Curated Content: How to Save and Organize Your Photos
We asked professional photographers and creative directors in New York how they organize important work without breaking the bank or using up all their time.
If there’s one thing bloggers have in greater abundance than clothing, props and drool-worthy treats, it’s imagery. When each new day requires an Instagram-ready photo and an inspiring backdrop, the need for “backup” material is ever-present, making a diverse, well-organized photo library a necessity for savvy influencers who know how to shoot efficiently and repurpose content when meetings, travel and life get in the way of a good shooting day.
For even the most diligent bloggers, however, managing hundreds (or even thousands) of high-res photos can quickly become overwhelming. As your cloud storage reaches 99% and your laptop starts slowing to a crawl, simply finding space for that new multi-gigabyte shoot can feel like a challenge.
To learn how the experts do it, we asked professional photographers and creative directors in New York how they organize important work without breaking the bank or using up all their time.
Read on for their top productivity and time-saving hacks!
Save your most important imagery in at least three places
This may seem excessive, but the fact is, there are no fail-safe storage methods. Cloud systems are vulnerable to upload errors and (on the rare occasion) ransomware, while hard drives are subject to mechanical failures, damage and theft. Experts recommend covering your bases by making copies. First, save your imagery to a cloud-based service like Dropbox, OneDrive or Sync. This will be your “working library,” where you can access and pull imagery to use for different campaigns. You will likely need an upgraded account, but each service offers subscription services under $20 USD per month.
Once your images are uploaded to the cloud, make a copy to an external hard drive. Our experts recommended products by Seagate and Western Digital with at least two terabytes of storage. Finally, keep a third copy of important files on your computer hard drive or a separate disk. This might seem like a lot of work, but the peace of mind is worth it!
Develop a labeling system and make it a habit
Keeping your imagery safe is a great first step, but you also need a system for actually finding the images you need. Thankfully, tools like Photoshop, Advanced Batch Converter (for Windows) and Easy Batch Photo (for Mac) can do much of the work for you. We recommend labeling each photo with the shoot date, location, and a primary keyword, such as the featured brand, that applies to the whole batch.
Here’s how to batch label in Photoshop:
- Under FILE select AUTOMATE.
- From AUTOMATE, select BATCH – the first option.
You should see this screen:
3. Under DESTINATION, select FOLDER.
Now you can edit each field under “File Naming” to batch-label your photos. You can use Photoshop’s metadata feature by selecting FILE INFO under FILE to add even more keywords and details that will help you easily search for a particular image.
Taking the time to consistently label your files might seem tedious, but compared to staging an entirely new shoot or painstakingly looking through files when you need a particular image, the hours spent organizing are a good investment.
Use folders to track the images you use
Within your “working library,” create different folders to keep track of which images you have used on different channels. Start by creating a master folder called “Unused,” then add separate folders for each of your channels, such as Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and your Newsletter, etc. As you use imagery on different channels, save a copy in the appropriate folder using your labeling system with the publish date. Be sure to include all brands you feature as well. This not only saves from relying on memory but if a brand ever asks you to quickly verify a post, you can perform an easy search.
Within your “Unused” folder, we also recommend creating sub-folders for your most-used topics. For example, you might want folders for fashion photography by season, folders for different holidays, and additional folders for topics like travel, beauty, and home decor. The most intuitive system for you will depend on the topics you cover most.
By saving, organizing and safeguarding your imagery, you amplify the creative content at your disposal to keep your blog and social content relevant and your Shopping Links portfolio content fresh so brands can see your best work, even if you haven’t had a chance to use it yet. We are working on even more ways for bloggers in our network to monetize their existing content. Contact us if you would like to learn more. Getting a head start on organizing your work can help you take advantage these opportunities to start seeing a return on your existing imagery.
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