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How To Manage Digital Photos For Blogging Life

How To Manage Digital Photos For Blogging

Nearly all of the images on Purfylle are my own (not all, but most) and so it's up to me to keep them safely stored.

As a blogger I have new images to manage almost every day.

If you're a bit haphazard in your filing habits, the way I am, managing all those photos can be a bit of a nightmare.

Like last year. Last year I didn't really plan how I was going to manage my photos and I ended up with a big mess.
Too many photos, too many folders
Yes, that really says over 4000 files in 215 folders for just one year of photos. A year where I didn't really start blogging regularly until late in the year. Please don't ask me to find a photo from last year. 

This year I decided I wasn't going to let it get like that again.

First I took a look at what I was trying to do and why it wasn't working.

Analyse The Situation

Filing  / Categories

What I tried:
Sorting by categories.

Why it failed:
Photos would end up in the wrong category because I would get interrupted and forget to go back and sort them, or I would think I would do it 'later'. Really? How often does 'later' ever happen when it comes to filing?

To make things worse I didn't have clearly defined categories and so I just kept creating new ones. I'd forget about categories I had already created and I would end up with a category list similar to this:

  • pets
  • dogs
  • Geri
  • Freki
  • cats
  • furbabies
  • birds
  • fish
And sometimes photos of the dogs would end up in a category called walks or park. 

Hmmm....category confusion was definitely a part of the problem. 

Copying / Duplicates

What I tried:
Leaving a copy on the SD card incase something went wrong during transfer ( I was having some card reading issues at the time ). Leaving a copy on the card would also act as a back up because you can never have your data in too many places.

Why it failed:
I would end up with a copy on the card and a copy on the computer.

I would want to take more photos using the same the card and it would have a mixture of old and new photos on it. I wouldn't remember if I had moved the photos across to the computer or not and so I would copy everything on the card again - probably filing it in another category altogether - and then I would have three copies, one on the card and two on the computer. Rinse and repeat.

Yeah, definitely not a good system.

Identify What Needs To Change

A good place to start is removing the problems from the equation.

Decision Making

Know in advance where to file photos, instead of creating categories on the fly.

Removing decisions from the day to day filing process would limit the bad decisions that could be made - you know, the decisions that end with a photo of Ada-cat being filed under 'laundry'.


I am a professional procrastinator. 'Later' had to be eliminated from even being a possibility.


If it is done it's done and must be obviously so. I don't want to be wondering if a file has been copied or backed up.

I want to know it's been backed up.

Minimise The Risks

I hadn't done a great job of  photo management so far, so I wanted to minimise how much could go wrong if my new system didn't work out.

I decided I needed to start with a clean slate. This meant I could just leave the mess that was the 2014 system as it was and worry about fixing it in the future should I be so inclined.

Because my needs may change from year to year it would be good to start with a clean slate every year.

Filing by year also puts a limit on just how out of hand my bad filing habits can get.

That was when the light-bulb went off. I could apply that same risk minimisation process to every month.

Suddenly the filing system I should use became obvious to me.

File by year then month.

Seting up all the folders immediately minimises the risk of procrastination takes about a minute and I only have to do it once a year.

Ahhhhh. The craziness of my own bad habits can be contained in a logical fashion.

How To Manage Digital Photos For Blogging

Implement The Solution

Step 1 Create An Image

Take some  photos.

Step 2 Move The image 

Remove the SD card from the camera and plug into the computer, you might just use a cable but this is how it works best for me.

I select all the images on the SD card and hit cut. Not copy, no more unwanted duplicates!

Then I paste them to my folder for the external wireless drive. The external drive was a new addition to our network and has been invaluable.

Because I've already set up a folder for each year and month, the images are pasted into the folder for the month they were taken. So today they are put in 2015/June.

On the days I'm feeling really organised I might create sub folders for specific posts.

If I don't set up those 12 monthly folders at the beginning of the year then it is very likely that I would still be pasting into last month, or still dithering over where my images should go and what I should name the folder.

Step 3 Editing And Resizing

I open the images in my editor. I use Picasa 3 for my image editing. Picasa does not change the original image, it keeps instructions for the changes to the image and reads the instructions to display the edited version. This means I won't lose my original version by mistake.

I  export the edited image at a smaller size to a different location on my computer, not onto the external hard drive. Doing this not only gives me an edited version of the image at the right size for the blog it also gives me a back up of the images.

