6 Photo Management Mistakes You’re Making (and How to Fix Them)
In the age of digital photography, the chances are you have a huge, unwieldy photo library that is in desperate need of attention. That’s just the nature of shooting digital. The inherent problem here lies in actually having to manage all of your photos. Cleaning up your existing photo library will be a chore, but there are plenty of mistakes you can avoid when organizing new photos in order to maintain a neat and ordered collection.
That’s why we’ve come up with this list of the top 6 mistakes people make with their photos. Some are easy fixes, and some require a bit more work, but they are all worth rectifying. Your photos are just too valuable for you to make mistakes with them, so this is a heads up for those of you who are just in the beginning stages of learning about photo organizing and preservation.
Mistake #1. You don’t have a centralised digital Photo “Hub”
The foundation of good organizing is to keep like with like instead of having everything scattered about, so why should your photos be any different? They need to be collected in one central (and safe) location, so that you know where to look for them. A digital photo hub is the one place where all your photos can live safely together, and it’s the secret weapon in your organizational arsenal. Every photo you take goes there, and every photo you share (or use for a project) comes out of there.
Most importantly too, a centralised hub can be easily backed up to protect your precious memories (more on that later!). A digital photo hub is generally a computer with a big enough hard drive capacity to store all of your photos on – we recommend at least 1TB or storage for an average-sized photo library.
The Solution: Check the storage space on your computer and if you don’t have enough space, you may wish to consider upgrading the hard drive (we can do this for you), buying a refurbished computer with a large hard drive or buying a new computer. Be cautious though as many newer computers do not come with large storage and so it is something you should consider when buying a new computer (click here for more tips on what to look for when buying a new computer). Once you have a digital hub, import all of your photos, ideally into a photo management software tool such as “Photos” for Mac or “Google Photos” for Windows users.
Mistake #2. You Leave Your Photos on Your SD card
You spend the day taking loads of photos on your SLR, you come home, you’re exhausted, and you tell yourself, “I’ll copy the photos tomorrow.” Except you don’t and they’ll probably stay there until you run out of space on your SD card and are forced to move them to make space for more photos.
The Solution: Make the effort to copy your photos no more than 24 hours after you’ve taken them on an SLR or on regular occasions, especially after a holiday, if you have lots of snaps on your phone. This way you don’t have to worry about remembering any details related to the shoot.
Mistake #3. You Don’t Label Your Files
When you’re transferring your files from your camera or phone to your storage drive, the first thing you should do is add any information to the metadata that can help identify the photos. This is one of the most important things you’re going to want to do so that you can easily search for and recognize photos and photo collections. By renaming your files as you transfer them, you’re able to add important context such as location, people, events, or even content of screenshots.
The Solution: Immediately after you transfer your photos, either rename the files in a consistent manner or add labels to the metadata. As we download so much digital clutter every day that it would be almost impossible to sit there and rename everything. We, therefore, recommend bulk tagging photos from a particular holiday and labelling the ones that are your favourite or you know you will need to access them easily in the future e.g. scans of your passport. When you are organizing your photos, you want to pick a sorting style, and then be consistent with that pattern. When you rename your files in a pattern, it not only keeps everything organized, but it let’s you see what you have at a quick glance, so you’ll be more likely to look at your photos and enjoy them.
Mistake #4. You Have photos Scattered all over the Place
We are all guilty of this – photos scattered across multiple computers, external hard drives, CDs and on various social media platforms. When you have photos all over the place it makes it incredibly difficult to manage and easily access the photos you want, let alone ensuring they are safely backed up.
The Solution: Why not put regular photo organising on your calendar? When you take the time to schedule regular maintenance for your photos (or anything in life, really), it saves you a whole lot of time later on. When you make an appointment with yourself to transfer your photos off your phone, you then create room for new memories to come into your life instead of feeling guilty that you haven’t dealt with the old ones! You can even scan any printed photos into your photo library using apps such as Google Scan.
Mistake #5. You are not Deleting the Rubbish
Gone were the days when great thought was taken into snapping a photo to save the precious film. Today, we are all trigger happy with taking photos, screenshots and even letting our kids loose with our devices! As a result there are hundreds, even thousands of photos that would not be worthy of printing in the olden days and these can clog up and clutter our digital photo libraries.
The Solution: Take the time to delete photos you don’t want as you import them, or even better still, as you take them. If they are photos you need for work or a certain project, you can label them and set your photo management software to “hide” them if you wish.
Mistake #6. You do not have a Robust Backup
What if your computer crashes tomorrow? What if you lose your phone? Do you have a clear backup strategy for your photo collection? Unfortunately, not many people do. Don’t make this mistake with your photos! There are far too many hazards out there, like natural disasters, tech crashes, and household (read phone-in-the-toilet) occurrences that can derail your plans for the perfect photo legacy. Having a clear backup strategy combats this problem because you’ll be prepared, and instead of losing everything, you will drastically minimize the loss.
Be cautious about using the Cloud too. iCloud is NOT a robust backup solution, it is a synchronizing software – if you accidentally delete photos off a device, the delete will happen on all devices if set to synchronise. Many customers fall into this trap and the results can be devastating.
The Solution: Have an absolute minimum of two copies of your photos. We recommend implementing a 3-2-1 backup strategy whereby you have 3 copies of your data, in at least 2 different formats (i.e. on an external hard drive and in the Cloud) with 1 in a different “offsite” location (e.g. in the Cloud or in another physical location). Incorporate the backup process into your original transfer and renaming process, or better still have your backup configured in a way to take regular automatic backups.
What Photo Management Mistakes are You Making?
These are just six of the most common mistakes when it comes to photo management. If you take steps to rectify these mistakes, you will be in an excellent position to have a well-organised photo library and have peace of mind that your precious memories are protected. For more tips on best photo management practices, read our guide on how to “Protect Your Precious Memories: 6 Ways to Store & Organise your Photos”
If you need help implementing a good photo management strategy or need guidance on how to get the most out of your photo management software e.g. learning how to add metadata and create smart albums, Tekkie Help runs various hands-on and interactive workshops which focus on teaching you how to manage and organise your photos. The workshops are held in Singapore (soon to be available online – watch this space!) with small groups of up to 9 students. On the Foundation workshop, we will teach you how to create a centralised photo hub, how to import photos, how to add metadata, create albums, edit photos, share photos and most importantly back up. This is available for Mac users and Windows users. We also offer an Advanced Photo Management workshop for people wanting to learn how to manage multiple family members’ photos, how to identify and remove duplicates and how to create photo books and calendars etc.
**NEW ONLINE WORKSHOPS** – Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic we are now running our photo management workshops online.
If you need any help or further advice, please call us on 81138682.