW photos are dropped to the “01 RAW PHOTOS” folder and video files and transferred to “02 VIDEOS.” Now that all of my media files are in their appropriate files, I then rename all the files utilizing the custom naming sequence I created for the folder. As in the above example, all of the photos will be renamed to “20131210_C300HandsOn_sequence number. Within Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software and other third party software, are the capabilities of renaming batch files. In addition, if you have a Macintosh, the Automator application is fantastic at creating custom automated processes. When renaming the video files, I add a “V” for video after the event title — “20131210_C300HandsOn_V_sequence number.

With all of your files now properly organized and titled, I’m now able to refer and search for any of my files in a coherent manner that is relevant to the day’s event.

Please feel free to download the YYMMDD_NEWPROJECT.zip folder to utilize it for your own work or as a starting point to organize your files.

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