So far I've:
  • transferred the photo to my computer, 
  • stored the original photo in the correct location, 
  • edited the photo to look good, 
  • resized the photo, 
  • stored the edited version of the photo, 
  • created a back up of the photo in a separate location so it is now safely on two devices,
  • cleared my SD card ready for use

I know I've copied the photos off the SD card.
I know I've filed the original photo correctly.
I know the photos I've chosen for the blog are stored in two locations.

There is no confusion, I haven't had to make any decisions. And it was easy, so easy I didn't even procrastinate.

I haven't even needed the internet yet. The photo is ready to add to my next blog post, and I haven't even had to think about filing and categories.

Step 4 Uploading And Cloud Access

Uploading the image to the blog automatically gives me a virtual copy of the image as well.

If you're a Wordpress blogger you might need to upload to an image hosting site and then link back to your blog. I use Blogger so I'm just guessing.

My image is now stored in 3 locations and one of those locations is off-site in the 'cloud', so I would still have them if my house burned down and I have access to them from anywhere.

Step 5 Double Redundancy 

The images on the external hard drive are the full size originals. The originals are not backed up, only the edited version is.

Ultimately you would back up all of your data daily. But we live in the real world, and lets be honest, daily full data back ups probably aren't going to happen. Performing a snap-shot back up of all of your data at the end of each week or each month or even each quarter - or failing that, just randomly when you remember - is better then not doing it.

At the end of each year it is a good idea to take your back up drive and put it in a cupboard  and (hopefully) never touch again. Start over with a new back-up drive for the new year. Do this every year with a brand new drive and if one drive fails at least not all is lost, the previous years are in the cupboard too.
Too many photos? Keep them organised with ease.

Is It Working?

I have over 3000 photos for this year so far and I can even say it's working. I could actually find a photo if you asked me for it.

I'd say that's a success!

Is your photo filing system working for you?


  1. This is pretty much exactly what I do! Great job getting organized!

  2. Oops! I need to manage and file? File is the "F" word to me.

    1. Ok, so I had already read this one. Hmmm, and I wonder why I can't do stuff? I can't even remember that I already read the instructions!! Sieve brain, much worse than Mommy brain!!

    2. Bah, you can't remember everything you read. But yes sieve brain certainly has it's moments!

  3. I'm not really sure if my filing system is working for me yet because I don't have too many pictures to worry about yet. Right now I'm organizing by post and all of my photos are auto uploaded to the cloud. You made some really great points and I'm glad to hear your process of figuring out what did and did not work for you.

    1. I'm glad all my ramblings were of interest and I'm sure you'll do much better at organising by post then I did!

  4. I like the system you used. Our digital photos can really take over- you have inspired me to tackle it.....AGAIN, lol. Thank you for sharing this with us at Treasure Box Tuesday- pinning! :)

    1. Good luck! I wish I had figured this system out years ago for my personal photos. They are a disaster.

  5. This is a great system. I started doing this for my Project Life photos. I created then month then subfolders for each week. It was working great until I broke my ankle and did nothing. I started this up again this year and so good. It is a good idea for the blog posts as well. I have been filing my blog post pics in a blog post folder that is the same name of the post. So far it is working pretty good but I should separate those into months as well. Thanks for the great tips. I need to work on my system a little more and you have some great ideas! Also, thanks for detailing what didn't work. That helps a lot!

    1. I'm glad I could help with what not to do as much as with what works. It's so easy to fall out of the habit of filing.

  6. Thanks for the great post! This is a universal challenge for bloggers for sure. Do you rename your digital files using a consistent naming convention as well? I find this step to be particularly useful in hunting down a specific photo if it gets separated from its designated file folder.

    1. I wish I were that organised Natalie. Good naming conventions are a great idea.

  7. Such good advice.
    I tend to keep the photos on the SD card or my phones photo stream (so I have one ready for instagram and as a backup) then I can't remember which is transferred and which isn't!
    I created an extra column in my blog spreadsheet, which I record date posted, URL, short link etc which was "transferred to published Folder" and another "backed up on cloud" that is helping but I think the months folder idea will really help divide and conquer within those files. Thanks.

    1. A year later and this system is still working the best for me. I'm impressed you manage to keep a spreadsheet as well.


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