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Organizing photos

Peter Skouhus , Jan 30, 2006; 10:27 p.m.


I'm trying to come up with an approach to keep all my photo organized. I've search the web for a standard i.e. standard category, standard keywords etc. Preferably in a format (i.e. xml) that I can import into Photoshop Elements.

Does such thing exist? or does everyone develop their own standard?

How do you categorize your photos?

Best regards,



Ulrich Michel , Jan 30, 2006; 11:16 p.m.

<I'm trying to come up with an approach to keep all my photo organized.> I feel your pain, me to. Regards, Michel

Peter Glass , Jan 31, 2006; 01:30 a.m.

Uh...organize in them folders?

Pete Baker , Jan 31, 2006; 03:20 a.m.

By Format

I separate by format, then roll number, in regular directories:

mf_aa_01 (Medium Format, Roll AA, Shot 01)
n_bc_23 (35mm negative, Roll BC, Shot 23)
s_az_03 (35mm slide, Roll AZ, Shot 03)

For digital I use constant shot numbering and just put them in directories by the thousand:


Luis Saavedra , Jan 31, 2006; 05:46 a.m.

I use the following system:

For film: XYZ yy-rrr (ff)
where XYZ refers to the media (BWN for B&W negative, CLN for color negative and SLD for slides), yy refers to the year, rrr refers to the roll number shot in that year and ff refers to the frame number into that roll. (e.g. BWN 05-023 (12) leads to the 12th frame of the 23th roll of B&N negative shot in 2005)

For digital I use: XYZ-yymm-counter
where XYZ refers to the camera model (20D, LC1, 1Ds or whatever), yymm refers to year and month respectively and followed by an increasing number for each shot.

Hope this helps

Peter Skouhus , Jan 31, 2006; 07:24 p.m.


Thank you for all your inputs. I guess that nobody actually sit down and organize by i.e. People, Equipment, Sun Rise, Sun Down etc.?

How do you then browse you photos, simply by keeping in mind roughly when the picture was taken and go to there?

Best regards,


Emre Safak , Jan 31, 2006; 07:45 p.m.

I organize by Event, Location, Date, People.

Geoff Mower , Jan 31, 2006; 10:35 p.m.

I have no idea about a standardised system, but the ZoomBrowser software that came with my Canon EOS 350D has a search facility that can search on date, "star rating" (1/2/3), keywords, and free text comments.

I'm only a hobbyist with one digital camera, but this works for me. I classify photos into date folders (the software does this, too) and use a keyword set for place, people, style, etc.

Kevin Mills , Jan 31, 2006; 11:13 p.m.

Get the DAM book.


This book, by Peter Krough, is all about organizing large photo catalogs. It might be overkill if your just organizing personal stuff. I'm just getting through my first pass at the book. It's very thorough. I'm planning on implementing many of his practices in my work because I'm tired of alway hunting for photos in my various HDDs and countless directories.

Robert Martin , Feb 02, 2006; 10:56 a.m.

I rename my images using EXIF data as follows:

YYYY-MM-DD-HHMMSSCam Where: YYYY - Year, MM - Month, DD - Day, HH - Hour (24 hr mode), MM - Minute, SS - Seconds, Cam - Camera (like D70, D200, etc). This gives me unique names for all images and I have no confilcts if put in the same folder.

Next you need to use software that has the ability to tag the images. I am using Adobe Photoshop Album 2, but there are several available that have similar capabilities. You can attach tags to images - more than one tag can be attached to each image. If I move the image off the computer, Adobe Photoshop Album 2 keeps up with where I move it and it also keeps a small thumbnail available on the computer so I can still see the image. If I need the full size file in the future, it will tell me which CD/DVD contains the image.

Images can be in any number of folders, where they are located does not matter since you have them tagged. When you select a tag, the software will show them all together. Photoshop Album 2 also allows you to use it like a brower for Photoshop and edit images using a photo editor (Photoshop and others).

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