Photography Tips

A photographer’s spring cleaning: 4 tips for organizing photo storage

Spring is officially here (even though the weather here in Pennsylvania hasn’t seemed to agree). If you’re an avid spring cleaner like us, then you’re probably itching to get things organized. Does that include your photo storage?

Photographers can often fall victim to chaotic photo libraries, especially as we enter the busy season with summer clients. However, organizing your virtual photo storage will make it much easier to keep track of your photography work, so we can’t recommend it enough. Here are some tips for clearing out the clutter and making it way less stressful to find what you’re looking for.

Be specific when creating photo folders and files

Keeping your photos organized in separate folders on your computer and in Lightroom will save you a lot of time when searching for files. It’s often best to have a file for each session so that all of the clients’ photos are in one place. However, you should also be as specific as possible when naming the folders — for example, you can include the client’s name and the date/location of the session. These keywords will help you easily find a folder in a search.

Additionally, you can take it a step further by naming each photo file, rather than leaving them with the default names. A short description of each photo as the file name should do the trick. On top of keeping your work organized, this method will also make it easier for clients to find specific photos if you’re sending them the files virtually.

Reject duplicate or blurry photos

If you’re new to using Lightroom, you might not be familiar with the program’s handy flagging system. When you add photos to Lightroom, you can flag each one as either a pick or rejected. Adobe has a guide with several ways to flag photos, but one simple option is to hit Photo > Set Flag from the Library module.

Organizing photo storage: A laptop with Lightroom open to a photo of an empty street sitting next to a tablet.
Image by Lalmch from Pixabay

You can reject the photos you don’t want, such as duplicates or blurry shots. Then, once you’ve flagged them all, you can filter by your picks to work on and save only the ones you approved. Lightroom even makes it easy to delete all of the rejected photos at once (Photo > Delete Rejected Photos).

Use tags in Lightroom

Lightroom also has a tagging function so that you can add keywords to each photo, making them easier to find in catalog searches. The Keywording Panel can be found in the Library module. Lightroom might offer keyword suggestions based on the image, or you can enter any tag you’d like. You might add keywords based on the location of the session, the client name, the genre of photography, or even the techniques you used.

Eventually, Lightroom will remember the keywords you frequently add to photos. You can also create a Keyword Set with keywords that are frequently linked. Here’s another guide from Adobe with everything to know about keywording in Lightroom.

Back up your photos and then back them up again

Finally, you should always make sure your work is backed up as much as possible. You never know when you’ll run into computer issues like viruses or crashes or losing your computer completely. You can manually back up photos in Lightroom or set it up to automatically run backups at certain points. After you’ve done that, we suggest backing up your exported files onto a separate hard drive so that you always have them in another storage space. You can set reminders to manually back up your files every few weeks.

Happy spring cleaning! When you’re done, contact October Dreams Photography to set up your next photo session.