Susan Walko is a professional organizer who stays up at night dreaming of the best way to help others live an organized life. In her blog posts, she tries to stay short and sweet, but don't let that fool you. She has a depth of knowledge that has helped many on their path to downsizing to a clutter free existence. Check her out at www.organiz-er.com.
Monday, September 2, 2019
How to Find “That” Picture
It is well known how important it is to keep computer files
organized. We create folders and
subfolders, often carefully titling files so that we can easily find what we’re
looking for. After all, if you can’t
find a document, what good is it?
However, we often do not take the same care in organizing our
collections of digital pictures, which can make finding that one picture you’re
searching for a monumental task.
With advancements in technology allowing for the storage of
thousands of pictures on our phones and in our computers, we have developed a
tendency to take more pictures now than in the past since we are no longer
limited by film or even SD cards in most instances. The problem with this arises when all the
pictures we take, including the duplicates and mistakes, end up being stored on
the cloud, in our phone gallery, or on our computer. Often, pictures are stored in multiple
locations. Faced with hundreds or
thousands of pictures, it’s no wonder that few people want to take the time to
go through their pictures before uploading them and dropping them carelessly
into folders online or on their computer.
That is of course, if they even upload them at all. But how do we solve this picture problem?
The first step, ideally, is to limit the number of pictures
you’re taking! I am personally a
proponent of taking fewer pictures and spending more time in the moment
enjoying your surroundings. Last year, I
went on a road trip with a friend for two weeks and I was amazed at how much
time he spent looking at beautiful scenery and animals through a phone screen
as opposed to using his own eyes and living in the moment. I’m not saying that taking photographs is a
bad thing, but I came home with a fraction of the pictures he did and was no
less happy for it. While taking personal
pictures of family and friends is valuable, you must consider that many
photographs of monuments, buildings, art, and attractions can be found online
in better quality, for free, compared to what you can produce yourself. You should ask yourself if every picture is
really worth taking and keeping.
Next, pairing your collection of pictures down to the best
ones as soon as possible will make for less work later. Often, you’ve taken multiple pictures of
people or things in order to get the best shot.
Once you have it, you should consider deleting all the other pictures of
the subject right off your phone or camera soon after to clear space and make
it easy to find the best photo right away.
Finally, it all comes down to organizing your pictures,
whether that be on a computer, storage device, or cloud-based service. Just like with other computer files, you need
to create folders to organize your pictures if you want to be able to easily
locate them. If you can’t find pictures
or it takes too much time, you won’t be able to view or share them and they
will be a burden rather than an asset to you.
Now, there are different ways to organize pictures and it’s mostly a
matter of personal preference and what you’re doing with them that determines
what is best. For instance, you may
choose to simply organize pictures by date, using years or months. Another strategy is to organize pictures by
subject, such as sports, trips, nature, and clubs. Others might find it easier to categorize by
people in pictures with folders for family, friends, or even a single
person. No matter what system you
create, sticking to it and keeping up with it so pictures are always organized
will make them much more useful to you and to others as the years go on, especially
when you’re just trying to find “that” picture you’re thinking of. While it might take more time now, it will
save you time from searching through hundreds of random icons later.
Over time, I’ve learned a couple of tricks that makes
organizing pictures easier. I’ve found
it useful to upload pictures at appropriate and regular intervals, such as
after a trip or event, so I can easily organize and share them. I also make sure to delete the pictures off
my phone or camera once I have uploaded them in order to prevent duplicates
from being uploaded later. For
especially interesting or important pictures, I might also name the individual
pictures something specific like I would a document, such as “Grizzly Bear in
Yellowstone,” so I can easily find it by searching my computer instead of
wading through thumbnails of pictures with randomized names. Lastly, I try to stick to one source for my
pictures so that they’re all in one place and I am careful about cloud
backups. While having the cloud automatically
backup files provides protection against deletion, I like to manually back up
my pictures periodically once I’ve organized them so I am not saving backups of
pictures I have deleted or not yet organized.
By Joe Dumais
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